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Spirits surpasses beer market share in the US for the first time

Distilled spirits gained market share in the United States for the 13th straight year up to 42.1%. This means that, for the first time, supplier revenues of spirits have superseded beer, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) said.

The margin spirits holds over beer is incredibly slim, with the later holding a 41.9% market share, DISCUS said.

“Despite the tough economy, consumers continued to enjoy premium spirits and fine cocktails in 2022,” DISCUS president and CEO Chris Swonger commented.

“Cocktail culture continues to thrive in the United States supporting jobs in the distilling, hospitality and agriculture sectors.”

Hospitality employment figures in the United States remain 750,000 down on pre-pandemic levels, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

“The recovery of hospitality businesses is trending in the right direction, but we urge legislators at the federal and state levels to seek ways to support these businesses as they continue to recover,” Mr Swonger said.

DISCUS said that spirits supplier sales in the United States were up 5.1% in 2022, totalling a record sum of US$37.6 billion.

Volumes also rose 4.8% to total 305 million nine-litre cases.

“Year after year, the spirits sector has slowly gained market share by staying focused on our consumers, delivering innovative, high-end products, and advocating to level the playing field for spirits, beer and wine products in the marketplace and legislative arena,” Mr Swonger added.

Vodka sales were flat but the clear spirit retained its place at the top of the category both in terms of revenue and growth.

Tequila and mezcal showed remarkable growth, up 17.2% ($886 million) to total $6bn in revenue.

American whiskey also soared, growing 10.5% to total $5.1bn.

Premium cocktails, including spirits-based RTDs, Tequila and mezcal, American Whiskey, Irish whiskey and blended whiskey were the fastest growing spirits categories in 2022.

And a trend towards premiumisation, particularly in the agave-based spirits and American whiskey categories was key in the continued revenue growth of the spirits category writ large.

“[More] than 60 percent of the spirits sector’s total revenue was from sales of high-end and super-premium spirits, mainly led by Tequila, [bourbon, and rye],” DISCUS chief of public policy & strategy Christine LoCascio said.

“While many consumers are feeling the pinch from inflation and reduced disposable income, they are still willing to purchase that special bottle of spirits choosing to sip a little luxury and drink better, not more.”

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