MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Diageo profits from moving upmarket

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MIDAS SHARE TIPS UPDATE: Diageo profits from moving upmarket in recent years, focusing on premium products

Diageo can trace its roots back to the 19th century, with a presence on the stock market dating back a good 70 years. 

Now one of the biggest drinks businesses in the world, its brands include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Baileys and Guinness (still one of my father’s favourite tipples). 

The company has moved determinedly upmarket in recent years, focusing on premium products such as Johnnie Walker Black Label, Don Julio tequila and Tanqueray gin. 

Drinking to success: Market turmoil has hit the shares of late, but Diageo is a long-term business

Drinking to success: Market turmoil has hit the shares of late, but Diageo is a long-term business

The approach has delivered impressive results. In the six months to December 31 alone, its tequila sales surged by 56 per cent, Scotch rose 27 per cent and gin was a robust 21 per cent ahead, with really expensive tipples proving the most popular of the lot. 

The chances are that this trend will continue, even as inflation nudges 10 per cent and everyday basics soar in price. 

True, many tipplers are trying to reduce their alcohol consumption, but they are swapping quantity for quality, which plays neatly into Diageo’s strategy.

And wealthy drinkers willing to pay top dollar for high-end spirits are less likely to be affected by increases in food and energy bills. 

Chief executive Ivan Menezes also has a number of levers he can pull to manage inflation and supply chain pressures. 

Diageo is big so it can buy in bulk, efficiency projects are already under way and many spirits are aged so they were made years ago and are now maturing nicely in casks.

Midas verdict: Spirits, wine and beer move in and out of fashion, but drinking with friends and family is surely as popular today as it was 70 years ago. 

And Diageo has proved that it can stay ahead. Midas recommended the stock in 2017 at £23.26, since when the price has risen 55 per cent to £35.98. 

Market turmoil has hit the shares of late, but Diageo is a long-term business, ideally suited for investors with long-term horizons. Keep the faith. 

Traded on: Main market Ticker: DGE Contact: diageo.com or 020 7947 9100 

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