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Bourbon to grow faster than any other spirit

Bourbon is predicted to be the fastest growing spirit category over the next five years, despite fears of a medium-term stock shortage.

Bourbon producers are investing heavily in ensuring they have enough stock to meet continued demand over the next five years

The category sold 37.8 million nine-litre cases in 2014 – up 22.8% during the last five years – driven by strong global consumer demand for brown spirits and flavoured innovations.

While sudden high demand for Bourbon has prompted some distillers to issues warnings of stock shortages, producers are investing heavily in building new fermenting, distilling, maturation and bottling facilities to ensure they meet continued demand in the future.

While the rate of growth is predicted to slow down over the next five years to 2018, a new report by drinks trade show Vinexpo and the IWSR predicts sales will still soar by 19.3% to 45m cases – the fastest rate of growth expected from any spirit category,

According to the report, Bourbon is set to soar by 25.8% to almost two million cases between now and 2018 in the UK alone.

World spirits consumption in millions of nine-litre cases (Source: IWSR/Vinexpo)


Following close behind Bourbon with a predicted growth rate of 12.7% over the next five years is Cognac and Armagnac, which is expected to defy the Chinese anti-extravagance measures that are currently debilitating the category.

According to the report, consumption of Cognac and Armagnac grew 11.1% in the last five years to 2013, despite falling sales in China in recent years.

The prediction is supported by recent findings from the Bureau National Interprofessionel du Cognac (BNIC), which show volume sales between August-December 2014 are steady against the same period in 2013.


Also expected to deliver strong growth in the next five years is Tequila, which is shedding its slammer image in favour of premiumisation to appeal to a more “millennial” consumer.

The IWSR and Vinexpo predict consumption of Tequila will grow by 11.7% between now and 2018 to 30.4m cases.

The only two categories predicted to show declines in the next five years are rum (7.6%) and gin (-4.8%), both of which are a result of consumers in the Philippines and India switching to healthier, low calorie and more premium drinks.

Vinexpo is a key international event for the global wine and spirits industry, with shows held in Bordeaux, Hong Kong and Japan. Vinexpo 2015 will be held in Bordeaux on 14-18 June.

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