Suntory Spirits Limited recorded sales exceeding the previous year in 2018. Positive trends included Kakubin, Jim Beam, Torys <Classic>, and Maker's Mark for whisky, as well as RTD products such as -196℃ Strong Zero and canned highballs.
We intend to carry on from there in 2019, aiming to enlarge the business with further brand cultivation and enhancement, with a focus on strategic brands. In order to gratify our customers with even more delicious liquors, we plan to concentrate on quality from product development through consumption, while also deploying active marketing such as offering products of new value.
● Review of 2018
The whisky market has continued to expand, with the increased popularity of highballs. In this context, with a focus on strategic brands such as Kakubin, Jim Beam, Torys <Classic>, and Maker’s Mark, we have promoted highballs produced with attention to quality at the point of consumption.
All of these brands grew sales significantly, with total volume of the Kakubin brand*1 up 7%, the Jim Beam brand*1 up 23%, the Torys brand*1 up 15% and Maker’s Mark up 111% versus the prior year. For premium whiskies like Yamazaki and Hakushu, we have promoted their value based at the distilleries.
Through these activities, our whisky business sales have increased 7% year-on-year.
● Strategy for 2019
As a leading company of whisky, with a focus on strategic brands such as Kakubin, Jim Beam, Torys <Classic>, and Maker’s Mark, we intend to continue promoting highballs produced with attention to quality at the point of consumption. We also plan to gain new demand by launching SUNTORY WORLD WHISKY Ao, made by blending only the whiskies made at in-house distilleries where the Five World Whiskies (Scotch, Irish, American, Canadian and Japanese) are produced.
While reinforcing activities to improve the quality at the point of consumption in restaurants and bars, we will also carry out overall off-premise marketing for the Kakubin brand, including canned Kaku Highball, to further improve brand value. For the Kakubin brand*1, we will aim for 5.36 million cases*2 (level with the prior year).
▼ Jim Beam
Through the popular television commercials featuring Rola as well as drinking suggestions for Jim Beam Highball, we plan to work actively to get the brand’s unique flavor and worldview out there, further increasing its fans. For the Jim Beam brand*1, we will aim for 1 million cases*2 (up 12% year-on-year), which would be the first in Japan for an imported whisky.
We plan to make a point of how well the Torys Highball goes with meals, such as introducing television commercials featuring Yuriko Yoshitaka. We also plan to further increase fans through communication linking Torys <Classic> and canned Torys Highball. For the Torys brand*1, we will aim for 2.7 million cases*2 (up 9% year-on-year).
▼ Maker’s Mark
We will carry out active marketing to get across to consumers the depth and breadth of this whisky. As well as continuing television commercials featuring Shun Oguri, we will actively propose Maker’s Craft Highball, with their characteristic mellow flavor and elegant aroma, to restaurants like izakaya-style bars as well, aiming for 110,000 cases*3 (up 32% year-on-year).
▼ SUNTORY WORLD WHISKY Ao
The first in the world composed of whiskies from in-house distilleries of the Five World Whiskies, blended with Suntory craftsmanship. Sales will be divided into periods 1 (April 16 through summer) and 2 (autumn through winter), aiming for yearly sales of 30,000 cases*2.
*1 Total of bottles, cans, and casks. Cans and casks are converted based on the alcohol content of standard bottles as a standard unit.
*2 1 case = 8.4 liters
*3 1 case = 9 liters
● Review of 2018
The RTD market have expanded for 11 straight years, due to increased demand for liquor paired with food, etc. In this context, our sales volume has grown to 79.22 million cases*4 (up 10% year-on-year), continuing to set records for 14 straight years.
We have actively promoted the appeal of -196℃ Strong Zero as liquor paired with food; it trended strongly at 38.27 million cases (up 8% year-on-year), raising the total -196℃ brand sales to 40.32 million cases (up 7％ year-on-year). The flavor and communication activities of Horoyoi were well received, with sales growing to 16.08 million cases (up 7% year-on-year). Canned highballs such as canned Kaku Highball, canned Torys Highball, and canned Jim Beam Highball were also well received, selling 16.7 million cases (up 19% year-on-year), which is a large increase.
Non-aru-kibun was also popular thanks to new television commercials and online videos, selling actively at 2.8 million cases (up 2% year-on-year).
*4 1 case = 6 liters, excluding non-alcohol RTD
● Strategy for 2019
The RTD market is projected to continue its growth. We plan to pep the market up even further by creating further demands for liquor paired with food in the form of -196℃ Strong Zero and canned highballs, reinforcing our approach to the lemon sour market with the launch of a new Kodawarisakaba no Lemon Sour no Moto brand product, and promoting the value of original brands like Horoyoi. For our RTD total, we will aim for 87.62 million cases (up 11% year-on-year).
▼ -196℃ Strong Zero
We plan to make a point of its double appeal as liquor paired with food, in the form of the firm fruity flavor series and the dry savor series, aiming for total brand sales of 44 million cases (up 15% year-on-year).
As well as renewing three popular flavors, Cola Sour, Cider Sour, and Ginger in February, we plan to release a variety of flavored seasonal products. We will continue communication activities using Erika Sawajiri and Takeru Sato, in order to further increase contact with consumers. For the total brand sales, we will aim for 17.4 million cases (up 8% year-on-year).
▼ Kodawarisakaba no Lemon Sour
In order to create easier access to the Kodawarisakaba no Lemon Sour no Moto liqueur offered for sale in 2018, we will launch a new canned RTD product on March 5. Linked with communication activities for the Kodawarisakaba no Lemon Sour no Moto liqueur featuring Tomio Umezawa, we will aim for 2.1 million cases.
▼ Canned highballs
We will market Kaku Highball, Torys Highball, and Jim Beam Highball in correspondence with each whisky’s bottle formats. For the canned highball total, we will aim for 18.16 million cases (up 9% year-on-year).
In order to allow even more consumers to experience the pleasure of this product’s characteristics, a “liquor-like flavor” and yet non-alcoholic, we will renew products sequentially throughout the year from late January on. We also plan to introduce a variety of flavored seasonal products, aiming for 3.22 million cases (up 15% year-on-year).
● Review of 2018
The Kodawarisakaba no Lemon Sour no Moto liqueur, intended to allow the flavor of a lemon sour served at bars or restaurants to be enjoyed at home simply by adding soda water, sold over 10 times the initial yearly projection, achieving great success. The Japanese Craft Gin ROKU was well received in bars with the “ROKU soda” proposal, creating new demand for liquor paired with food.
● Strategy for 2019
We will continue creating proposals for new value in the area of white spirits and liqueurs, with a wide portfolio including the Japanese Craft Gin ROKU, Sauza Tequila, and Beefeater Gin. We plan to focus on “non-carbonated” drinking tastes for shochu, including on the rocks, watered or with tea, to sell new products. Osumi, a sweet potato shochu, will go on sale as of February 26 for restaurants and bars, while a tea-based series for the Kyogetsu brand, Kyogetsu Oolong and Kyogetsu Jasmine, will be sold around the country as of March 26.