Biggest spirits trends in North America

18th September, 2019 by Tom Bruce-Gardyne

For drinks brands, success in North America is the Holy Grail. But the road to victory is not smooth. The Spirit Business outlines four key factors driving spirits trends and shaking up the region.


What are the biggest spirits trends in North America?

The US is one of the toughest spirits regions to break into – but get it right, and rewards await. The total US spirits market has been expanding for the past nine years, and in 2018 it hit a record 231 million cases, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Its CEO, Chris Swonger, credits the category’s growth to the consumer shift from beer and wine, particularly among millennials. While volumes grew by 2.2%, value jumped by 5.1% to US$27.5 billion – proof that consumers are still trading up. It is small wonder, then, that every international brand owner wants a slice of that American pie.

Yet the competition appears to be growing even faster, and those much-courted millennials are nothing if not fickle when it comes to brands. While the craft movement might favour smaller, independent suppliers, the route to market is becoming increasingly congested for them, given the continued contraction among distributors in the US.

These distributors now have the added distraction of cannabis, which is set to become legal in drinks in Canada by the end of the year. But to avoid too many generalisations in this vast and endlessly diverse market, let’s stick to four key topics to explore.

Click over the following pages for an in-depth look into the biggest spirits trends boosting the industry in North America. 

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