Getting on the Fast Track

Each year, data from the Handbook Advance is used to determine the winners of the Growth Brands Awards, which celebrate the fastest-growing beverage alcohol brands. Presented by our sister publication Beverage Dynamics, the awards are divided into four categories – Rising Star, Fast Track, Established Growth and Comeback Brands.

The most prestigious category is Fast Track, which requires winners to sell more than 100,000 cases per year and grow at least 10% each year for four straight years. Brands on the Fast Track are the drivers of growth and innovation in the beverage alcohol industry, so those who win for multiple years in a row are worth studying further.

Tracking the Brands

So what led to the sales growth that made these brands winners? To find out, I looked at data for a number of Fast Track winners in 2014 who also won in 2015 – Fireball, Bulleit, Knob Creek, Tito’s, Don Julio, Hendrick’s and Tullamore Dew.

One indicator of whether a brand is doing well is stocking percentage. Using our ShelfTrac stocking data, I was able to see that every brand on the list increased its stocking level (% of stores where the brand was found) from 2014 to 2015.

Fast Track Brands - Stocking Levels Jun 14 to Jun 15

Brand Name2014 Stocking2015 StockingChange 14/15
Bulleit Bourbon67.269.22.0
Don Julio Blanco64.666.41.8
Knob Creek71.373.32.0
Tito's Vodka71.973.31.4
Tullamore Dew59.566.06.5


Another ShelfTrac data point that shows a brand’s staying power is average facings (the number of bottles a consumer sees on the shelf). In general, these brands were increasing their number of facings. For those that remained the same or decreased, it’s likely that their trend line over a longer period of years is increasing.

Brand Name2014 Avg. Facings2015 Avg. FacingsChange 14/15
Bulleit Bourbon2.12.20.1
Knob Creek2.32.2(0.1)
Tullamore Dew1.92.00.1
Don Julio Blanco1.31.50.2
Tito's Vodka3.03.10.1


Other indicators common to the Fast Track brands are stocking height (increasing eye level stocking indicates strength) and share of category. By looking at these data points together, it’s easy to see which brands are currently dominating the industry, and which are poised for growth in the coming years. If you’re unsure where your brand stands, contact me to find out more about what insight ShelfTrac and our other products can offer.


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Marybeth Came is the Director of Client Services for the Beverage Information & Insights Group. She can be reached at or 203-855-8499 x216.

For more information about ShelfTrac, Gift-Trac, OnTrac and other syndicated or custom services, visit

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