Beam Inc has high hopes for Pinnacle

Beam Inc has high hopes for Pinnacle

Beam Inc is confident of continuing double-digit sales growth for Pinnacle vodka just seven months after it bought the brand, executives have said.

In a conference call after full-year results today (1 February), Beam CFO Bob Probst told analysts the vodka has posted 19% sales growth under Beam ownership, with similar increases predicted for this year. “We're feeling good and on-track from a top-line perspective,” Probst said.

Beam bought Pinnacle from Maine manufacturer White Rock Distilleries in April in a US$605m deal that also netted the Calico Jack Rum brand. 

Probst said that since the purchase, Beam has restructured Pinnacle's distribution and doubled brand investment, as well as launched a Pumpkin Pie flavour extension.

Probst said Beam's consolidation moves will help push Pinnacle from adding $0.05 per share last year to $0.10 per share this year. 

Earlier this week, Beam announced it is to move the US bottling of Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack  to its Kentucky site. About 160 jobs are in doubt at the former White Rock plant in Maine, which Beam acquired along with the brands.

Beam executives, meanwhile, deflected questions over an ongoing misconduct review in India, saying investigations are still ongoing. Probst said the investigation is “making progress” but that it is still too early to speculate on how much it will cost the company.

In October, The Times of India reported allegations of possible violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act involving the group's operations in the country. 

Beam CEO Matt Shattrock said the company is now “ramping up our repositioning programme to restore our place in the (Indian) market”. He added: “Our long term belief in this market is undiminished.”

Beam posted strong increases in full-year sales and profits as growth in Bourbon beat expectations.