The US Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) has reported record sales in 2017, up $1 billion (4%) to reach a total of $26.2 billion in 2017. Volumes rose 2.6% to 226 million cases, an increase of 5.8 million cases.
DISCUS says the results reflect an “ongoing taste for higher-end distilled spirits” across most categories, with spirits gaining market share versus beer for an eighth consecutive year to reach 36.6% of the total US beverage alcohol market.
The trade association also projected a new export record of $1.63 billion of US spirits sold around the globe in 2017, up 14.3%.
Consumer tastes for premium American spirits and favorable exchange rates drove global sales, especially to markets where US spirits enjoy duty free access. Volumes were up 5%.
“American spirits, particularly whiskeys, are the toast of the global cocktail scene,” said Council Senior Vice President for International Affairs Christine LoCascio. “International adult consumers are exploring more expensive US spirits driven by their fascination with American whiskey’s heritage, as well as its mixability and versatility in cocktails.”
The top five growth markets by dollar value included the United Kingdom, up $55.7 million to $177.9 million or 45.6%; Germany, up $22.6 million to $123.5 million or 22.4%; Brazil, up $18.9 million to $29.1 million or 186.5%; France, up $15.7 million to $114.1 million or 16%; and Spain, up $14.5 million to $117.1 million or 14.1%.
US growth drivers: High-End and Super Premium Spirits
DISCUS reported the strongest growth in high-end premium and super premium products across most categories. The revenue for those price points increased 7.1% and 6.1%, respectively, and by 7.3% and 4.9% for volume.
Key drivers of growth included American Whiskey, up 8.1% or $252 million to $3.4 billion; Tequila, up 9.9% or $246 million to $2.7 billion; Cognac, up 13.8% or $200 million to $1.6 billion; and Irish Whiskey, up 12.8% or $114.8 million to $897 million.
Rye Whiskey was up 16.2% by volume to 900,000 cases, and is now worth $175 million to suppliers. Mezcal has grown from less than 50,000 cases in 2009 to approximately 360,000 cases in 2017. Super premium Blended Scotch was up 13%, with super premium single malt sales up 8.8%. Volumes in 2017 for super-premium blended Scotch rose 11.8% to 466,000 cases (5.6 million bottles) and for single malts rose 9.3% to 752,000 cases (more than nine million bottles).
Super premium Gin increased 12.9%, and super premium Rum was up 8.3%.