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EU spirits exports fall 7% in 2023

Data from trade body Spirits Europe found that spirits exports from the EU declined by 7% in value to €9.07 billion (US$9.8bn) last year, due to a double-digit drop in the US.

Europe flags exports
European spirits’ biggest export markets were the US, China and the UK

Spirits Europe described 2022 as a particularly strong year due to the reopening of borders and hospitality in many markets.

The biggest category by value was grape-based spirits, which represented 39% of total exports. Whisky represented 19%, followed by liqueurs and cordials (17%), ‘spirituous beverages’ and other categories (11%) and vodka (10%).

Although down on 2022, exports were up on 2021’s total of €8.41bn (US$8.48bn).

Despite this, Spirits Europe noted that the overall growth in the past decade is slowing down, from a 65% growth rate between 2011 and 2021 to a 45% growth rate between 2013 and 2023.

The trade body said this shows a ‘need for continued support from trade and promotion policies to open new markets and opportunities’.

It added that products with geographical indications represent around two-thirds of EU spirits exports in value.

The US remains the top export destination by value, worth €2.76bn (US$2.99bn), although this was a decline of 27% from the previous year. Spirits Europe attributed this partly to the reduction of overstocks and rising living costs in the US, and cited the continued suspension of tariffs as vital.

The next top destinations, China and the UK, grew by 2% and 8%, to €889 million (US$960m) and €852m (US$920m) respectively.

Spirits Europe said the category’s 2023 export performance was driven largely by Asia.

Other growing markets included India (up 7%), Malaysia (up 9%), Thailand (up 35%) and Indonesia (up 105%). Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa fell by 7% and Latin America dropped by 13%.

Spirits Europe added that import tariffs of up to 150% in India, Thailand and Indonesia are hampering growth and trade negotiations are vital to their potential.

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