Spirits supplier sales earned a record market share in 2022 and was the top alcohol segment in the U.S., the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said Feb. 9 at its annual economic briefing for media and analysts.
Also last year, for the first time, spirits supplier revenue surpassed that of beer, 42.1% versus 41.9%, the council said. The report notes supplier sales into distribution channels, not sales to consumers.
Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the council, said spirits supplier sales in the U.S. were up 5.1% in 2022 to a record total of $37.6 billion. Volumes rose 4.8% to 305 million 9-liter cases.
This is the 13th straight year that spirits gained market share of the total U.S. alcohol market, the council said. Supplier sales rose 0.8 share points to 42.1%. Each point represents $890 million in supplier revenue.
Despite this growth, beer still dominates in convenience stores: $24.6 billion to $2.5 billion for spirits, according to data from Chicago-based IRI.
Continued consumer interest in premium spirits and the ongoing recovery of the hospitality industry drove the growth of spirits, the council said.
“Despite the tough economy, consumers continued to enjoy premium spirits and fine cocktails in 2022.”
“Despite the tough economy, consumers continued to enjoy premium spirits and fine cocktails in 2022,” Swonger said. “Cocktail culture continues to thrive in the United States supporting jobs in the distilling, hospitality and agriculture sectors.”
The spirits sector has slowly gained market share year after year by staying focused on its 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, Swonger said.
During the briefing, Michael Mariano, head of economic development for Tourism Economics, an Oxford, England-based Oxford Economics Co., presented research on the economic impact of spirits tourism at the state level.
The research, commissioned by the council, analyzed 2019 data for distilleries in New York, California and Texas and measured the direct and indirect impact from visitors at distilleries and at establishments surrounding distilleries.
The total economic impact of distillery tourism generated $715.2 million in Texas, $546.4 million in New York and $417.8 million in California, according to the research.
“Our research found that distilleries have become a huge draw for non-local visitors,” Mariano said. “While we only analyzed data in three states, this phenomenal growth in distilleries is happening across the country attracting tourists, supporting surrounding businesses and bolstering state and local economies.”
The premiumization trend slowed overall in 2022 but remained strong due to the growth in the tequila/mezcal and American whiskey categories, said Christine LoCascio, council chief of public policy and strategy.
LoCascio attributed the slower growth rate in 2022 to the softening of the economy and the return to an average spirits growth rate after a lift from consumers stocking up at the beginning of the pandemic.
Ready-to-drink (RTD) spirts continue to be popular among adult alcohol consumers looking for convenient quality cocktails made with premium ingredients and real spirits, LoCascio said.
At 13% of the total 2022 RTD market, spirits RTDs remain a small but growing portion of the overall RTD market. They were 8% in in 2021.
The top five spirits categories by revenue:
- Vodka sales: flat, totaling $7.2 billion
- Tequila/mezcal sales up 17.2% or $886 million, to $6 billion
- American whiskey sales up 10.5% or $483 million to $5.1 billion
- Brandy and cognac sales down 12.3% or $428 million to $3.1 billion
- Cordials sales up 2.6% or $73 million to $2.9 billion
Top five fastest growing spirits categories by revenue:
- Premixed cocktails, including spirits RTDs, up 35.8% or $588 million to $2.2 billion
- Tequila/mezcal up 17.2% or $886 million to $6 billion
- American whiskey up 10.5% or $483 million to $5.1 billion
- Irish whiskey up 6.9% or $91 million to $1.4 billion
- Blended whiskey up 6.8% or $60 million to $940 million
The Washington-based Distilled Spirits Council is an advocate for distilled spirits in the United States. It represents producers and marketers of distilled spirits.
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