US spirits sales rise as consumers ‘stock up’

25th March, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Off-trade spirits sales in the US rose 26.4% in the week ending 14 March as consumers stocked up amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to data analyst Nielsen.

Off-trade spirit sales in the US grew as consumers stockpiled amid the coronavirus pandemic

The latest figures from Nielsen show that off-trade alcohol sales in the US are booming, with spirit sales up 26.4% over the same week in 2019. Wine sales were also up 27.6% and beer, flavoured malt beverages and cider sales grew 14% in the week ending 14 March.

For spirits, all major sub-categories except brandy rose by double digits during the period. The greatest gains were for pre-mixed cocktails, Tequila and gin, which each grew by 49.6%, 43.3% and 39.1%, respectively.

In contrast, during the 13-weeks ending 25 January, spirit sales increased by 3.8% while wine and beer sales rose by 0.6% and 5%, respectively.

Danelle Kosmal, VP of beverage alcohol at Nielsen, said: “While beverage alcohol categories are all experiencing double-digit growth, they lag growth rates for total consumer goods.

“For the week ending March 14, when many consumers were stocking up on perishables, cleaning products and toilet paper, total consumer goods grew by 40% in Nielsen all US outlet channels. To me, this is an indication that beverage alcohol is important to consumers, but other consumer goods categories are being prioritised, at least for now.

“As more and more on-premise locations close, I think we will continue to see off-premise sales for beer, wine and spirits grow even more, and closing the gap with other consumer goods.”

As off- and on-trade spirits retailers are forced to close their doors during the spread of covid-19, the UK government this week added off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol to its list of essential businesses that can stay open during the nation’s coronavirus lockdown.

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