Spirits sales outpace beer and wine in US off-trade

10th January, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

Spirits sales increased faster than wine and beer in the US off-trade in 2019, according to new data from Nielsen.

Gin

Sot drinks must “mirror the premiumisation occurring within spirits”

According to Nielsen data in the off-premise channel for the year to 23 November 2019, spirits led the growth of the alcohol industry, increasing by 5.7%.

Nielsen said that spirits are “also the biggest category in several key channels in the on-premise space”.

In the US on-trade, vodka and whiskey are the biggest revenue drivers for spirits, with 20% of consumers drinking vodka and 17% drinking whiskey, according to the Nielsen CGA On-Premise Consumer Survey. Club soda and coke are among the favourites for mixer pairings, Nielsen noted.

When it comes to soft drinks, Nielsen said the category needs to “mirror the premiumisation occurring within spirits” as drinkers are “willing to explore mixer variations depending on the spirit on offer, ranging from soda to fruit juice”.

In terms of cocktails, US consumers prefer flavours such as berry (54%) and fruity/sweet (50%).

Dry January 

One in five (21%) US consumers participated in Dry January in 2019, and Nielsen predicts that final numbers for 2020 “are likely to be even higher”.

Soft drinks is the “primary beneficiary” of Dry January with soda named the “most popular option” for consumers that participated in the alcohol-free challenge last year.

Nielsen said that soft drinks provide a “rich opportunity” for brands, spirits producers and retailers to “effectively and strategically engage both the regular and occasional abstainers, and the spirit-and-mixer drinkers”.

At US retail, non-alcoholic beverages are worth US$7 billion more than just four years ago, and US$3.2bn more in the last year alone, according to Nielsen.

More than half (54%) of US consumers surveyed by Nielsen CGA said they have consciously abstained from alcohol at some point in the last 12 months.

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