Prosecco, Tequila and Whisk(e)y are Booming

Another set of statistics is in, confirming what operators may have already figured out: domestic light and premium beers continue to lose share, imports and crafts are up, and spirits are soaring (for the most part).

This is according to the recently released IWSR 2016 US Beverage Alcohol Review. The overall beer category, including flavored malt beverages, inched up slightly despite the continuing shrinkage of domestic brewers’ wares, with imports now accounting for 15% and craft 11 percent. The leading domestic brews were all down, while the top 5 leading imported brands – Corona Extra, Modelo Especial, Heineken, Stella Artois and Dos Equis – made up nearly 70% of the import category. The top 5 each increased volumes last year on an average growth rate of 10.6%. Mexican imports showed tremendous growth in 2015.

The US cider category grew double digits once again in 2015, up 14.7%, much slower than the 64% growth the category experienced in 2014, and 74% growth in 2013.

According to the report, wine sales increased 1% in 2015, keeping up the momentum of over two decades of continual growth. Imported wine accounted for 26% of overall wine sales while domestic took the lion’s share at 74%.

Premium-and-above segments grew to end 2015 with a 20.7% share of the category. Total sales of imported still wines increased by 2.3%, and rosé wines grew 1.9% in 2015.

Sparkling wine continued to outperform the overall industry last year by posting a gain of 6.2%, significant in comparison to the 3.7% growth rate posted a year earlier. The Prosecco category has, since 2005, grown at an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 43.5%, ending 2015 up nearly 30% and holding a 11.9% share of the sparkling wine category. Spanish Cava has also increased, although not at a comparative rate to Prosecco.

The distilled spirits industry continued its year-over-year growth in 2015, reports the IWSR, marking 19 straight years of volume gains.

In 2015, total US whiskey advanced by 4.6%. Total Canadian whisky volumes grew by 9.8% (or 1.9M 9-liter cases). Scotch whisky volumes advanced by a modest 0.3%, Irish whiskey’s surge increased by 19% last year to end 2015 surpassing the 3M 9-liter-case mark, and Japanese and other whiskey category volumes grew by 54.3% to end 2015 with a total of 27,000 9-liter cases.

Overall gin volumes declined -1.7%, vodka gained 1% in 2015, the rum category decreased -2.7%, while tequila grew by 5.2%. Brandies and Cognacs capitalized on their impressive 2014 growth rate of 4.9% by posting a 5.6% increase last year. The cordials/liqueurs category decreased -2.1% last year.


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