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IRI Update: Wine & Spirits Continue Premiumization, But Growth Eases

December 11, 2020

As the key holiday-selling season began in earnest on Thanksgiving weekend, the off-premise alcoholic beverage market saw continued deceleration, coming off its growth highs of earlier in the year. Including the Thanksgiving holiday, wine volumes increased by 4% in IRI channels the past 4 weeks ending November 29, compared to 10% growth year-to-date. Spirits (+10.5%) rose faster than wine the past 4 weeks off-premise, but liquor’s increase was below its 52-week rate of +18%. Meanwhile, the flavored malt beverage sector, including the red-hot seltzer category, advanced 46% the past 4 weeks in IRI channels, but that too has cooled off since its peak summer-selling season, as 52-week growth registered a 68% surge.

Tito’s vodka remains by far the largest-selling brand in IRI channels by value, followed by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey. But among the 25 largest-selling spirits off-premise, the fastest-growing brands in dollar terms during the 12-week period ending November 29th were Hennessy VS (+39%), Bulleit Bourbon (+38%), Patrón (+34%), and Hornitos (+33%). A whopping 92 of the top 100 brands in IRI channels advanced over the past 12 weeks in dollar terms—63 of them at double- or triple-digit rates. Tito’s has grown by 32% in IRI channels over the past 52 weeks and is expected to become the market’s largest-selling spirit overall by volume before year-end, according to Impact Databank. The two fastest-growing categories over the past 52 weeks both had average retail pricing of above $20 a 750-ml: Tequila (+41% in dollar terms) and Cognac (+30%).

In the wine sector, Gallo-owned Barefoot Cellars continues to lead all brands in IRI channels by both volume and value, but the fastest-growing labels year-to-date among the top ten were Delicato’s Bota Box (+50% in dollar terms) and Deutsch’s Josh Cellars (+42%). Bottled table wine retail-priced at a minimum of $20 a 750-ml. was the fastest-growing segment (+29% year-to-date), while labels priced below $8 grew just 4% by volume. Off-premise, sparkling brands (+28%) more than doubled table wine’s growth (+13%) by value year-to-date in IRI channels, primarily due to Prosecco (+31%) and Champagne (+30%). Gallo’s La Marca is projected to be the largest-selling sparkling brand in volume terms by year-end, according to Impact Databank, while Moët-Hennessy’s Veuve Clicquot leads all sparkling wines in value terms, including in the on-premise sector.—Natalia Razzo

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