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Top five spirits categories by value in US

Tequila was tipped to knock vodka from the top as the biggest-selling spirit by value in the US last year, but did it succeed?

Glass of whiskey and dacanter with money
What was the biggest-selling spirits category by value in the US last year?

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) revealed this week that spirits suppliers sales in the US were flat in 2023, up by 0.2% to US$37.7 billion.

The stagnant results were attributed to challenging economic conditions, as consumers contended with rising inflation and interest rates, resulting in more cautious spending behaviours.

At the start of 2023, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis revealed Tequila had overtaken American whiskey by value in the US, and expected the spirit to overtake vodka by the end of the year.

However, a slowdown in premiumisation meant a change of pace for sales Stateside.

So, which spirit category generated the most revenue in 2023?

5. Cocktails and RTDs

RTDs-to-watchCovering pre-mixed cocktails and spirits-based RTDs, the category delivered 26.8% growth to reach US$2.8 billion worth of sales in the US last year. It was the fastest-growing spirits category by revenue in the US in 2023.

4. Cordials

LiqueursA slight decline of 0.4% from 2022 to 2023 saw cordials’ sales slide to US$2.9bn last year.

3. American whiskey

Whiskey glass on a US flagA penchant for more expensive American whiskeys resulted in 3.8% growth for the category last year, which reached US$5.3bn. However, this was not enough to retrieve its second-place position back from Tequila.

2. Tequila and mezcal

Tequila-and-Mezcal-MastersWhile sales at the most expensive end of the Tequila category declined last year, the total sector stayed in demand. Value sales grew by 7.9% to US$6.5bn.

1. Vodka

Vodka Masters 2022Sales were relatively flat for vodka in 2023, down by 0.2% to US$7.2bn – but it still held the number-one spot as the biggest-selling spirits category by value.

If Tequila continues its strong growth trajectory, could 2024 be the year it topples vodka from the top spot?

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