Distilled Spirits and Wine Consumption Continue to Climb; Craft and Import Beer Thrive

As the economy continues to improve, beverage alcohol sales are also on the rise. But not all categories are feeling relief. According to the Beverage Information Group’s Handbook Advance 2012, spirits and wine persisted in taking share away from the beer category in 2011, the only category to post a loss for the second year in a row.

Overall beer consumption fell by 1.5% last year and totaled 2.78 billion 2.25-gallon cases. However all is not bleak for the beer category. Craft and the higher-priced import segments grew as consumers traded up. But the rise in the craft and import beer could not offset the losses that occurred in the other beer segments.

Distilled spirits registered positive gains with over half of the segments showing improvements. Spirits reached 197.1 million cases, growing 2.6%. This is a result of increased sales in the premium/ultra-premium price segments. Vodka increased by 6% and now represents one-third of all spirits consumed in the U.S. Rum, the second largest category, rose 1.3% to 25.88 million 9-liter cases.

Wine also saw a trend toward higher-end consumption. The wine category grew 2.5% in 2011 to 310.7 million 9-liter cases, marking its 18th year of volume increases. Table wine continued positive sales, with domestic brands out-performing imports. The vermouth and the dessert/fortified wine segments both posted declines, mainly because they are sold most heavily on-premise, which has been soft in recent years.

“Following years of negative trends, on-premise consumption progressed at a slower decline in 2011,” says Adam Rogers, Senior Research Analyst for the Beverage Information Group, based in Norwalk, Conn. “The improving economy, as well as product innovation, is responsible for this.”

The Handbook Advance 2012 is $925; handbook with CD is $1,125. Shipping and handling is $15 for U.S. orders, $25 for all other orders. The publications can be purchased at www.bevinfostore.com or by calling Cynthia Porter at (630) 762-8709.

About the Beverage Information Group

The Beverage Information Group, a division of M2MEDIA360, serves all segments of the beverage alcohol industry through Cheers, Beverage Dynamics and StateWays magazines, Handbooks, Beverage Research and www.bevinfogroup.com.