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Spirits shipments grew twice as much as wine in US, reveals report

However, wine sales were way ahead of beer in e-commerce during 2021, shows the latest report by financial service provider Rabobank, released this week. 

A newly released Q1 report from Rabobank reveals that the spirits category is succeeding in connecting with consumers that the wine industry is struggling to engage with.

It further shows that in 2021, shipments of spirits grew twice as much as wine shipments. And that there was a significant ‘mismatch’ between wine companies’ shipments and depletions, with much of the growth within the wine category due to companies compensating for inventory adjustments in 2020.

The report, which provides insight for 2022 and beyond, attributed the market gains snatched by the spirits category as being down to a number of factors, including: increased TV advertising spend; ‘favourable cultural references’ such as spirits being mentioned in bingeworthy TV shows; and the well-documented rise of home cocktail making.

However, while it might sound like spirits are getting all the action, it was a different story online, with wine triumphing in the world of e-commerce in the US.

According to the report, e-commerce represents the wine category’s “most powerful advantage” over beer and spirits, and could be a much-needed “way in” with younger consumers.

In short, wine dominates online, with 62% of total alcohol sales. But wineries should perhaps not get too comfortable, as signs show its digital advantage may be stalling. In 2020, the wine category’s share of off-trade sales in the e-commerce sphere was 62.4%. In 2021, it was 62.2%, showing a slight drop.


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