Brown-Forman is converting a US facility used for Jack Daniel’s RTDs to help the distiller’s “super-premium” range of American whiskies.
The changes at Brown-Forman’s Pinnacle site in Louisville will see the facility “support the filling, storing, filtering and disgorging” of the whiskey portfolio, primarily concentrating on the Old Forester and Woodford Reserve brands, a company spokesperson said.
As a consequence, the production of Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails RTDs will move to an “external manufacturing organisation”, the spokesperson added, referring to a co-manufacturer.
The company has declined to comment on where will the ready-to-drink cocktail products be manufactured.
Brown-Forman does not “expect a significant reduction in employees”, the spokesperson said, adding “natural attrition could absorb any reduced positions” at the company.
“We have great employees and want to retain as many talented folks as we can through this change. As far as additional new roles, that’s unknown right now as we’re still determining the final design,” the spokesperson said.
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Earlier this month, Brown-Forman lowered its forecasts for annual underlying sales and operating profit. The US spirits group said its business grew more slowly than it had expected in the first half of its financial year.
In the six months to the end of October, Brown-Forman’s net sales increased 2% to $2.1bn, which amounted to a 1% rise organically.
Net sales from whiskey fell 2% and by 1% organically. Brown-Forman said the figures were “compared to strong results” in the first half of the previous financial year.
The company booked a 1% fall in net sales from its Jack Daniel’s portfolio, which amounted to a flat performance organically.
Brown-Forman reported growth from its RTD business. The net sales of New Mix, the company’s range of Tequila-based RTDs, grew 22% on an organic basis, helped by improved volumes and higher prices.
Reported net sales from the Jack Daniel’s RTD portfolio increased 2%, or by 1% organically, driven by the ongoing launch of the co-branded Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola RTD. Those sales were partially offset by lower volumes of Jack Daniel’s & Cola as Brown-Forman moved listings to the newer product.
In Brown-Forman’s previous financial year, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey grew reported net sales by 3% and by 8% on an organic basis. Woodford Reserve’s reported net sales were up by 26%, with organic growth at 27%.
The company’s RTD portfolio saw its reported net sales increase 18% and by 20% organically.