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Top Spirits Brands On The Rise Heading Into Holiday Season

October 20, 2021

Even as the industry battles tough comparisons against last year’s pandemic-driven surge, the U.S. spirits market continues to rise, led by the market’s biggest brands, as well as the super-premium sector. Among the 20 largest-selling brands in control states, Jameson Irish whiskey and Patrón Silver Tequila (both at +21%) were the fastest-growing brands year-to-date through August. E.&J. Gallo was the fastest-growing spirits marketer among the 15 largest in NABCA markets with a 16% gain for the first eight months of this year, largely due to the continued popularity of High Noon Sun Sips.

Sazerac Co. leads all spirits marketers in control states with over 17.5% volume share for the first two-thirds of 2021, followed by Diageo at nearly 15% share and Beam Suntory at just under 10%. Diageo is still far and away the largest spirits company in the U.S. overall, and had nearly double the retail dollars of No.-2 Bacardi USA last year, according to The U.S. Spirits Market: Shanken’s Impact Databank Review & Forecast, 2021 Edition.

After suffering a temporary setback in July, spirits volumes in control states advanced 2.2% in August to bring growth to a cumulative 5.5% year-to-date, according to NABCA. The fastest-growing major segments by volume in control states through the first two-thirds of the year were pre-packaged cocktails (+38%), Tequila (+24%), Irish whiskey (+18%), and cordials/liqueurs (+15%), as all major spirits categories registered year-to-date gains.

Six of the 18 control jurisdictions declined in August but nine of the 10 largest states by volume posted year-to-date increases for the eight-month period. Number-one Michigan was the lone exception, slipping 0.75%. Last year, Michigan was the sixth-largest spirits-consuming state overall—according to Impact Databank’s 296-page report—while Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina ranked 8th, 9th, and 10th, respectively.

After outperforming license markets in 2017, 2018, and 2019, control states lagged the overall spirits industry last year, due largely to steep declines in Pennsylvania, which temporarily shut down all of its retail outlets for nearly two months in early 2020 during the initial Covid outbreak. Overall, control states comprised just over 23% of total spirits volume in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.—Juan Banaag

Top 10 Spirit Brands In The U.S. Market
Rank Brand Company Type Total 2020
Case Volume1
2021 YTD
Percent Change
in Control States2
1 Tito’s Fifth Generation Inc. Domestic Vodka 10.35 11.4%
2 Smirnoff Diageo North America Domestic Vodka 9.02 0.6%
3 Bacardi Bacardi USA Puerto Rican Rum 6.99 0.1%
4 Fireball Sazerac Co. Canadian Whisky 6.30 12.3%
5 New Amsterdam E.&J. Distillers Domestic Vodka 6.10 0.1%
6 Captain Morgan Diageo North America Virgin Islands Rum 5.58 1.6%
7 Jack Daniel’s Brown-Forman Tennessee Whiskey 5.21 4.5%
8 Hennessy Moët Hennessy USA Cognac 5.13 -3.4%
9 Svedka Constellation Brands Imported Vodka 4.73 -11.6%
10 Jose Cuervo Proximo Spirits Tequila 4.70 4.3%
Total Top 10 64.11 3.6%
1 Millions of 9-liter cases.
2 Year to date through August.Sources: NABCA and IMPACT DATABANK
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