Long one of the drinks industry’s most revered brands, Bacardi Ltd.’s Grey Goose has seen growth slow in recent years, and the upscale vodka label is now confronting perhaps its staunchest challenges to date in the form of intensifying competition in the vodka category and consumers’ tilt toward brown spirits.
After acquiring Grey Goose from Sidney Frank Importing Co. for $2 billion in 2004, Bacardi added nearly 1.5 million cases to the brand’s total from 2005-2009, according to Impact Databank. Since then, however, Grey Goose has struggled to post consistent upward progress. It saw modest advances in the U.S. in 2011 and 2012, but slipped 2% last year to 3.38 million cases. By contrast, the overall imported vodka market in the U.S. added 7 million cases to its total on growth of around 35% from 2009-2013.
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