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Beam Suntory: Winning at retail through focused distribution

Focused distribution allows Beam Suntory to fill high-quality retail distribution gaps and improve performance.


Beam Suntory is one of the world’s largest premium spirits companies. It was established in 2014 through the merger of a world leader in bourbon and a pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and commitment to sustainable business practices.

The company recognized an opportunity to enhance the distribution capabilities in its cordials and tequila spirits. It sought a way to profitably grow its brands and secure a competitive advantage. It also wanted to capitalize on consumer and demographic differences to develop a tailored growth strategy for its brands.

To this end, it engaged Axia Ltd., a strategy consulting service provider subsequently acquired by Accenture to identify and implement opportunities to profitably increase distribution of its cordials and tequila brands, both on and off premise.



Accenture Strategy:

  • Adopted a five-step approach to bring discipline and consistency to Beam Suntory's efforts including strategic alignment; analytics; prioritization; field execution; and maintenance. For each category, the project included a three-month strategic alignment, analysis and prioritization phase and a 6-8 m​​​onth execution phase during key focus months, followed by ongoing maintenance to ensure sustained performance.

  • Developed a proprietary strategic methodology to align Beam Suntory's complex portfolio with consumer buying behavior at the local level to help drive sustainable, optimal distribution.

  • Identified accounts where targeted products were likely to perform strongly and determined the size of potential distribution growth opportunities within each account.

  • Performance assessments and ongoing measurement and reporting capabilities were developed to track results.

  • Detailed knowledge transfer assets were created for each of the five stages of the focused distribution model.


Through its collaboration with Accenture Strategy, Beam Suntory is able to realize the benefits of scale, while retaining its agility at the local level, connecting key brands, extensions, flavors and sizes with accounts where they would be most likely to perform strongly.

Accenture Strategy provided actionable and impactful insights based on actual consumer behavior, enabling distribution growth through optimal product assortments at a hyper-detailed account and store level. To facilitate the sell-in process, the team also developed sales collateral and portfolio overviews for the sales teams, distributors and retailers/account owners.

Focused distribution allows Beam Suntory to fill high-quality distribution gaps and improve performance through consistent and disciplined sales execution. In the initial trial of the program, the accounts that were identified performed over 20 percent better than those which did not fill any gaps. Participating accounts also had higher reorder rates than those of other accounts. In the extended cordials program, distribution is expected to increase between 10-50 percent for each of the products selected and in the tequila program, the increase in distribution is expected to result in annualized revenue growth of 10-20 percent, with select products growing as much as 30 percent.