Beam Global Spirits & Wine has had a positive start to 2009 in its domestic market, with pressure from destocking easing off, the group's US president has told just-drinks.

The year so far "has been very positive" for Beam's business in the US, president Bill Newlands said.

Destocking by distributors and retailers, which has hit the whole drinks industry in the US in 2009, has begun to ease as stock levels have been depleted. "We have begun to see the end of that era," Newlands told just-drinks.

He said that the group's new Red Stag brand, a black cherry-infused Jim Beam Bourbon, has performed "extraordinarily well" since its launch on the US market in June.

"It's way ahead of our expectations," he said, adding that the flavoured Bourbon has "proven very strong with women".

Beam Global's parent group, Fortune Brands, will report its half-year results on 24 July.

Last week, Beam reported that it has run out of supplies of its Knob Creek Bourbon until November.

Newlands told just-drinks that distributors in several states still have stock and that the height of any shortage is expected to come in August and September. The temporary shortage will "not massively" impact on Beam's sales performance for the year, he said.

Beam sells around 150,000 cases of Knob Creek annually.

Once fresh supplies are on the market later this year, "we will be back to the double-digit growth rates that we have seen historically," said Newlands. He declined to put a specific figure on growth for the brand, but said it has been within a range of 10-15% annually.