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American spirits exports up 14.3%

American spirits exports up 14.3%

The US Distilled Spirits Council has reported an export record for 2017 - $1.63 billion in sales, up 14.3% on 2016.

“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.”

Premium spirits continue to boom in the US

In the US, 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.

Vodka, the sector’s largest category and representing one-third of all volume, had another solid year with volumes up 2.2% and revenues up 3% to $6.2 billion, Ozgo said. Vodka sales were paced by high-end premium products with revenue growth of more than 15 percent to $1.6 billion. 

Council Chief Economist David Ozgo noted the growing strength of rye whiskey, which was up 16.2% by volume to 900,000 cases, now worth $175 million to suppliers, and the emergence of other categories such as mezcal, which has grown from less than 50,000 cases in 2009 to approximately 360,000 cases in 2017.

Other noteworthy points in 2017 were the sales strength of super premium blended scotch, up 13%; super premium gin, up 12.9%; and super premium rum, up 8.3%.

“Adult consumers, particularly millennials, continue to gravitate toward high-end and super premium spirits products,” said Ozgo. “Companies are creating excitement in the marketplace with new products and new technologies to interact with spirits customers.”


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