Close Menu
Top 10

The spirits brands to watch in 2016

After another turbulent year for the spirits industry, we predict which brands and trends are poised to navigate the sector to a calmer course in 2016.

The-spirits-brands-to-watch-in-2016
We select which brands and trends are ones to watch in the spirits industry this year

Consumer interest may have helped suppliers weather the worst of the global economic crisis, but geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds persist. Despite the challenges, however, the spirits sector is gradually lifting as signs of recovery spread optimism.

Could the dark days of painful sales contractions, volatile forex markets and wavering consumer loyalty be behind us as 2015 comes to a close?

Top-line figures from the IWSR Forecast 2015-2020 Global Review suggest so. From 2014 to 2020, the global spirits market is set to grow by almost 122 million nine-litre cases to exceed 3.2bn by the end of the period, the analysis suggests. Whisk(e)y is set to overtake vodka in volume terms for the first time, its global annual consumption growing to 467.4m cases, transforming the international spirits landscape in the process. Tequila and gin are predicted to make their mark too, and are named as the fastest-growing categories in terms of imported spirits consumption.

And opportunities suddenly feel abundant. China, the thorn in the side of many a multinational over the past 18 months, looks likely to provide fertile ground once more, if at a more accessible price point than before as the country’s economy shifts. India too remains promising, while Africa and the Middle East continue look a safe bet to flourish in both volume and value terms. Even the near-flat markets in Europe and North America feel refreshed, with a newfound vibrancy stirred up by start-ups and energetic market entrants propelling a wave of positivity into the New Year and beyond.

But take a step back. This growth will be more conservative than that previously experienced, IWSR predicts. As consumers continue to feel the aftermath of the global recession, spirits’ CAGR from 2014-2020 will run at just 0.6% – significantly slower than the 3.6% clocked over the previous five years.

One only has to look at the international news headlines to realise how fragile this recovery may prove. Terrorist activity fuels uncertainty, icy geopolitical winds persist over Russia, and emerging markets look to be next in line for a new credit crunch of sorts. Only time will tell how events like these will affect global commerce and consumption, and, as the collection of category analyses over the following pages shows, one strategic size in terms of countering challenge does not fit all.

2016 looks to be a year of steady recovery, as long as the global economy maintains its fragile stability. The past 12 months in spirits were notable for a lack of major M&A activity, a trend which may prefigure a significant shift in power and influence in the coming seasons. It also looks set to be year in which consumer voices become ever more powerful, as social media use, increased knowledge and a sense of wanting to hold companies to account combine more potently.

For our World Spirits Report 2016, 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 2016

The Scotch whisky brands to watch in 2016

The world whisky brands to watch in 2016

The Cognac and brandy brands to watch in 2016

The gin brands to watch in 2016

The rum brands to watch in 2016

The Tequila brands to watch in 2016

The liqueur and speciality spirits brands to watch in 2016

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No