US – Recent data from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has revealed that despite a challenging external environment in 2022, the distilled spirits sector remained resilient and achieved a record market share and sales driven by continued consumer interest in premium spirits and the ongoing recovery of the hospitality industry.

According to the latest DISCUS annual economic briefing report for 2022, spirits gained a market share of the total US beverage alcohol market for the 13th straight year, with supplier sales rising 0.8 share points to 42.1 percent. Each point represents US$890 million in supplier revenue.

This represents the first-time spirits supplier revenues that have surpassed beer, which holds a 41.9 percent market share.

The spirits supplier sales in the United States were up 5.1 percent in 2022 to a record total of US$37.6 billion, while volumes rose 4.8 percent to 305 million 9-liter cases, DISCUS President and CEO Chris Swonger reported.

Explain the growth model of the spirit sector, Swonger said: “Year after year, the spirits sector has slowly gained market share by staying focused on our 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.”

With a focus on spirits sales trends, Christine LoCascio, DISCUS chief of public policy & strategy, reported that while the premiumization trend slowed overall in 2022, it remained strong due to the growth in the Tequila/Mezcal and American Whiskey categories.

He noted that more than 60 percent of the spirits sector’s total revenue was from sales of high-end and super-premium spirits, mainly led by Tequila (up 17.2 percent to US$6.0 billion) and American Whiskey (up 10.5 percent to US$5.1 billion).

At the same time, sales volumes at on-premise establishments, which represent about 20 percent of the US market, are rebounding but remain 5 percent lower than 2019 levels following nationwide restaurant and bar closures and restrictions.

The off-premise sales volumes, which saw sharp gains in 2020, remained steady in 2021 and 2022. In addition, Cocktail culture continues to thrive in the United States, supporting jobs in the distilling, hospitality, and agriculture sectors.

Spirits ready-to-drink (RTD) products, which remain a small but growing portion of the overall RTD market, are reported to continue to be hugely popular among adult alcohol consumers looking for convenient quality cocktails made with premium ingredients and real spirits.

Spirits RTD represented 13 percent of the total RTD market volume in 2022, compared to 8 percent in 2021.

The national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the US highlighted that it plans to prioritize the permanent suspension of tariffs, defending against tax threats, fairer treatment and increased access for RTD products, and expanded marketplace modernization including cocktails to-go and direct-to-consumer shipping in 2023 to compliment achievements of 2022.

In 2022, the trade association was able to bring about the suspension of tariffs on American Whiskey; expanded cocktails to-go permanency; ready-to-drink modernizations; tax reductions, and more.

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