Distilled spirits made market share gains in 2012 and now account for more than a third of all alcohol sales, a report from the Washington-based Distilled Spirits Council says.
The distilled spirits industry market share edged upward in 2012, gaining share from both beer and wine, as companies innovated with new sophisticated line extensions, and as a decade of regulatory modernization for spirits continued to pay dividends.
Overall, U.S. supplier sales grew a solid 3.0% in volume to 202 million cases, while supplier revenues grew 4.5% to $21.3 billion as consumers continued to gravitate to higher end premium and super premium product choices. Meanwhile, the distilled spirits industry grew its market share of sales for the third straight year to 34.3%, taking a bit of share from both beer and wine. Regulatory modernization over the course of the last decade has also paid revenue dividends for the distilled spirits industry. Sixteen states have adopted Sunday sales of distilled spirits, for a total of 38 nationally—worth $260 million in new annual sales.
Also, since 2002, 17 more states have passed legislation to allow distilled spirits tastings at liquor stores, for a total of 44 states that allow some form of tasting. This has made a significant contribution to consumer fascination with high end premium and super premium products. Council data show that while 2003-2012 supplier sales of value-priced products have grown from $3.75 to $4.08 billion, a 24.5% rate of growth, super premium products have grown from $1.48 to $3.90 billion, a 163% rate of growth.
The Council’s annual briefing also included an extensive economic and category performance report by Chief Economist David Ozgo. It showcased a number of 2012 highlights from the different distilled spirits categories:
More than 40% of all spirits products in the U.S. have a flavor component beyond the traditional category – as many as 220 different expressions from citrus to wasabi.
Vodka, the largest spirits category, saw volumes increase 4.0% to 65 million 9-liter cases, with super-premium vodkas up 10.0%. Vodka supplier revenues grew to $5.5 billion.
Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey volumes, the largest whiskey category, climbed 5.2%, with super-premium products up 12.4%.
Irish whiskey continued its rapid growth with volumes shooting up 22.5%.
Single-malt Scotch also grew at double digit rates with volumes up 13.0%.