World News 12/02/2014

US spirits market maintained momentum in 2013

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) reported steady supplier sales growth in 2013 of 4.4% to $22.2bn, paced by whiskies of all varieties. Total US volume growth was up 1.9% to approximately 206m cases.

In addition, the group estimated overall market share versus beer grew for the fourth straight year, rising by four-tenths of a point for a total of 34.7% share of the beverage alcohol market. Total market share gain since 2000, has been six points. Each point of market share equals approximately $630m in supplier sales.

Key factors cited as contributing to the US market's growth included industry product innovations; consumer fascination with premiumisation, heritage and cocktail culture; expanded access through state market modernisations; and effective hospitality tax restraint by legislatures.

"The wide product selection spirits suppliers offer consumers again paid off with solid revenue growth," DISCUS chief economist David Ozgo told analysts. "For the first time in decades, all whisk(e)y categories saw some growth. Whisk(e)y was once the dominant spirit of choice for most Americans. While growth had been picking up over the last few years, 2013 was a banner year."

DISCUS reported that whiskies of all varieties in the domestic market grew 6.2% to 52.7m cases, worth just over $7bn in supplier sales, up 10.1% or $643m in 2013. Highlights within the whisk(e)y category include Irish up 17.5% in volume to 2.5m cases worth $500m, up 20.5% in revenue; single malt Scotch up 11.6% in volume to 1.8m cases worth $590m, up 14.7% in revenue; and Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey up 6.8% in volume to 18m cases worth $2.4bn, up 10.2% in revenue.

DISCUS also reported solid US growth in several other categories including tequila, which showed volumes rising by 6.6% and revenue up by 7.9%, with strongest growth particularly in the more expensive price segments and $148m in new supplier revenue; steady growth in Cognac with volumes up 3.7%; and vodka volumes up 1.1%, which given the enormous size of the category at 66m cases, drove $122m in new supplier revenue.

Exports surpass the $1bn mark

American distilled spirits exports broke new records in 2013, crossing the $1.5bn threshold, driven by premium Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey which exceeded the $1bn mark for the first time.

According to Council senior vice-president for international trade Christine LoCascio, projected Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey exports overall grew 5% from $956.8m in 2012 to $1bn in 2013, an increase of approximately $50m.

The projected top six 2013 growth markets for all American distilled spirits by dollar value were Japan (up $22.7m to $120.8m), Germany (up $19.6m to $140.1m), France (up $14.5m to $130.5m), the UK (up $8.8m to $159.6m), Spain (up $6.5m to $69.8m) and Panama (up $5.8m to $11.6m).

"There is a genuine affection for 'Brand America' as a symbol of quality and taste," said LoCascio. Other factors LoCascio cited for strong American distilled spirits export growth were market opening and other trade agreements in recent years that have seen tariffs significantly reduced or eliminated in key countries and regions including Panama, China, Australia, Colombia, Korea and Chile, among others.

di S. C.