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Flavored Whiskies Drive Off-Premise Growth, As Premiumization Picks Up

October 21, 2013

Distilled spirit sales rose 2% by volume to 71.9 million cases in the 52-week period ending September 14, according to the latest figures from Nielsen. The data represents roughly one-third of the total U.S. spirits market, as estimated by Impact Databank. Off-premise growth was stronger on a dollar basis, up 5.1% to over $11 billion, a sign that the industry may be continuing to premiumize.

Vodka, rum and Bourbon continue to be the biggest sellers in Nielsen channels, but triple-digit growth was recorded over the past 52 weeks by flavored whiskies. Fireball, from Sazerac, spearheaded the segment, followed by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Red Stag and Crown Royal Maple. Meanwhile, Irish whiskey recorded double-digit growth, led by Jameson, as did single-malt Scotch, led by The Glenlivet. Gin, brandy (except for Cognac) and American blended whiskey were among the categories in decline over the period.

Despite a still uncertain economy, premium- and ultra-priced spirits grew a combined 8.7% by volume in Nielsen channels (at an aggregate average of $21.30 a 750-ml.) and far outperformed mid- and value-priced spirits, which declined over the past 52 weeks, another sign that consumers might be trading up a bit in the off-premise.

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