Distilled Spirits Council: Ninth Straight Year of Record Spirits Sales, Market Share Gains

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The Distilled Spirits Council today reported at its annual economic briefing that 2018 marked the ninth straight year of record spirits sales and volumes, reflecting continued market share gains.

Supplier sales were up over 5.1 percent, rising $1.3 billion to a total of $27.5 billion, while volumes rose 2.2 percent to 231 million cases, up 5.0 million cases from the prior year.

In 2018, spirits gained market share versus beer and wine with sales rising seven-tenths of a point to 37.4 percent of the total beverage alcohol market. It is the ninth straight year of market share gains overall, where each point of market share is worth $740 million in supplier sales revenue.

“These robust results show adult consumers are continuing to favor spirits over beer and wine, particularly among millennials,” said Distilled Spirits Council President & CEO Chris Swonger. “The spirits sector is benefiting from millennials who demand diverse and authentic experiences, and desire innovative and higher-end products.”

Council Chief Economist David Ozgo pointed to the strongest growth in high-end premium and super premium products across most categories. The revenue for those price points increased 8.9 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, and by 8.0 percent and 7.5 percent for volume.

Key category drivers of sales growth included American Whiskey, up 6.6 percent or $224 million to $3.6 billion; Tequila, up 10.2 percent or $279 million to $3.0 billion; Cognac, up 14.2 percent or $250 million to $1.8 billion; and Irish Whiskey, up 12.0 percent or $108 million to $1.0 billion.

Ozgo also noted the return to growth of Single Malt Scotch, up 9.4 percent or $72 million to $843 million and the sales strength of super premium Gin, up 15.6 percent; and super premium Rum, up 28.5 percent.

Vodka, the sector’s largest category, had another solid year with volumes up 1.6 percent and revenues up 2.9 percent to $6.4 billion, Ozgo said. Vodka sales were paced by high-end premium products with revenue growth of more than 11.4 percent to $2.6 billion.

“Growth was concentrated in the higher priced categories, allowing the industry to enjoy significant revenue growth while also picking up drinking occasions from other beverages,” said Ozgo. “The continued excitement surrounding super premium American whiskeys is creating a halo effect for the entire whiskey category.”

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Business Wire: 16:30 GMT Tuesday 12th February 2019

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