Spirits set to overtake wine as global drinking habits change

According to a report from the World Spirits Alliance released on Wednesday, global sales of spirits such as vodka and whisky are expected to surpass wine as drinking preferences have shifted.

The report from Oxford Economics and alcohol market research firm IWSR states 2.67 billion cases of spirits were sold in 2022, almost as many as the 2.8 billion cases of wine sold that year.

“Should current trends in both categories continue, spirits volumes will soon surpass those of wine,” the report states.

Trends, including a shift towards drinking fewer, more expensive drinks, notably a growing range of cocktails, have seen spirits displace wine.

The wine industry has faced a global supply glut, difficult weather and falling demand, which has hit a 27-year low. Beer companies are also grappling with a shift to spirits in some markets.

BY THE NUMBERS

Beer accounted for 75.2% of total beverage alcohol volumes in 2022, followed by wine at 10.4% and spirits at 9.9%;

In terms of the value of sales in 2022, spirits accounted for 40% of total beverage alcohol sales followed by beer at 38.1% and wine at 17.6%;

Indian whisky is set to be the fastest growing spirits category between 2022 and 2027, growing by 50 million cases, with tequila, rum and gin all expected to rise between 10 and 20 million cases. Cognac and Armagnac are set to grow the least in the spirits market.

The production and sale of spirits contributed some $730 billion to the global economy in 2022, when activity ranging from farming and manufacturing to shipping and sales in shops, bars and restaurants is included.

Source: Reuters

Global Exports of Scotch Whisky Reached £5.6 billion in 2023

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has released its annual report showing global export figures for the value and volume of Scotch whisky. The 2023 figures reveal that the value of Scotch exports reached £5.6 billion in 2023, while the equivalent volume of 1.35 billion 70cl bottles of Scotch were exported.

2022 has been described as a “bumper year” for Scotch whisky global exports. Last year’s report showed global Scotch exports topping £6 billion for the first time, attributed to the post-pandemic re-opening, and restocking of markets and full return of global travel retail in 2022. In comparison, the SWA says the 2023 numbers are a “more normalised depiction” of the current market.

The largest region by value in 2023 remained Asia-Pacific, which climbed above the EU in 2022. The figure was supported by record exports to China, where the market is up 165 per cent on 2019. Despite a fall of 7 per cent on its 2022 global export value, and a fall of 9 per cent on the figure from 2019, the United States remained the most valuable individual market for Scotch exports.

The biggest market by volume was France, which overtook India despite falling behind the other country in 2022. India is a “priority growth market” according to the SWA, which has called for a trade agreement to lower the tariff on Scotch imports into India.

Mark Kent, chief executive of the SWA, said: “Scotch whisky has once again shown its export strength despite significant challenges across a volatile global trading environment. The figures demonstrate that Scotch whisky brands and distilleries are investing in their teams, their tourism offering, their long-term sustainability, and their global presence to ensure that Scotch continues to be the world’s favourite whisky.

“We know that the Scotch whisky industry is remarkably resilient as we look at these numbers against the backdrop of rising costs for consumers and businesses, but the figures are a reminder once again that the Scotch Whisky success story cannot be taken for granted. We need to see more tangible support from government both at home and in our priority markets in order to continue to grow our export numbers, and the resultant investment, employment and economic benefits that come with that.

“A cut to spirits duty in the Spring Budget would be a step in the right direction, giving the industry platform at home to push forward with international growth. Government must also do away with any notion of restricting the marketing of Scotch whisky in Scotland, which would have a significant and lasting impact on the industry’s ability to generate future growth.”

UK government minister for exports Lord Offord added: “Scotch whisky is a major UK exporting success story contributing billions of pounds to the economy and supporting thousands of jobs.

“We want the UK to be an export-led economy and reach a trillion pounds of exports a year by 2030. It’s fantastic to see whisky exports in 2023 continuing to outperform pre-pandemic levels as businesses take advantage of our free trade deals and expand into new markets around the world.”

The 10 most-consumed alcoholic drinks have been identified

Insider Monkey’s list of the 10 most-consumed alcoholic drinks have been identified in a new list that outlines which tipples we favour most.

The analysts at the investment advisors Insider Monkey drew from their deeper dive report of the ‘20 Most Consumed Alcohols in the World’. Here is a list of the top 10, for your review.

1. Beer
Global market size in 2022: US$793.74 billion

Beer is the most consumed alcohol in the world. In fact, after water and tea, beer is the most popular drink in the world. According to reports, in the 2022 brewing year, global beer production ended up increasing slightly year-on-year by 1.3% to 1.89 billion hectolitres. However, the market is yet to return to its pre-pandemic levels when production peaked at 1.91 billion hectolitres in 2019. The category has also evolved with consumer tastes as brewers look to satisfy the thirst of their audience. Plus, the overall demand for premium and low-calorie beers, the rising popularity of craft beer, and the continued expansion of distribution networks in emerging countries are all expected to continue driving growth in the global beer sector over the next few years.

