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Tequila tops luxury spirits sales in the US

Sales of high-end Tequila soared by 83% during the third quarter of 2021, according to data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the US.

Tequila Drizly
Consumers in the US have a penchant for high-end Tequila

In October 2021, the industry body debuted the Luxury Brand Index (LBI), a tool that records the sales of spirits brands priced at US$50 or more per 750ml bottle. Data will be released every quarter.

The index tracks sales across six categories: American whiskey, Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky, single malt Scotch, Tequila and Cognac.

Volumes of luxury spirits rocketed by 125% between 2015 and 2020, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) revealed in October 2021.

Sales of luxury spirits increased by 47% during the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2020.

Discus said the pace is more than double the annual average growth rate of 18% between 2015 and 2020.

Tequila saw the biggest growth during the quarter, followed by American whiskey (up 39%) and Cognac, which rose by 37%.

With the removal of the 25% US tariff on single malt in June 2021, Scotch whisky returned to growth with a 20% increase during Q3. Irish whiskey kept up with Scotch, rising by 19%.

Japanese whisky dropped by 8% in the third quarter, but on average it was growing by 14% annually in the five years to 2020, Discus said.

“In addition to the premiumisation trends of recent years, the pandemic forced many consumers to change the way they purchased and enjoyed their favourite spirits,” said Christine LoCascio, chief of public policy at Discus.

“What resulted was a continued shift towards high-end spirits products and experimentation with cocktail creation at home. The restrictions brought on by the pandemic served as a catalyst for an already growing category in the spirits marketplace, and we are confident this trend will continue for holiday purchases.”

In the five-year period between the third quarter of 2016 and 2021, all luxury spirits categories increased in annual growth ranging from 3% to 46%, with an average rate of 22%.

Both American whiskey and Tequila grew more than 40% every year, while Cognac rose by 17%.

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