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Spirits Gain Speed In Control States

July 28, 2021

After a modest first quarter of 2021, spirits volume has accelerated somewhat the past three months in the U.S. market’s 18 control jurisdictions, to bring year-to-date gains up to 7.7% cumulatively ending in June, according to the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA). Especially considering the tough comparison against last year’s pandemic-aided growth, June 2021’s increase of 8.6% was quite impressive, with 16 of the 18 markets registering gains last month. Control states comprised nearly 24% of total U.S. spirits market volume last year—according to Impact Databank—as control jurisdictions once again outperformed all license states combined in 2020.

All ten of the largest control states by volume posted year-to-date increases for the half-year. Last year, Michigan was the sixth-largest spirits-consuming state overall—according to Impact Databank—while Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio ranked 8th, 9th, and 10th, respectively. The fastest-growing major segments by volume in control states through the first six months of 2021 were pre-packaged cocktails (+38%), Tequila (+30%), cordials/liqueurs (+19%), Irish whiskey (+19%), and Cognac (+13%), as all major spirits categories registered year-to-date gains, according to NABCA.

Among the 50 largest-selling spirits brands in control states, Patron Silver (+43%) was the fastest-growing brand year-to-date. E.& J. Gallo was the fastest-growing spirits marketer among the 15 largest in NABCA markets with a 16% gain year-to-date, largely due to the continued popularity of High Noon Sun Sips seltzer and New Amsterdam Pink Whitney vodka.

Sazerac leads all spirits marketers in control states with over 17.5% volume share for the first half of 2021, followed closely by Diageo, at nearly 15% share. Diageo is still far and away the largest spirits company in the U.S. overall, and had nearly double the retail value of No.-2 Beam Suntory last year, according to Impact Databank.—Juan Banaag

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