Last up is Beam (BEAM), the Illinois-based spirits maker thats best-known for its namesake Jim Beam brand. The firms other labels include Makers Mark bourbon, Canadian Club whiskey, Sauza tequila, Pinnacle Vodka and Cruzan rum. As more drinkers around the world become connoisseurs, Beam stands to benefit in a big way.
Nowhere is that more true than with Beam's core bourbon business. Beam owns some of the most storied names in bourbon, and they're growing their exposure to high-end "small batch" spirits with a collection of four new premium labels. As bourbon drinkers become willing to spend more on unique bottles, Beam's margins should continue to expand. Better still, the firm shows promise in extending that high-margin "small batch" model to its other liquor brands.
From a financial standpoint, Beam has done a good job of getting over the hangover after its split-off from Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS) in 2011. Debt has basically halved in the last few years, and Beam's cash levels remain decent. As the firm parlays its cash generation into more debt reduction and dividend payouts, expect the share price to make up for lost time in 2014.
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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.