2. Wine
Global market size in 2022: US$441.6 billion

The rising demand for premium and luxury wines has been reported alongside the growing popularity of wine tourism which have become key factors driving growth. According to the analysts, global wine consumption in 2022 was estimated to be at 232 million hectolitres, marking a decrease of 1% compared to the previous year. Year-on-year, wine consumption around the world has decreased at a regular rate and yet this can be mainly attributed to the decline in China’s consumption, which has lost an average 2 million hectolitres per year since 2018.

3. Liqueurs
Global market size in 2022: US$128.9 billion

Liqueurs, which are essentially distilled spirits that are sweetened with sugar or syrup, and often also contain fruit, herbs, and oils, can be sweet or bitter depending on the flavours used.

4. Baijiu
Global market size in 2022: US$95.21 billion

Baiju plays a prominent role in China’s drinking culture and has done so ever since the Ming Dynasty. It is most distilled from sorghum, although other grains – including rice, wheat, corn, and millet – are also available in blends throughout the country. Last year, consumers in China consumed US$91 billion worth of baijiu, yet it remains less well-known outside the nation.

5. Whisky
Global market size in 2022: US$64 billion

As millennials are increasingly beginning to experiment with different drinks and assisting in the rise of ‘cocktail culture’, the use of whisky as a premium ingredient has increased in bars. 2022 was hinted to be a great year for Scotch whisky and exports of Scotland’s native spirit hit US$7.5 billion last year, the highest figures ever. Whisky exports by volume also rose, with the number of 700ml bottles shipped overseas up by 21%, to 1.67 billion.

6. Vodka
Global market size in 2022: US$25.98 billion

Vodka continues to be the most consumed spirit in the US and has been since 1970. Around 78.1 million cases of the spirit were sold in America in 2021 and by 2022, 28.1 million 9L cases were sold globally.

7. Cider
Global market size in 2022: US$17.9 billion

Cider has risen in popularity significantly over the last decade and can also flex with the seasons. In the UK, Insider Monkey outlines how cider continues to be a popular alcoholic drinks category with an off-trade value sales growth in the UK of 5.2% over the past year. Some 47.8% of all British households now regularly buy cider – up from 45.5% last year.

8. Rum
Global market size in 2022: US$17.4 billion

While rum sales are still dominated by major producers, many consumer preferences are said to be moving away from value options and towards an appreciation for craft and aged rums instead. Made from fermented sugar cane juice, rum also provides a key function in cocktail culture.

9. Gin
Global market size in 2022: US$15.3 billion

There are, reportedly, three main reasons for gin’s continued popularity – taste, versatility, and the variety now available. The UK is the largest exporter of gin in the world and, according to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data, gin exports from Britain hit US$879 million last year, up from US$651 million in 2021.

10. Tequila
Global market size in 2022: US$14.7 billion

Tequila’s popularity has been on the rise for years, and in 2021 it surpassed whisky in retail sales. The analysts found that the growth in popularity of Tequila can primarily be attributed to several factors, including the expansion of the premium spirits sector as well as the introduction of new flavours, and a greater social media presence.

Cask Whisky Association officially launches

The Cask Whisky Association has just launched in the whisky sector which will protect buyers who buy and sell casks.

This new association is made up of two boards and advisors, including cask whisky businesses, distilleries, independent bottles and whisky experts, alongside legal and insurance professionals.

Colin Hampden-White, Chairman of the advisory board and spokesperson, states “The CWA’s goal is to uphold the overall reputation of the Scotch whisky industry.”

“The Cask Whisky Association exists to protect private customers from unscrupulous business practices and traders, and safeguard independent bottlers from over-inflated pricing,” he said. “Our members are committed to, and will provide guidance on, best practice.”

Wendy Chamberlain MP, chair of the Scotch Whisky All Party Parliamentary Group states: “Having met with the Cask Whisky Association, I am aware that there are many reputable organisations who want to provide good investment opportunities to enthusiasts and investors alike. The actions of bad actors in this field risk harming not only consumers but the reputation of Scotch whisky and the long-term viability of the industry as a whole.”

The association has also met with Lord Richard Harrington, who states “This type of cross-industry collaboration is welcomed. Where blind spots in regulation exist, such as in the cask investment space, it is encouraging to see different parts of the industry coming together to address the issues that emerge. Scotch is a true British success story so measures must be put in place to protect the integrity of the sector.”

A full list of Cask Whisky Association members will be published in November.

2023 Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards London/Hong Kong

I’m so thrilled to be associated with this organization, and to be “nominated” to be a judge for the 2023 Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards London/Hong Kong.

The organizers state: “Your work in the industry is recognized by the Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards™”

The judging date is November 11th, 2023 and the wines and spirits will be judged by some of the world’s most influential female wine marketers, buyers, retailers, and sommeliers.

The wine business has discovered the exciting importance of women consumers.  Some facts:

  • 80%of wine is purchased by women (Women and Wine Study, Vinexpo)
  • Over 60% of wine is consumed by women (Women and Wine Study, Vinexpo)

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