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WSWA Weighs In On The Holiday Outlook for Spirits And Wine

November 11, 2022

While premiumization continues for the wine and spirits industries, analysts from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s SipSource pointed to some growing challenges, including ongoing supply chain and inflation issues, that are colliding with changed consumer behavior in the wake of the pandemic.

Overall, growth remains solid for the spirits category, with analysts Dale Stratton and Danny Brager highlighting the booming success of spirits-based RTDs. While U.S. spirits continued to grow in the 12 months ending in September, beer and wine faced more challenging conditions. The beer market bounced between a peak of 0.3% growth in August 2021 to a 2.3% decline in April 2022.

Wine, however, trended downward for the entire period. July, August, and September of this year saw the category down nearly 7% compared to the previous year. “I think that spirits will continue to succeed and grow faster than wine for a few different reasons, one being the broad consumer base and demographic base,” said Brager. “They’re doing a better job of appealing to younger drinkers and the multicultural segment.”

Looking ahead to the holidays, the analysts cautioned that the spirits category is facing tough comparisons with last year. Growth may be in the low single digits when RTDs are included and may even decline when they’re excluded. Wine, according to SipSource, is facing softer comps and will likely trend up during the next six months. Looking into next year, Stratton and Brager are cautiously optimistic that both wine and spirits will see growth, given the power of diverse and under-tapped consumer groups in the U.S. market.—Shane English

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