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The spirits brands to watch in 2015

There may be a global explosion of interest in spirits, but recent events prove that this is no time for brands to be complacent

As we tick over into 2015, we look into our crystal balls and predict which will be the spirits brands to keep an eye on next year

The spirits industry has enjoyed a real boom over the last five years. The cocktail renaissance, emergence of the craft distilling sector and growth of middle classes in emerging markets have all driven the spirits industry skyward with a CAGR growth of 4.8% from 2008-13 (IWSR).

But with periods of intense growth comes those of stabilisation, and even decline, and the times are a-changing. The name of the game in 2014 has been

premiumisation, and all categories from gin to Cognac have had their part to play as consumers in mature and emerging markets slowly but surely trade up to products boasting higher quality, provenance, and dare we say it – craft.

While premiumisation and this trend of trading up to ‘aspirational’ brands is set to continue for the foreseeable future, an intense focus on the highest echelons of the spirits ladder in China has taken its toll on international groups’ overall volumes.

The now notorious austerity measures dictated by the Chinese government has had a devastating effect on the world’s largest drinks groups’ sales and subsequent profits. Although the market is expected to stabilise at some point – probably a lot further down the line than many realise – brand owners affected by the situation are looking to other markets to recoup their losses.

Consider the political tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and it’s no wonder brands who previously lumped all their eggs in one golden basket are now spreading their volume across a wider geographical footprint.

Looking forward, as the clock counts down to a new year with new opportunities, 2015 will no longer be all about the star markets of the US and China, in the medium-term at least.

Targeted distribution with specific portfolio brands will ensue, giving groups a more secure hold on their market share.

Of course there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For our World Spirits Report 2015, we have broken down each category to predict what fortunes may come brands’ way in the next 12 months.

The Vodka Brands to Watch in 2015
The Scotch Brands to Watch in 2015
The World Whisky Brands to Watch in 2015
The Cognac and Brandy Brands to Watch in 2015
The Rum Brands to Watch in 2015
The Gin Brands to Watch in 2015
The Tequila Brands to Watch in 2015
The Liqueurs and Speciality Spirits Brands to Watch in 2015

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