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

Exclusive: U.S. Spirits Volumes Projected To Rise 2% This Year, According To Impact Databank

November 14, 2018

The U.S. distilled spirits market is projected to continue its long-term growth streak in 2018, with a solid 2% volume gain, to a new all-time high of 232.6 million 9-liter cases, marking its 23nd consecutive annual increase. The industry is then projected to expand by a further 8 million cases by the end of the decade, according to The U.S. Spirits Market: Shanken’s Impact Databank Review & Forecast, 2018 Edition.

Distilled spirits are expected to outperform both wine and beer in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive year in 2018, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, according to the 300-page report. Spirits are on pace to surpass both beer and wine in consumer-dollar terms by 2020.

High-end labels have fueled the recent spirits rise, as super-premium-priced brands ($25 and above a 750-ml.) continue to post impressive gains, particularly Irish whiskey, Tequila, Cognac and flavored whiskies. Bourbon and single malt Scotch whisky have also recorded significant increases the past few years. Imported spirits overall are expected to crest 100 million cases for the first time ever in 2020, according to Impact Databank.

Luxury-priced Hennessy Cognac is expected to crest 4 million cases for the first time ever this year, and it’s projected to propel Moët Hennessy USA to surpass the $2 billion retail sales mark by year-end. Among other luxury spirits (above $40 a 750-ml.), the Patrón Tequila brand is also expected to continue easily outperforming the overall market. Patrón Spirits was acquired by Bacardi Ltd. earlier this year in a deal that valued Patrón at $5.1 billion.

Other high-flying super-premium spirits include Jameson Irish whiskey from Pernod Ricard, which by year-end will have achieved 23 consecutive annual gains, more than any other million-case brand. Including flavors, Diageo’s Crown Royal Canadian whisky leads all spirits in the U.S. market in retail dollar terms, and is projected to surpass the $2 billion mark by 2020.

Among premium-priced spirits ($15-$25 a 750-ml.), Tito’s vodka from Fifth Generation Inc. remains the fastest-growing million-case brand in the U.S. market, and is expected to become the second-largest brand overall in this year, behind only Smirnoff vodka. Meanwhile, Sazerac-owned Fireball flavored whisky is projected to crest five million cases by year-end.

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.—Juan Banaag

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