Baijiu World ON TOP OF According to a pivotal report from global brand analyst Brand Finance, last year Baijiu accounted for 23% of the total brand value of the Drinks 50…trailing behind whiskey. What a difference a year makes, though, the report writers say. Whiskey’s share has dropped to 28%, while Baijiu’s has surged to 37.5%, with the world’s top Baijiu brands boasting a combined value of more than US$22 billion. Moutai maintains its position as the world’s most valuable spirits brand, with an outstanding 60% increase in brand value to US$11.5 million. Half of all sales in 2012 were to government entities, so Moutai’s brand value and future success looked likely to be seriously threatened by a government crackdown on excess and gift-giving that might be construed as bribery. However, Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh says the gap has been filled by individual consumers and private enterprise, with demand now stronger than ever and the price of a bottle recently rising to 1,200 yuan. “Moutai is even tentative- 34 DRINKtech APRIL 2017 NEW ZEALAND If you haven’t heard the word Baijiu before, now is the time to. The fiery Chinese drink is this year’s high flyer in the world of beverage and, for the first time in 2017, now accounts for a greater share of brand value than any other spirit type. key brand by a considerable margin, despite a 2% brand value drop this year. Its US$4.5 billion brand value keeps it in second place within the sector as a whole. Malibu has fallen more than any brand this year, mainly as a result of falling sales. Brand value is down 17% to US$273m. Haigh says a perennial problem for owners Pernod Ricard has been Malibu’s seasonality, with sales spiking in July and September/October. To counter this, Malibu Black has been introduced to keep the brand top of mind and maintain market share through the winter months. The world’s most valuable beer brand is Bud Light – it is also the fastest growing major beer brand this year, up 34% to US$ 6.6 billion. Sister brand Budweiser is in second place at US$5.9 billion. Haigh says Anheuser Busch courted controversy with its Superbowl ad, ‘Born the Hard Way’. “The cinematic spot emphasised Budweiser’s heritage and the perseverance of its founder, but drew the ire of Trump supporters who called for a boycott of the brand for what they saw as thinly veiled pro-immigrant propaganda, Haigh says. “This does not appear to have had any lasting damage however, with brand value up 30%.” Heineken is in third place again, with a brand value growth of 22% to US$5.2 billion. Heineken is a major global sponsor, particularly of sports, and has a longstanding relationship with the UEFA Champions League, Haigh says. “However, Heineken is slowly shifting its focus away from football which it sees as ‘totally overcrowded’ with competitors’ brands making differentiation difficult. It is instead developing its involvement with F1 and has renewed its association with rugby by announcing that it will be the headline sponsor of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.” ly expanding outside China, celebrating the one-year anniversary of Moutai Day in San Francisco in 2016 as well as launching in Germany,” Haigh says. Gujing Gong Jiu is the fastest growing brand this year, nearly doubling its brand value to US$1.1 billion. Wuliangye, Luzhou Laojiao and Yanghe follow suit, with 86%, 73% and 50% increases respectively. Haigh says these rates of growth support existing evidence to suggest that consumers are trading up to more premium Baijius. “The Baijiu market is resurgent but some have suggested this may only be temporary and that Chinese consumers’ tastes will diversify without corresponding growth internationally to compensate,” he says. “In such a situation, strong brands will be essential to maintain market share.” Johnnie Walker remains the world’s most valuable whis- "Gujing Gong Jiu is the fastest growing brand this year, nearly doubling its brand value to US$1.1 billion."
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