Close Menu

American whiskey exports bring in record US$1.4bn

American whiskey is bringing home the bacon, accounting for 63% of US spirits exports in 2023, Discus has said.

American whiskey exports bring in record US$1.4bn

The 63% share of US exports was equivalent to US$1.4 billion in 2023, an increase of 9% compared with the year before.

Total US spirits exports reached a record US$2.2bn last year, up 8% compared to 2022.

The state of US spirits exports is on the mend, following tough conditions between 2018 and 2021 due to tariffs imposed by the UK and the EU.

Total US spirits exports to the EU grew by 24% compared to 2022. The EU is the largest export market for US spirits, accounting for approximately 40% of exports in 2023 equal to US$883 million.

The top five markets for spirits in 2023 also include, Canada ($262m), Mexico ($139m), Australia ($138m) and the UK ($129m).

Free trade agreements are vital to the health of the US spirits industry. Exports to free trade agreement countries, and those with zero duties, reached $1.8bn in 2023, accounting for 83% of the total.

In contrast, high-tariff countries including India (150% tariff), Vietnam (45% tariff) and Brazil (20% tariff on all imported distilled spirits, except bulk whiskey, which is 12% tariff), were responsible for just 3% of total US spirits exports in 2022, totalling US$69.2m.

Whiskey on top

American whiskey as a category includes Tennessee whiskey, Bourbon, American Rye whiskey and American Single Malt.

Since the EU suspended its 25% retaliatory tariff on American whiskeys in January 2022, US whiskey exports increased by 61% compared to 2021.

Over the span of two years, the export of American whiskey to the EU surged by over 60%, up from US$439m in 2021 to $705m in 2023 — 50% of total American whiskey exports.

In December 2023, the EU announced that it would continue the suspension of tariffs on American whiskeys in the steel and aluminium dispute for 15-months, until March 31, 2025. However, if no permanent resolution is reached, the EU will reimpose its tariff on American Whiskeys at 50%, up from the previously imposed 25%, Discus has said.

Despite these challenges, global exports of US spirits have risen by nearly 280% over the past 20 years from US$587m in 2003 to more than US$2.2bn now.

An influx of craft distillers has helped the industry grow, with less than 100 in 2005 rising to more than 2,600 today, many of which now export.

Compared to 2022, US exports of vodka have increased by 31% to US$160m, and alcoholic cordials and liqueurs have increased by 7% to US$161m year on year. Brandy more than doubled to $37m in 2023.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No