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Impact Databank: The Rapid Rise Of American Rye

February 12, 2020

American rye whiskey has been among the hottest areas of the drinks market in recent years, evidenced by the category’s rapid rise to more than 1 million cases in annual volume. According to Impact Databank, American rye neared 1.1 million cases last year, on 9% growth—more than doubling their total of five years earlier—with both major marketers and smaller players contributing to gains.

Diageo-owned Bulleit rye leads the field by a wide margin, with volume up 4% to an estimated 470,000 cases last year. Rye now accounts for about one-third of the entire Bulleit franchise, which depleted an estimated 1.42 million cases in the U.S. in 2019 and saw net sales climb 4% in the six months through December.

Utah-based High West has seen its rye depletions continue to soar since being acquired by Constellation in 2016. Over the past three years, High West’s rye volume has nearly doubled to 80,000 cases, placing it among the leading brands in the category.

Likewise, rye is a growing part of the mix for Beam Suntory, which counts Old Overholt, Knob Creek, Jim Beam, and Basil Hayden’s among its rye offerings. Basil Hayden’s in particular showed strong growth last year, with its rye depletions nearly doubling to 33,000 cases.

Among other key brands, Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel’s ryes now combine for more than 90,000 cases, while Infinium Spirits’ Templeton (63,000 cases) and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits’ Redemption (40,000 cases) are also establishing a solid presence as the category continues to expand.—Daniel Marsteller

U.S.—Top Five American Rye Brands
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
Rank Brand Distiller 2018 2019E Percent
1 Bulleit Diageo North America 452 470 4.0%
2 Old Overholt Beam Suntory 74 75 0.4%
3 High West Constellation Brands 63 70 11.1%
4 Templeton Infinium Spirits 65 63 -3.7%
5 Knob Creek Beam Suntory 63 63 -0.9%
Total Top Five2 717 739 3.1%
1 based on unrounded data
2 addition of columns may not agree due to rounding

Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020

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