The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) reported today that distilled spirits grew for the eighth straight year in 2007, with sales up 5.6 percent, to $18.2 billion, and volume up 2.4 percent, to 181.5 million cases. Despite a weakening economy, the Council predicts that growth will continue through 2008. They estimate a 4.6 percent increase in sales, to $19 billion, from 185 million cases (up 1.9 percent).
They attribute this growth to continuing interest in cocktail culture and to the “premiumization” of the entire drinks category. Both wine and spirits gained market share in 2007, at the expense of beer.
Whiskey (American, Canadian, Scotch and Irish) was the largest segment, representing 29 percent of industry sales. Whiskey sales grew 3.8 percent to $5.2 billion. The vodka segment was second, at 24 percent It grew 7.65 percent, to $4.3 billion.
The report did not break-out American-made whiskey’s share of the overall whiskey segment.
However, the Council did report on 2007 exports of spirits by U.S. makers, and most of that is American whiskey. For the first time, spirits exports topped $1 billion, a 15 percent increase over 2006.
American whiskey is now sold in more than 100 different countries. The leading markets are the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia and Japan. Key emerging markets are China, Vietnam, Brazil, Chile, Romania and Bulgaria.