Diageo's Johnnie Walker Lends Asian Touch to Blue Label

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Leading brewer and distiller, Diageo plcDEO is geared to capitalize on the Asian market by catering to sentiments of the local populace of Asia. In sync with this initiative Johnnie Walker Blue Label is set to welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year with a Year of the Rooster limited edition bottle.

The blended scotch is available nationwide at spirit outlets with a suggested retail price of $258.00 (750 ml/bottle, 43% ABV).

The Year of the Rooster bottle is the fourth edition of the annual limited edition series. The first edition was the Year of the Horse limited edition bottle. This line of Blue Label is inspired by the enduring legacy of the Chinese Zodiac.

The latest whiskey features the rare blend that is unique to the Blue Label blend. The special release marking the occasion of the auspicious Lunar New Year, honors the traditional Scotch distilling techniques, classic Asian art and Lunar New Year customs.

Diageo persistently carries out innovations to enrich its portfolio. In Jan 2017, Diageo offered its customers an opportunity to ring in the New Year with a toast to health. The new SMIRNOFF Spiked Sparkling Seltzer presented a win-win situation, as this malt flavored beverage comes with only 90 calories and zero sugar, providing a guilt free drinking experience. In 2016, Diageo added Crown Royal Vanilla Flavored Whisky and Jack-O'Blast Limited Edition Pumpkin Spiced Rum to its already rich spirit portfolio.

We note that Diageo, which shares space with companies like Molson Coors Brewing Company TAP and Boston Beer Inc. SAM , is making efforts to focus on its spirits business, as a result of which it has planned to divest non-core assets. Recently, the company sold the majority of its U.S. and British wine operations to the Australian company, Treasury Wine Estates. Earlier in July, the company had sold luxury hotel and golf resort, Gleneagles, located in Scotland, to a private equity firm Ennismore Capital, to cut costs and bolster profits. The move reaffirmed its plans to focus more on the core spirits business.

Though the above mentioned initiatives boost our confidence in the stock, certain inherent issues raise our concerns for the same. Declining volumes has been a drag on top line for the past few quarters. Moreover, increasing restrictions on alcohol consumption by governments worldwide have dented revenue growth for the industry as a whole. However, the aforementioned initiatives taken have been able to cushion the stock to an extent. The shares of the company gained 0.5% in the last three months, outperforming the Zacks categorized Beverages Alcohol industry which has slumped almost 11% in the same period.

Zacks Rank & Key Pick

Diageo currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better-ranked stock in the same sector includes Constellation Brands Inc. STZ carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has an expected long-term growth of 19%. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

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Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP): Free Stock Analysis Report

Diageo PLC (DEO): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Constellation Brands Inc (STZ): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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