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Super-Premium Spirits Drive Solid Growth In U.S. Control States

February 15, 2022

Spirits volumes rose 4.6% across the U.S. market’s control states in 2021, slower than the impressive 7.5% growth recorded in 2020—due to pantry loading as a result of the pandemic—but still better compared to the 3.7% increase registered in 2019. NABCA markets comprise roughly 23% of the U.S. spirits market by volume, according to Impact Databank.

Pre-packaged cocktails were the single-fastest growing spirits category in control states last year, jumping 38.5% by volume, to outpace other flourishing segments such as Tequila (+23.7%) and Irish whiskey (+13.4%). Brandy/Cognac (-4.4%) was the only segment to suffer a decline among control states in 2021. Among the 35 largest-selling spirits in control states, the fastest-growing items were all priced above $25 a 750-ml. on average—including Patrón Silver (+17.4%), 1800 Silver (+16.9%), Jameson (+16%), Maker’s Mark (+15.2%), and Grey Goose (+14.8%).

Pennsylvania surged 21% last year on a relatively easy comp, after temporarily shutting down all its retail outlets in 2020 during the initial Covid outbreak. Two other control states posted annual growth rates of above 5% in 2021—Alabama (+5.9%) and North Carolina (+5.1%). The largest control jurisdiction—Michigan (-0.3%)—lost volume last year, with New Hampshire (-0.8%) the only other NABCA market to register a decline in 2021. Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio all rank among the top 10 spirits-consuming markets in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.—Juan Banaag

U.S.—Top 10 Spirits Brands in Control States
(thousands of 9-liter cases)
Rank Brand Company Origin/Type 2020 2021 Percent
Change1
1 Tito’s Fifth Generation Domestic Vodka 2,536 2,877 13.4%
2 Smirnoff Diageo North America Domestic vodka 1,971 1,981 0.5%
3 Fireball Sazerac Co Flavored Canadian Whisky 1,647 1,819 10.5%
4 Captain Morgan Diageo North America Virgin Islands Rum 1,377 1,396 1.3%
5 Bacardi Bacardi USA Puerto Rican Rum 1,383 1,383 0.0%
6 Jack Daniel’s2 Brown-Forman Tennessee Whiskey 1,056 1,095 3.7%
7 New Amsterdam E.&J. Distillers Domestic Vodka 1,089 1,073 -1.5%
8 Hennessy Moet Hennessy USA Cognac 1,147 998 -13.0%
9 Jose Cuervo Proximo Spirits Tequila 899 948 5.5%
10 Jim Beam2 Beam Suntory Bourbon 921 932 1.2%
Total Top 103 14,026 14,501 3.4%
1 Based on unrounded data.
2 Excludes flavors.
3 Addition of columns many not agree due to rounding.Source: NABCA and IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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