In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, we caught up with Eveline Albarracin, Managing Director Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Brown-Forman.

For Brown-Forman, 2020 was a year of heartening success in a challenging environment, with positives seen in the performance of its portfolio, the focus on people and the support of its customers.

Eveline Albarracin, Managing Director Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Brown-Forman, said that while weathering the pandemic hasn’t been easy and impacts of the situation have been felt, the pleasing results bode well for the future.

“In 2020 Brown-Forman celebrated our 150th anniversary year, and whilst our celebrations may have been somewhat muted due to the COVID pandemic, the year has reaffirmed my longheld belief that no matter the circumstances, Brown-Forman will be agile and able to find a way to deliver top-tier results,” she said.

In terms of what is driving these results, Albarracin added: “We’ve seen continued interest in the drink-at-home occasion and consumers wanting to experiment in not only different convenience options but also trying new flavours. The Jack Daniel’s trademark has performed very well, with strong growth across the Jack Daniel’s full strength family, with a particular highlight, the exceptional growth of Gentleman Jack.

“Woodford Reserve has also had an outstanding year, as consumers have explored the bourbon category and traded up to more premium brands.

“Within our RTD portfolio, consumers have reached for bolder flavours resulting in our higher ABV brands Double Jack and American Serve performing very well. As consumers search for healthier options we are also experiencing accelerated momentum within our Jack Daniel’s and Double Jack No Sugar Cola RTD brands.”

The iconic and high-performing RTD range of Brown-Forman was further bolstered in December 2020 when the company acquired Part Time Rangers, a low calorie, light spirit based RTD which was a targeted investment to help generate further growth in such a key category. Diversifying the Brown-Forman offering and catering to consumers looking for something lighter, its expected to hit the Australian market in 2021.

This is just one example of how Brown-Forman will be planning to strengthen the business and the overall industry, aiming to work in collaboration with customers like retailers in new areas

“One thing is certain, there will continue to be change over the coming year, with emerging and accelerated consumer trends and habits to be understood and this will require greater collaboration between partners,” Albarracin said.

“I believe suppliers and retailers can work better together by sharing category and consumer insights, and investing in strong planning efforts with a willingness to be agile in the post-COVID marketplace… Retailers can assist suppliers to better understand e-commerce and their efforts to strengthen our partnerships.”

Reviving the industry

As restrictions ebb and flow in varying degrees across the country, Albarracin said a common challenge that Brown-Forman will face revolves around how to navigate into an uncertain future and support the industry along the way.

“One major challenge for all liquor companies will be determining what a post pandemic environment looks like and planning robustly for that. Understanding the impact of the pull back in government subsidies for Australians and businesses and the impact on consumer sentiment as a result will be important,” Albarracin said.

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Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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