In February, the Distilled Spirits Council
(DISCUS) released their annual report
on the U.S. spirits market, presented
by President and CEO Peter Cressy.
The spirits industry market share
edged upward in 2012, gaining share
from both beer and wine as companies
innovated with new, sophisticated line
extensions, and as a decade of
regulatory modernization for spirits
continued to pay dividends.
The industry has benefited from steady
repeal of prohibition-era Blue Laws.
Cressy pointed out that since 2002, 16
states have adopted Sunday sales, for
a total of 38 nationally. This is worth
$260 million in new annual sales.
Also, since 2002, 18 more states have
passed legislation allowing spirits
“tastings” at liquor stores, for a total of
44 states. This has made a significant
contribution to exposing consumers
to high-end, premium and super-
premium products. DISCUS statistics
show that while 2003-2012 supplier
sales of value-priced products have
grown from $3.75 to $4.08 billion, a
24.5% rate of growth, super-premium
products have grown from $1.48 to
$3.9 billion, a 163% rate of growth.
DISCUS’s chief economist, David Ozgo,
also presented an extensive economic
and category performance report,
including the following highlights:
Vodka, the largest spirits category,
saw volume increase 4.0% to 65
million 9-liter cases, with super-
premium vodkas up 10.0%
Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey
volume, the largest whiskey category,
climbed 5.2%, with super-premium
products up 12.4%
Irish Whiskey continued its rapid
growth with volume shooting
Single Malt Scotch also grew at
a double-digit rate with volume
U.S. supplier sales grew a solid 3.0%
in volume to 202 million cases, while
supplier revenues grew 4.5% to $21.3
billion as consumers continued to
gravitate to higher-end choices (super-
premium volumes were up 8.9%).
Meanwhile, the distilled spirits industry
grew its market share of sales for the
third straight year to 34.3%, taking a
bit of share from both beer and wine.
New products flourished in 2012,
allowing the industry to keep product
offerings fresh and encourage
consumers to experiment and trade up.
DISCUS reports that 739 new products
were brought to market in 2012; nearly
half were flavored. Growthwise, the
flavor launches dominated, accounting
for 2.4M cases vs. 240,000 cases of
traditional spirit launches.
Above is a
breakdown of categories seeing the
most activity in new product launches.
More than 40% of all spirits products
in the U.S. have a flavor component
beyond the traditional category—as
many as 220 different expressions, from
citrus to wasabi (and PB&J in between).
SPIRIT No. NEW
Note: DISCUS defines price segments as:
Segment Case Cost
Value....................$50/9L case..........< $12/bottle
Premium.............. $100/9L case.........$12-$18/bottle
High-End..............$165/9L case ........$18-$30/bottle
VOLUME SHARE BY PRICE CATEGORY
Share of U.S. Spirits Volume
REVENUE BY PRICE CATEGORY
U.S. Supplier Gross Revenues