ISSN 2330-717X

The US And Emerging Markets Drive Imported Spirits’ Growth


Global consumption of imported spirits grew 4.3% in 2011 versus 2010, just under 14m nine-litre cases in volume terms, according to the latest data from the IWSR.

The top 10 growth markets for imported spirits include the BRIC markets and other emerging markets such as Mexico, Poland, the Ukraine and Chile, as well as mature markets such as Germany and the US.

The imported spirits market in the US was the largest growth market for imported spirits in 2011; it increased by 3.9m cases in 2011, beating its previous year’s growth of 3.5m cases. Growth in the US is being fuelled by a raft of new product launches, a recovering on-premise, and a better economic situation. General population growth continues to increase the numbers entering the drinking population.

The emerging markets are experiencing growing affluence and the development of a middle class. This also allows greater penetration of imported spirits to all regions and the on-going development of the markets.

Whisk(e)y was the largest growth imported spirits category globally, selling 5.4m more cases in export markets in 2011 than in 2010. Whisk(e)y was the largest growth category in Russia, Brazil, India, Mexico and Poland. In many markets consumers are seeking a new taste profile and are switching from white to brown spirits. Whisk(e)y is seen as a prestigious drink and appeals to the increasingly affluent consumers in the emerging markets.

Vodka is the second-largest growth category globally. In the US, vodka’s huge growth has continued, driven by new flavours.

Paradoxically, despite a huge local market, vodka is also the largest growth category of imported spirits in the Ukraine due to the success of CEDC’s brands Green Mark and Zhuravli from Russia. The brands have benefited from the reduction of the Customs duty and the increase of the minimum retail price, which has closed the price gap with their main local competitors.

Global sales of imported spirits took a dip in 2009 due to the global economic crisis, but volumes recovered in 2010 and have maintained healthy growth.

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