A whiskey brand was embarking on a transformation journey to recognize its full potential in a growing market. While the brand was acquired by a major global spirits conglomerate several years ago, they have the opportunity to realize greater commercial and operational success in the market, especially when benchmarked against key competitors. In this market analysis and competitive benchmarking case study, we outline how Clarkston helped a spirits client develop its growth strategy.
The whiskey category is highly competitive, with several major players owning a large portion of market share and new entrants continuing to disrupt the industry. The brand was seeking to understand what the market opportunity for their core spirits product and adjacent product innovation would look like in the future to inform their five-year strategic roadmap, including the potential for significant capex investments and/or asset divestitures in the future.
Clarkston partnered with their client’s leadership team to perform a financial assessment of current operations and cost structure. Several financial models and scenarios were developed based on cost containment and ambitious growth scenarios illustrating the point at which the company would reach profitability. In doing so, Clarkston pressure tested historical and projected financials to identify areas of improvement toward gross margin, operating margin, and cashflow targets.
In addition, Clarkston conducted exhaustive research on whiskey and adjacent categories through an in-depth market landscape assessment to identify trends, performance drivers, and growth levers for the brand to explore, as well as completed a competitor benchmarking across various whiskey brands to analyze product mix, pricing, brand positioning and market share in the U.S.
Furthermore, an evaluation of macro-consumer trends in the whiskey market was conducted to better understand potential consumer segment targets, as well as industry consumer focus groups and expert interviews led across national distributors and major spirit organizations to provide a strategic perspective on the market opportunity and considerations in achieving growth goals.
As an outcome, the team delivered a set of strategic recommendations for the client’s executive leadership team in preparation for an upcoming board of directors meeting to finalize the brand’s growth strategy and investment profile for the next five years, including an evaluation of criteria and scenarios that could warrant a carveout.
Download the Market Analysis and Competitive Benchmarking case study here.
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