Feeling frayed and frazzled by all the uncertainty in the market? Cramer thinks you may need a shot of the hard stuff.
Oh, the Mad Money host isn't advocating drinking yourself into a puddle on the floor. Rather he thinks that the stocks of hard liquor makers may give your portfolio just the gains you've been looking for.
In part that's because of recent M&A activity in which Japan-based Suntory bought Jim Beam for $16 billion, a 25% premium to where the stock was trading before the bid.
After sifting through piles of research Cramer discovered that the acquisition is the largest deal in the spirits business.
"And more important, it's being done at a very high price," Cramer added. Suntory is paying 20 times the last year's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to buy Beam."
Cramer interprets these metrics to mean that Suntory sees substantial value in this business.
And looking at trends in the industry broadly, Cramer has come to understand why.
"To put it bluntly, the alcohol business is on fire," Cramer said.
That is, Cramer has found that demand for liquor is growing around the world, in large part because more people are entering the middle class, and as a result, they can afford to indulge themselves alcoholic beverages.
And although beer and wine consumption is on the uptick, Cramer has found that the sales of hard liquor is growing at a much faster pace. "In emerging markets, it's something like 15%," Cramer said.
That's because the newly forming middle class in emerging markets views premium spirits as an aspirational product – that is, a sign they've' made it.
Cramer thinks the Beam acquisition is a referendum on this theme and he believes it could benefit other liquor makers too.
"And with Beam out of the picture, that leaves three major players, Diageo, Brown-Forman and Constellation Brands. However, ever since Constellation bought Corona from BUD last year, it's really become more of a beer company. So if you want to play hard liquor, we're down to two, Diageo and Brown-Forman," Cramer noted.
And although the Mad Money host likes both companies over the long-term, he thinks in the near-term shares of Brown-Forman are the more likely to rally.
That's because lately some emerging nations have shown signs of temporary weakness. Therefore he advocates owning a liquor maker that has a balance of sales coming from both emerging nations and developed nations.
"Brown-Forman still gets 45% of its sales from the United States," Cramer noted. By contrast, "Emerging markets' net sales are 42% of Diageo's business."
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Also Cramer likes that about half of Brown-Forman's business is pegged to Jack Daniels, making this company very much about whiskey. "And as it so happens, the whiskey category is currently outperforming spirits in general," Cramer said.
Also Cramer said that Brown-Forman's smaller $17 billion market cap makes it much easier to digest in a potential takeover than the $83 billion Diageo, although he was quick to add a takeover didn't seem likely.
Again, Cramer thinks that both companies are solid. "Longer-term I like them both, but right now I prefer Brown-Forman because it has more exposure to the turbocharged whiskey business and less exposure to the emerging markets that have been spotty of late. That said, in both cases you'd be better off waiting for a pullback—I just don't know if you'll get one."
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