Beam Suntory focusing on LATAM and Travel Retail Worldwide

Latin America, along with travel retail worldwide, is a growing focus for Beam Suntory. The company demonstrated its commitment to the LATAM region when it assumed management and ownership of its route to market in Brazil beginning in July, formerly handled by Bacardi.

Beam Suntory regards Brazil as a high-potential emerging market, and brands like Jim Beam Bourbon and Teacher’s Whisky are already establishing category-leading positions, it says.

“Jim Beam gains wonderful traction in the Latin American region and we see Marker’s Mark accelerating in that premium space as well,” Ed Stening, Global Marketing Director – Travel Retail, Beam Suntory, tells TMI.

In travel retail, Beam Suntory is placing more emphasis on the experience, which Stening says begins long before the consumer enters a duty free store and continues across the entire shopper journey.

“We are really focused on creating more engaging retail experiences to grow the category and bring footfall through our retail partners while growing basket size. This includes hyper-creative activations, delivering liquid and packaging innovations that our shoppers love and getting the basics right with visibility, Brand Ambassador success, and consistent cut through.

“And these aren’t just limited to the ‘in-store’ experience – -this includes the pre-travel moment when some customers are busy putting together their ‘shopping list’ and the great customer experience from the eCommerce/pre-order option our retail partners are now offering.

Activities such as these are critical to gain traction in the channel, he says.

“It is exciting to see across the Spirits category in airports, that there are truly brilliant engaging retail experiences. This is forcing us all to think differently and push the creative boundaries to achieve our retail partners’ objectives, which is great for the industry.”

Not surprisingly, Beam Suntory is thriving in the United States, the home market of Jim Beam.

“We are very fortunate especially in the U.S. as we come from a very strong domestic base and we see that pull through especially on Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and our small-batch brands such as Basil Hayden’s and Knob Creek.

“Single Malts are also growing in the U.S., while from a small base, showing the increased demand especially for the more premium single malt brands like Laphroaig and Bowmore.

“With Sipsmith having already established itself as a favorite in both the UK and Oceania markets, especially at a time of a gin boom, the brand has expanded its influence to an even wider audience to reach other markets including the U.S. and South East Asia.”

Travel retail exclusive offerings are also becoming increasingly important for Beam Suntory in the channel.

“Travel retail exclusives, in particular, allow us to create an air of desirability around our more premium products as they offer customers something special that they cannot get anywhere else. A great example of this is the Maker’s Mark 101 Traveller’s Exclusive (with gold lettering) which was very well received by both retailers and consumers.

“Sipsmith is also a key brand for us and continues to flourish in the GTR space. In the last few years, the brand has established itself as a favorite in both the UK and Oceania markets. It’s interesting to see its evolution as consumers become increasingly inquisitive drinkers. The Sipsmith portfolio now includes London Dry Gin, Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle Gin and Sipsmith Sloe Gin and this diversity further helps to attract more and more interest in the brand across GTR.”

Asia Pacific, including India, is leading the company’s growth in travel retail in 2019.

“However, our attention is not limited to the Asian market as we cannot forget about the markets which allow our portfolio to blossom,” says Stening.

“Thus, our attention is also heavily focused on Australia, Germany, the U.S. and the UK. While these are established markets, there is still a lot of opportunity for growth and we will continue to chase hard to build that category for our retailers.”