In recent years, white spirits have dominated Bev-Al sales in the U.S., but now brown spirits — led by whiskey — appear to be making a comeback.
According to Nielsen, U.S. sales growth for whiskey and brown spirits is outperforming the growth rate of the overall spirits category in 2008.
Whiskey growth rates have been rising steadily this year, with whiskey dollar sales increasing nearly $85 million or 4.4% in 2008 — up from 2.3% a year ago. At the same time, whiskey volume, while declining a year ago, is now showing growth.
In comparison, dollar sales growth for all spirits has largely remained unchanged.
The brown resurgence is being led by Bourbons, which doubled their dollar growth rate from a year ago. Gains from the Canadian Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, and Irish Whiskey segments have also boosted sales of brown spirits.
Despite the struggling economy, ultra-premium products, with an average price of approximately $45 per bottle, continue to record the strongest growth rates among brown spirits.
Outside the U.S., whiskey sales are also trending upward, with 12 other countries, including Venezuela, Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, Turkey, and Bulgaria, recording double digit growth.
Brown spirits include all whiskeys: Bourbon/Straight, Blends, Canadian, Scotch, Irish, etc., as well as Cognac/Brandy. White spirits include Vodka, Gin, Tequila and Rum, even if such categories might include aged — and hence brown — variants.
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