Trade Resources Industry Views US Spirits Sales Soar in 2017

US Spirits Sales Soar in 2017

The Distilled Spirits Council reported that spirits experienced record sales in the US in 2017, hitting $26.2bn.

The Distilled Spirits Council reported at its annual economic briefing record spirits sales and volumes in addition to continued market share gains versus beer in 2017. Supplier sales were up 4 percent, rising $1 billion to a total of $26.2 billion, while volumes rose 2.6 percent to 226 million cases, up 5.8 million cases from the prior year. These results reflect adult consumers’ ongoing taste for higher-end distilled spirits products across most categories.

Spirits gained market share versus beer with sales rising seven-tenths of a point to 36.6% of the total beverage alcohol market. It is the eighth straight year of market share gains, where each point of market share is worth $720m in supplier sales revenue.

Council president & CEO Kraig R. Naasz said: “The spirits sector had a banner year in 2017, driven by consumer confidence in the US economy, product innovations that adult consumers want, and a fascination with premiumization across categories.

“The US distilled spirits market is the second most valuable in the world, and we continue to promote consumer-friendly policies that expand responsible access to our products.”

On the international front, the association projected a new export record of $1.63bn of US spirits sold around the globe in 2017, rising 14.3% over the prior year. Consumer tastes for premium American spirits and favorable exchange rates drove global sales, especially to markets where US spirits enjoy duty-free access. Volumes were up 5%.

Council International Affairs senior vice president Christine LoCascio said: “American spirits, particularly whiskeys, are the toast of the global cocktail scene.

“International adult consumers are exploring more expensive US spirits driven by their fascination with American whiskey’s heritage, as well as its mixability and versatility in cocktails.”

Council Chief Economist David Ozgo pointed to the strongest growth in high-end premium products.

Key drivers of growth included American Whiskey, up 8.1% or $252m to $3.4bn; Tequila, up 9.9% or $246m to $2.7bn; Cognac, up 13.8% or $200m to $1.6bn; and Irish Whiskey, up 12.8% or $114.8m to $897m.

Ozgo noted the strength of Rye Whiskey, which was up 16.2% by volume to 900,000 cases, now worth $175m to suppliers, and the emergence of Mezcal, which has grown from less than 50,000 cases in 2009 to approximately 360,000 cases in 2017. Other noteworthy points were the sales strength of super premium Blended Scotch, up 13 percent; super premium Gin, up 12.9% and super premium Rum, up 8.3%.

Ozgo said: “Adult consumers, particularly millennials, continue to gravitate toward high-end and super premium spirits products.

“Companies are creating excitement in the marketplace with new products and new technologies to interact with spirits customers.”

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