Dark Spirits - US - October 2013
“Despite its recent success, the dark spirits category still faces obstacles to becoming more commonplace in consumers’ alcohol routines. Flavor innovation and new products have piqued the interest of some adults of legal drinking age, but ongoing sales are dependent on consumer loyalty, not just product trial. Manufacturers must emphasize the variety and versatility available from products and encourage consumers to feel more confident in exploring new whiskies, liqueurs, and/or Cognacs.”
– Jennifer Zegler, Beverage Analyst
This report looks at the following areas:
- What can inspire more frequent consumption of dark spirits?
- How can manufacturers increase on-premise sales of dark spirits?
- Can brandy and Cognac capitalize on rise of competitive dark spirits?
- How can the segment appeal to drinkers who are inactive in dark spirits?
The dark spirits market has come through the economic downturn with growth in both volume and dollar sales. However, its success hinges upon innovations that address the needs of the dark spirits consumer, not just following along with industry trends, such as sweet flavors.
Driving the category’s growth is the increase in consumers’ interest in whiskey. The segment’s rise has helped to increase sales not only of whiskey, but also growth in cordials and liqueurs. The segment is benefiting from brands that are inspired by or line extensions of whiskey, such as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. However, the additional interest in whiskey, cordials, and liqueurs has yet to boost the brandy and Cognac segment, which has grown from 2008-13, but not at the rates shown in the competitive segments.
For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:
Whiskey/whisky, which is inclusive of the following subsegments:
- Canadian whisky
- Straight American whiskey, including bourbon and unaged white whiskey (also known as moonshine. The report covers legally sold unaged white whiskey marketed as moonshine, not the illegally made varieties often associated with the term in various regions of the U.S.)
- Scotch whisky
- Blended American whiskey
- Irish whiskey
- Cordials and liqueurs
- Brandy and Cognac as well as Armagnac
Unlike Mintel GMN, Mintel will separately cover the U.S. spirits market as noted above. The market size presented here will differ from Mintel GMN because it is inclusive only of whiskey, brandy, Armagnac, Cognac, cordials, and liqueurs sold in off- and on-premise outlets.
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