The U.S. spirits market is expected to expand once again this year, at a solid 2.5% rate by volume, according to the newly released Shanken’s Impact Databank Review & Forecast: The U.S. Spirits Market, 2017 Edition. This will mark the 22nd consecutive annual volume gain for the spirits industry, which at year-end is estimated to stand at 228.3 million nine-liter cases.
Spirits are estimated to outperform both wine and beer for the sixth straight year in 2017.
Recent growth can be attributed to continued impressive gains from categories including Irish whiskey, Cognac, flavored spirits, Tequila, Bourbon and single malt Scotch.
Last year, E.&J. Gallo’s New Amsterdam vodka became the fastest spirit ever to reach the 5-million case mark, in just its fifth full year on the market. New Amsterdam is once again projected to achieve double-digit growth in 2017 to become the spirits industry’s fourth-largest brand by volume, behind only Smirnoff vodka, Bacardi rum and Captain Morgan rum.
Other fast-growing brands include Tito’s vodka, which is likewise expected to surpass 5 million cases this year and move into sixth place overall, just behind Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey; Hennessy Cognac, which is seeing continued strong growth from its VS variant; and Jameson Irish whiskey, which by year-end will also have achieved 22 consecutive annual volume gains, more than any other million-case brand.
Among other significant milestones, Hennessy has become the U.S. market’s number-one spirit in retail value terms, marking the first time ever that the value leader comes from a category outside whisk(e)y or white spirits. In addition, after another dynamic performance in 2017, Tito’s vodka is projected to reach the billion-dollar retail value mark by year-end, a level currently achieved by just five spirit brands, according to Impact Databank. And including its flavor variants, E.&J. brandy is expected to reach the 4-million case threshold this year for the first time ever.