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U.S. Market’s Top 25 Spirits Brands Gain Share, Led By Tito’s Surge

January 2, 2020

The leading players outpaced the overall spirits category in the U.S. market last year, with momentum driven by the ongoing expansion of Tito’s vodka as well as solid growth from a variety of other key brands. According to Impact Databank’s estimate, the U.S. spirits market totaled 237.2 million 9-liter cases in 2019, increasing by 2.5% compared with the previous year. The top 25 brands advanced by an aggregate 3.1% to achieve a 45% market share, up from 43% in 2015.

Over the past four years, the U.S. spirits market has expanded by nearly 20 million cases, or approximately 9%. The top 25 has accounted for more than two-thirds of that progress, with the market leaders tacking on nearly 14 million cases to their total since 2015. By comparison, brands outside the top 25 have grown by a combined 5.8 million cases over the same period.

Performances across the top 25 spirits brands last year largely mirrored market trends, with brown spirits and Tequilas driving gains while vodka and rum continued to struggle to make headway. Overall, 16 brands among the top 25 posted positive growth, while nine were flat or declining.

Among the key developments at the top of the market in 2019, Crown Royal became the largest whisk(e)y brand in the U.S., overtaking Jack Daniel’s, while Hennessy rose to surpass E.&J. to become the biggest brandy label in volume terms. Meanwhile, Pernod Ricard saw Jameson leapfrog Absolut to become its leading spirits label in the U.S.

While there has been some shifting up and down the list over the past year, Smirnoff fended off Tito’s to remain the top-selling spirits brand overall at 8.8 million cases, despite an estimated 2.5% decline. But with Tito’s soaring 19% to 8.77 million cases in 2019 and already established as the top spirits brand in control states, it will be surprising if the Texas-based vodka doesn’t claim the throne by the end of 2020.

Impact will have a full report on the Top 25 Spirits Brands in the U.S. in its January 1&15 issue. Subscribe here.—Daniel Marsteller

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