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Whisky set to battle US on-trade spirits decline

Despite an overall decline in spirits sales in the US on-trade, high-end whisky is expected to grow, according to a new report.

Experts predict whisky will battle slowed growth in the US on-trade this year

Technomic’s Adult Beverage Insights Group recently published a report showing that overall alcohol volumes decreased 1.3% in restaurants and bars in the US throughout 2013, compared to a 0.7% decline in the off-trade.

However, Technomic’s research director Eric Schmidt predicts there will be continued growth in whisky as well as craft beer and table wine in the on-trade in this year.

“These adult beverage categories, driven by unique and often food-friendly flavor profiles, are really relevant to today’s consumer,” he said. “In the hands of the right bartender and promoted properly, these products can deliver on both experience and value.”

“Although overall adult beverage volume will be challenged this year, we expect dollar growth from the on-going consumer shift to more expensive categories, such as high-end whiskey and craft beer.”

Technomic is not the only group to hail growth in the whisky segment. In February this year, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS), reported that overall whisky sales in the US grew 6.2% to 52 million cases.

However, in the on-trade specifically, total sales declined 3-4% nationally as “consumers pulled back on drink occasions in restaurants and bars”.

David Henkes, Technomic vice president notes that despite this, “there were categories and segments that did well on-premise, thanks to creative presentations and programs, and on-trend flavors and formats.”

“Restaurant and bar operators have opportunities to position spirits, wine and beer offerings as a point of differentiation and grow sales going forward.”

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