The US Distilled Spirits Council has reported an eighth consecutive year of growth

US spirits sales reached US$27.2 billion in 2017 compared to $26.2 billion in 2016, an increase of $1 billion or 3.8%, while volume grew by 2.6%, to 226 million cases.

Spirits took a market share of 36%, said the council.

“The spirits sector had a banner year in 2017, driven by consumer confidence in the U.S. economy, product innovations that adult consumers want, and a fascination with premiumization across categories,” said Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz. “The U.S. distilled spirits market is the second most valuable in the world, and we continue to promote consumer-friendly policies that expand responsible access to our products.”

The top five growth markets for US spirits in 2017 were:

– the UK: up $55.7 million to $117.9 million, an increase of 45.6%
– Germany: up $ million to $123.5 million, an increase of 22.4%
– Brazil: up $18.9 million to $29.1 million, or +185%
– France: up $15.7 million to $114.1 million, or +16%
– Spain: up US$14.5 million to $117.1 million or +14.1%.

Council Chief Economist David Ozgo pointed to the strongest growth in high-end premium and super premium products across most categories. The revenue for those price points increased 7.1 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, and by 7.3 percent and 4.9 percent for volume.

Key drivers of growth included American Whiskey, up 8.1 percent or $252 million to $3.4 billion; Tequila, up 9.9 percent or $246 million to $2.7 billion; Cognac, up 13.8 percent or $200 million to $1.6 billion; and Irish Whiskey, up 12.8 percent or $114.8 million to $897 million.

Ozgo also noted the growing strength of Rye Whiskey, which was up 16.2 percent by volume to 900,000 cases, now worth $175 million to suppliers, and the emergence of other categories such as Mezcal, which has grown from less than 50,000 cases in 2009 to approximately 360,000 cases in 2017. Other noteworthy points in 2017 were the sales strength of super premium Blended Scotch, up 13 percent; super premium Gin, up 12.9 percent; and super premium Rum, up 8.3 percent.

Vodka, the sector’s largest category and representing one-third of all volume, had another solid year with volumes up 2.2 percent and revenues up 3 percent to $6.2 billion, Ozgo said. Vodka sales were paced by high-end premium products with revenue growth of more than 15 percent to $1.6 billion.

“Adult consumers, particularly millennials, continue to gravitate toward high-end and super premium spirits products,” said Ozgo. “Companies are creating excitement in the marketplace with new products and new technologies to interact with spirits customers.”