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Value Spirits Continue To Weaken As Ultra Premiums Make Gains, According To Nielsen

June 14, 2011

Spirits sales grew 3% by volume in the 52 weeks ended May 28 to 57 million cases, slightly faster than the 2.4% gain in the 52-week period ending January 8, 2011, according to the latest numbers from Nielsen. Ultra-premium spirits, which average $34.52 a 750-ml. bottle, were the fastest-growing segment in the 52-week period, with an 18% volume gain. Value-priced spirits, with an average retail price of $6.60 a 750-ml., had the smallest gain at 1.8%.

Fueled by the ultra-premium segment’s performance, total spirits saw growth by value accelerate in the 52-week period ending May 28, gaining 3.6% to $8.25 billion.

The fastest-growing spirit types by volume in the 52-week period were Irish whiskey (+21%), Cognac (+11%), prepared cocktails (+10%), vodka (+5.2%) and Tequila (+4.6%). Flavored vodkas (+18%) outperformed regular vodkas (+3.5%), and flavored rums (+4.8%) outperformed regular rums (-1.2%). Declining spirits types included Gin (-1.9%), Scotch whisky (-1.9%) and non-Cognac brandy (-2.2%).

The Nielsen numbers cover sales in food stores, drug stores, liquor stores and other select channels. The Nielsen channels account for 30% of the total U.S. spirits market by volume, as estimated by Impact.

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