Beam Suntory sees sales improving after pandemic hurt drinking

LONDON (Reuters) - Beam Suntory, maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Courvoisier cognac, expects sales in the second half of this year to be better than in the first, when pandemic lockdowns curbed drinking around the world, its chief executive told Reuters.

Beam is hoping sales will be “flat, if not slightly positive in the second half potentially,” Albert Baladi said, while cautioning “it’s early days and it’s a very, very volatile environment.”

The company, a unit of Japan’s Suntory Holdings [SUNTH.UL], posted a 3% sales decline in the first half. Baladi said July sales were up by a high single-digit rate, with gradual improvements in various parts of the world.

Baladi's comments followed a company announcement that it had acquired On The Rocks, a U.S. brand of ready-made cocktails, and results from rivals Brown-Forman BFb.N and Pernod Ricard PERP.PA on Wednesday.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Mark Potter