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Whisky sales set to reach £2.44bn in UK by 2022

The whisky category will be worth £2.44 billion (US$3.11bn) in the UK by 2022, the first Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Whisky Yearbook has forecast.

Whisky is set to be worth £2.44bn in the UK by 2022, according to the inaugural Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Whisky Yearbook

The report aims to become a “vital resource” into the trends in the UK whisky market and act as a “comprehensive guide to the key shifts” in the category.

The inaugural report predicts that whisky will grow by £138.78 million (US$176.78m) to reach £2.44bn in value in the next three years – a 6% increase. The category was worth £2.31bn (US$2.94bn) in 2018.

In volume terms, the report has predicted a 2.7% increase in volume sales by 2022, up 201,000 8.4-litre cases from 7.44m in 2018 to reach 7.65m.

The data has been based on CGA and Nielsen sales figures for 2018, and IWSR growth forecasts for 2019 and 2022.

Mark Riley, managing director of Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, said: “Whisky is one of the most diverse and dynamic of the spirits categories. Our forecast is that it is also one that will see growth over the next three years.

“Bartenders and retailers tell us that whisky is a key focus for them, with plans to invest in broadening their knowledge and range, ensuring they can accommodate the increasing appetite for the spirit from consumers in both on- and off-trade.

“We would like the Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Whisky Yearbook to become a vital resource to track the changes as they happen and to look at the underlying trends in the category – both as a way to understand the market today and to forecast what is to come – as well as to offer insight into how we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented to us.”

Breaking down the category, the Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Yearbook highlighted single malt Scotch whisky as a “principle driver” of the forecasted growth. Single malt Scotch alone is expected to increase in value from £394m (US$502m) in 2018 to £439m (US$559m) in 2022.

The company attributed this growth to new “accessibly priced” single malts and a smaller price gap between blends and single malts, encouraging blended Scotch drinkers to “trade up”.

Sub-categories set to soar

American whiskey is also forecast to grow in the UK, with sales expected to reach £742m (US$946m) by 2022, up from £688m (US$877m) in 2018.

The burgeoning Irish whiskey sector is also forecast to grow by £28.5m (US$36.3m) to reach £163.9m (US$208.9m) by 2022.

Single grain whiskies have also been forecast to deliver growth by 2022, almost doubling sales to £42.1m (US$53.7m).

Japanese whisky, which has been faced with stock shortages due to the growing global demand, is predicted to see value sales rise to £11.7m (US$14.9m) by 2022 – a 44% increase from 2018.

Furthermore, Canadian whisky is expected to be worth £9m (US$11.5m) by 2022.

Riley added: “Irish and single grain whiskies have been a real success stories over the past 12 months – sharing rapid growth on an already strong base of both volume and value in the market. We expect both to play a greater role in shaping the wider market in the coming years.

“The supply challenges that have arguably held back growth in Japanese and Canadian whiskies have eased. While there remains a challenge securing enough liquid from leading brands from both nations to satisfy UK demand, there is far greater supply forecast and we predict we will see growth as a result.”

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