The distilled 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.

U.S. supplier sales grew 3 percent in volume to 202 millions cases, while supplier revenues grew 4.5 percent to $21.3 billion as consumers continued to gravitate to higher end premium and super premium product choices. Meanwhile, the distilled spirits industry grew its market share of sales for the third straight year to 34.3 percent, taking a bit of share from both beer and wine.

"Moderate growth driven by product innovations and sophisticated line extensions highlighted 2012 for distilled spirits companies of all sizes," says Peter Cressy, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, at the industry's annual briefing for Wall Street analysts and business media. "The premiumization trend continues to captivate consumers here in the U.S. and around the globe," he adds. 

The Council's annual briefing also included an extensive economic and category performance report by chief economist David Ozgo. These are some 2012 highlights:

  • Flavor trend: More than 40 percent 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.
  • Vodka, the largest spirits category, saw volumes increase 4 percent to 65 million 9-liter cases, with Super Premium Vodkas up 10 percent. Vodka supplier revenues grew to $5.5 billion.
  • Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey volumes, the largest Whiskey category, climbed 5.2 percent, with Super Premium products up 12.4 percent. 
  • Irish Whiskey continued its rapid growth with volumes shooting up 22.5 percent.
  • Single Malt Scotch also grew at double digit rates with volumes up 13 percent. 
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