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Impact’s “Hot Brand” Tequilas Continue To Soar In 2021

August 23, 2021

Last year, Tequila shipments to the U.S. surged 24% to above 28 million 9-liter cases, more than doubling in size from a decade earlier. The U.S. accounted for nearly 90% of global Tequila exports in 2020, and achieved a new milestone with 60% of shipments comprised by the higher-priced 100%-blue agave segment, an all-time high.

That rapid momentum has continued this year, with the vast majority of Tequila labels earning Impact “Hot Brands” earlier this year showing double-digit percentage growth in control states in the year-to-date through June. The U.S. market’s 18 control jurisdictions represent approximately one-quarter of total spirits volume, according to Impact Databank.

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes recently addressed the forward-looking growth prospects for Tequila in the U.S., noting plenty of further upside in the category. “California is the most developed Tequila market in the world,” he told analysts late last month. “If you look at Nielsen sales, Tequila is about 20% of spirits in California. A lot of the country is still sitting at about 10% or lower. This trend has a lot to run and what we’re really excited about is it’s happening at the top end. Our growth rate is double the growth rate of the Tequila category because the acceleration is happening at the top-end price points.” Diageo’s Don Julio and Casamigos brands have been key drivers at Tequila’s upscale tier. Don Julio nearly doubled in size in control states over the first half of this year, while Casamigos roughly tripled its volume from a year earlier.

While Diageo is clearly making strides in Tequila, it’s far from alone. Bacardi-owned Patrón continues to lead the category’s luxury tier by a wide margin, leaping 25% last year to 2.7 million cases, according to Impact Databank, to account for 54% of all Tequila volume in the U.S. at $40 and above. Bacardi veteran Mauricio Vergara was named president and COO of Patrón last fall, with the brand aiming to continue its marked growth even as competition intensifies.

Ramping up production is one challenge upscale Tequila marketers are now facing. Curtis Mann, group vice president, total alcohol beverage at supermarket giant Albertsons, says demand at the high end continues to outstrip supply. “Premium Tequila—priced at $20-$50 a bottle—is on fire,” he notes. “Tequila above $50 is also doing well, but we just can’t get a lot of it.”

Among the brands in that fast-rising $20-$50 band are up-and-comers like Campari’s Espolòn, Jose Cuervo Tradicional, and Teremana, all of which continued to expand rapidly over the first half of this year. Teremana, launched last year by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and partners and distributed by Mast-Jägermeister US, recently announced a new Añejo expression that will debut in October, as its existing Blanco and Reposado Tequilas continue to skyrocket.

Impact’s “Hot Brand” Tequilas – YTD Growth In Control States
Brand Marketer Total 2020
Case Depletions1
2021 YTD
Percent Growth
In Control States2
Patrón Bacardi USA 2,706 41.9%
Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Proximo Spirits 1,970 9.5%
1800 Proximo Spirits 1,531 26.6%
Don Julio Diageo North America 1,145 88.1%
Espolòn Campari America 768 40.0%
Casamigos Diageo North America 600 190.8%
Cazadores Bacardi USA 561 24.2%
Familia Camarena E.&J. Distillers 423 6.6%
Altos Pernod Ricard USA 358 -21.1%
Milagro William Grant & Sons USA 349 124.7%
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Proximo Spirits 287 18.1%
Teremana Mast-Jägermeister US 230 706.5%
Herradura Brown-Forman 229 44.9%
1 thousands of 9-liter cases
2 year-to-date through June
Source: NABCA and IMPACT DATABANK © 2021
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