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Exclusive: Top 25 Spirits Brands Advance By Nearly 5% In 2016, Reports Impact Databank

December 22, 2016

While both craft spirits and smaller high-end offerings from the big players are fast making headway, the U.S. market’s biggest spirits brands continue to drive growth. The market’s top 25 brands are on pace to advance by nearly 5% in 2016, according to Impact Databank, well ahead of projected 2.5% growth for the overall U.S. spirits market. These results basically mirror those of the past half-decade. The top 25 averaged 4.7% annual growth from 2010-2015, while the total market posted 2.4% yearly growth during that period.

The top 25’s impressive gains are occurring even though its two largest players aren’t keeping pace with the market’s expansion. In fact, Smirnoff and Bacardi—ranked number-one and number-two by volume, respectively—are both projected to lose share this year, even as the vast majority of the top 25 are on the rise. In all, 19 brands are on track to post growth, while three are in decline and another three are essentially flat. Though the top 25 accounts for less than 45% of the overall spirits category’s 221 million cases, it represents the vast majority of market growth.

Four top 25 brands are projected to achieve double-digit progress this year: New Amsterdam Vodka, Tito’s, Hennessy and Jameson.

While vodka’s growth has been slowing over the last few years, the category’s prevalence among the top 25 brands demonstrates its continuing strength. The list includes 10 vodka brands, while whisk(e)y also makes a solid showing with seven entries.

Meanwhile, the market’s premiumization trend remains strong. While the value tier (average price: $6.94 a 750-ml.) lost ground in Nielsen channels for the 52 weeks ending December 3 and the mid-price tier ($10.76 average) was up by less than 2% during the same period, the premium ($18.42 average) and ultra-premium ($36.52) segments thrived, with respective advances of 6.7% and 9.7%.

Impact is featuring a full report on the U.S. market’s Top 25 spirits brands in the upcoming January 1&15, 2017 issue—Peter Zwiebach

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