SWA unsure why US Scotch sales are falling

14th November, 2014 by Becky Paskin

The Scotch Whisky Association has admitted it’s “not totally sure” why sales are falling in the US, but claims it’s “not really worried”.

Whisky US

Irish and American whiskey may be stealing market share from Scotch

Sales of Scotch whisky in the US, its most valuable market, fell by 16% in the first six months of 2014, down £63 million.

While austerity measures in China, weak exchange rates and political tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe collectively drove an overall 11% fall in Scotch whisky value during the period, SWA chief executive David Frost said the fall in the US was unexplainable.

“To be honest we’re not totally sure why,” Frost told The Spirits Business, although he added the decline was not enough to concern the association.

“To be equally honest we’re not really worried because the fundamental drivers seem so strong,” he added. “The attractiveness of the category in recent years, the strong interest in malts, the premiumisation in the US – none of that seems to have changed.

“Until we get some stronger evidence, I think everyone’s still very bullish about the US… talking to people in the industry, I don’t really pick up concern.”

However, analysts argue that the soaring popularity of Irish and American whiskey in the US right now is stealing market share from Scotch.

Spiros Malandrakis, data analyst at Euromonitor, said American whiskey distillers have shown themselves to be much more inventive and experimental, which has in turn driven sales.

“They have embraced the trend around craft distilling, expanded with flavours and tapped into the whole Americana-Prohibition thing, and they’ve also massively premiumised the category,” he said.

“When Red Stag and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey came along, Scotch whisky was looking in awe and fear from the corner of the bar.”

Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, Dr Nick Morgan, said that despite growth in American and Irish liquid, there is still plenty of space for growth for Scotch.

“Penetration of spirits in the US is still relatively low against the adult drinking population,” he said.

For an in-depth analysis of the Scotch category and why sales have fallen, see the November 2014 issue of The Spirits Business.

5 Responses to “SWA unsure why US Scotch sales are falling”

  1. Dram says:

    HAHA! Because they are charging way too much for No Age garbage? Just a guess.

  2. vince green says:

    Scotch consumption will decrease in America for the following reasons; cost – sharp increases in a short time frame, fewer limited editions making there way to America, Bourbon quality, cask strength, variety all improved.

    Concern over high price NAS scotches coming into the market,

  3. Reaching Elsewhere says:

    I’ll tell you why. The price is too damn high – for the good stuff anyway.

  4. fallingup says:

    It is not all due to excessive price of Scotch, the increasing quality and renewed interest in American whiskey and Bourbon is central to this decline as is the exceptional growth of the Irish category which is only in its infancy. This will continue for the foreseeable future especially as both the American and Irish categories innovate, diversify and premiumise.

  5. britt says:

    Easy, Scotch cannot be made in the US. Craft Distilleries are popping up left and right.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Seedlip inks Asia distribution deal

Non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip has signed an export deal with The British Bottle more...

Bache-Gabrielsen expands US Cognac offering

The house of Bache-Gabrielsen has added three Cognac variants to its US more...

Meet the Masters of the Quaich 2016

Exclusive international Scotch whisky society Keepers of the Quaich has more...

Australian Whisky Holdings buys Nant Distillery

Tasmanian whisky distillery Nant has been acquired by private equity group more...

Sazerac CEO confirms Hi-Spirits acquisition

Mark Brown, president and CEO of Buffalo Trace Distillery owner Sazerac, has more...

James Mason joins The Cotswolds Distillery

The Cotswolds Distillery has announced James Mason, formerly of LVMH and more...

IWA launches ‘landmark’ mentoring programme

The Irish Whiskey Association has launched an “industry-first” mentoring more...

Top tips for fledgling spirits brands

Adam Spiegel, owner and distiller of Sonoma County Distillery Company, took to more...

United Spirits H1 sales grow despite challenges

Diageo’s Indian subsidiary United Spirits has reported 8% net sales growth in more...

SWA 'regrets' govt decision to back MUP

The Scotch Whisky Association has called a Scottish court's ruling in favour of more...

Constellation buys stake in Bardstown Bourbon Co

After purchasing craft whiskey producer High West Distillery earlier this more...

US home to 1,300+ craft spirits producers

The US craft spirits market is growing "rapidly", recording 1,315 active craft more...

Walsh Whiskey unveils 17yo Irishman single cask

Walsh Whiskey is celebrating 17 years in business and the opening of its new more...

Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2017 winners

Assessing thousands of whiskies across all categories each year, Jim Murray has more...

Rémy hails ‘solid’ H1 as sales climb 2.5%

Rémy Cointreau put in a “good showing” for the first half of the year, more...

US Jameson sales drive Pernod's Q1 growth

Pernod Ricard has announced "good" first quarter sales for 2016/17, driven by more...

Stock shareholder slams board shake-up

An activist investor has hit out at Stock Spirits for "ignoring" shareholder more...

Bushmills intros port cask-aged whiskey

Irish whiskey brand Bushmills has launched the second edition in its travel more...

SWA chief leaves to back Boris

David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, has announced he more...

Sazerac: flavours 'not right' for Southern Comfort

Sazerac CEO Mark Brown has hinted at a significant change for the group’s more...