Spirits volume growth beats wine and beer in US

17th January, 2019 by Owen Bellwood

Despite a dip in total alcohol consumption, US drinkers purchased more than 230 million nine-litre cases of distilled spirits in 2018 – a 1.9% increase on the previous year.

US spirit sales rose to 230.2 million nine-litre cases in 2018

According to preliminary data released today by the IWSR, total alcohol volume in the US declined by 0.8% last year to 3.345 billion nine-litre cases.

Bucking the wider trend, consumption of spirits was driven up by whisky, which grew by 4.1%, and Tequila, which saw an 8.5% rise.

Cognac and Armagnac volumes were up by 5.6% and brandy rose by 1.7%.

The largest percentage gain was witnessed by mezcal, which rose by 32.4% from its 2017 sales of 261,000 nine-litre cases.

The figures released by the IWSR also showed that wine consumption grew by 0.4% while beer, which at 2.62 billion nine-litre cases has long dominated the US alcohol market, was down by 1.5%.

A year of innovations in cider and mixed drinks helped reverse the declines of 2017, with the categories posting increases of 4.1% and 6.1% respectively.

Brandy Rand, IWSR’s US president and global chief marketing officer, said: “Spirits and wine showed slight growth in 2018, but those category increases weren’t as high as previous years. It’s clear that Americans are drinking less overall, which is likely a result of the continued trend toward health and wellness.

“We’ve also seen for some time now that consumers aren’t necessarily loyal to just one category, which leads to less volume for individual brands. Also, the ageing baby boomer population, the largest group of legal drinking age consumers, is contributing to slowed growth as well.”

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