Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

Exclusive: U.S. Spirits Market To Outperform Beer And Wine For The 7th Consecutive Year

September 18, 2018

The U.S. spirits category is expected to expand once again this year, albeit by a modest 2% to 233 million 9-liter cases, achieving its 23rd consecutive annual gain, according to The U.S. Spirits Market: Shanken’s Impact Databank Review & Forecast, 2018 Edition. By comparison, wine consumption is projected to increase by a mere 0.2% this year, while total beer volume is expected to register a 1% decline, excluding flavored malt beverages.

Spirits market growth continues to be driven by brown spirits including Irish whiskey, Cognac, Bourbon, rye, and other straight domestic whiskies, as well as single malt Scotch and flavored whiskies. Tequila is also contributing strong growth. On other other hand, further declines are forecasted for blended Scotch whisky, gin, rum, domestic brandy, and imported vodka brands, according to the recently-released 300-page report.

Tito’s vodka remains the nation’s fastest-growing spirits brand. It’s projected to surpass 7 million cases by year-end to become the market’s second-largest spirit label in volume terms, behind only Smirnoff. Last year, Tito’s was one of just six spirits brands to exceed $1 billion in retail sales. Hennessy is expected to remain the industry’s number-one spirits brand in value terms—despite some Cognac supply issues—as it accounts for nearly two-thirds of Cognac consumption in the U.S.

Among other significant milestones, Jim Beam Bourbon (including flavors) is projected to surpass 5 million cases for the first time ever in 2018, along with Fireball flavored whisky, which is the market’s second-largest-selling imported brand, behind only Crown Royal Canadian whisky. Meanwhile, Jameson Irish whiskey is expected to crest the $1-billion mark in retail value by year-end, and it’s projected to achieve its 23rd consecutive annual volume gain, more than any other million-case brand.

For more information and to order The U.S. Spirits Market: Impact Databank Review & Forecast, 2018 Edition as well as other exclusive Shanken reports and publications, click here.—Natalia Razzo

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Get your first look at 2018 data and 2019 projections for the wine and spirits industries. Order your 2019 Impact Databank Reports. Click here.

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