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?

Dublin Liberties Distillery appoints senior execs

Quintessential Brands has appointed a senior management team to lead its €10 more...

Nikka expands whisky production at Miyagikyo

Japanese whisky producer Nikka has expanded production at its Miyagikyo more...

Beam Suntory eyes malts 'opportunity' in India

Beam Suntory has expanded its presence in India by launching two of its peated more...

Rémy ‘breaks category boundaries’ at Schiphol

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail has partnered with Amsterdam Schiphol more...

Booze body slams alcohol-related cancer report

The Alcohol Information Partnership has hit out at a recent report commissioned more...

Havana Club twist as Trump hints at Cuba freeze

The Havana Club trademark battle between Pernod Ricard and Bacardi Limited more...

Teeling debuts 26yo single malt at Dublin Airport

Teeling Whiskey Company has launched a 26-year-old single malt in its limited more...

Constellation to buy back US$1bn shares

The board of US drinks group Constellation Brands has approved a new US$1 more...

Distilled Spirits Council slams Oregon tax

The Distilled Spirits Council has branded a proposed spirits levy in Oregon a more...

Rémy Cointreau acquires Westland Distillery

The Rémy Cointreau Group has continued its single malt whisk(e)y acquisition more...

Benromach launches 42yo single malt in UK

Gordon & MacPhail has launched a limited edition bottling of its Benromach more...

Cuervo to 'reassess IPO in January'

Jose Cuervo has delayed its initial public offering (IPO) after discussions more...

Buckley joins Irish Distillers leadership team

Brendan Buckley has been promoted to the role of strategy, innovation and more...

Rémy posts profit gains bolstered by China

Rémy Cointreau’s reported operating profit soared 15.9% in the first half of more...

Liqueurs must harness 'transformative power' of serves

The liqueur story has long been one of back-bar obscurity, but now brands are more...

Dewar’s brings 12 aged Scotches to Schiphol

Bacardi Global Travel Retail is running its John Dewar & Sons Fine Whisky more...

Whisky from 1900s could fetch £3,000 at auction

Two bottles of "extremely rare" whisky from The Welsh Whisky Distillery more...

Rémy and Bols complete Passoã joint venture

Rémy Cointreau Group and Lucas Bols have formally established the Passoã more...

Travel retail in focus: Rum

As rum brands large and small continue to push for premiumisation, SB questions more...

Campari sharpens spirits focus with wine sale

Gruppo Campari is to raise €62 million (about US$65.8m) from a wine sell-off more...