Close Menu

Premium spirits sales soar in US bars

Drinkers in the US are trading up to more expensive spirits in bars, with the premium price tier taking a 40% share of on-trade sales, according to new CGA data for February 2022.

premium spirits
Super-premium and ultra-premium whisk(e)y sales jumped by triple digits

CGA’s On Premise Measurement (OPM) service looked at how spirits performed by price tier across US bars and restaurants in February 2022, compared with the same month-long period last year.

The premium price tier of the spirits market took a 40% share of on-trade sales by value in February 2022, while super-premium brands took 18%.

Ultra-premium spirits had a 4% share, with sales soaring by 180% year on year. As such, the three premium categories now account for 62 cents in every dollar spent on spirits, CGA noted.

However, CGA warned the shift towards premium is creating challenges for some spirit brands in the mid-priced bracket, which saw its share dip by 2% to 23% in February this year, compared with the same period in 2021.

Patrick Bannon, CGA client director, Americas, said: “Celebration and treat occasions are crucial to the US on-premise, and the data suggests that more and more consumers are looking for more premium offerings after two years of disruption from Covid-19.

“However, mid-priced brands still have a big role to play too, and beverage suppliers and operators that can respond to ever-changing tastes and preferences with the optimal spirits assortment will have a significant competitive advantage.”

Looking at spirit categories, 50% of gin sales now come from the premium price tier, CGA found. Premium and super-premium segments have seen their sales skyrocket by 137% and 167% respectively in February 2022.

Meanwhile, super-premium Tequila’s share of total sales has climbed from 28% to 32%, while the mid-priced tier’s share has dropped from 32% to 28%.

Premium vodka has increased its share from 42% to 44%.

Whisk(e)y’s super-premium and ultra-premium sales jumped by 163% and 165%, respectively, in February 2022.

Furthermore, CGA noted that brandy and rum – categories that have typically been dominated by mid-priced brands – have also made significant steps towards premiumisation.

Bannon added that CGA will continue to watch how this trend develops in 2022.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No