2021
9
US Dark Spirits Market Report 2021
2021-11-20T03:20:59+00:00
OX1045387
3695
145414
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Report
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“The pandemic created short-term issues for the spirits market due to the reduction in on-premise expenditures but also accelerated existing trends that will ultimately benefit the spirits market in the…

US Dark Spirits Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Description

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Dark Spirits market including the behaviors, preferences, and habits of the consumer. This market report also covers the market size, market forecast, market segmentation, and industry trends for the US Dark Spirits market in 2021.

Current market landscape

Spirit sales outpace those of both beer and wine due in large part to consumers’ growing preference for premium alcoholic drinks and a rise in consumers’ engagement with spirit categories. The dark spirit market’s strong performance is attributed to the popularity of high-end and super-premium US whiskey/bourbon brands as well as the growth of major cognac brands. Volume sales of US whiskey and bourbon increased 28% from 2016 to 2020 and volume sales of the four largest cognac brands increased 43%.

The pandemic disrupted the spirits market in the short term due to the decreased on-premises sales, and supply chain disruptions continue to hamper the market’s growth potential. However, consumer behaviors adopted during the pandemic will ultimately benefit the market in the long term. The pandemic marked an increased period of at-home drink experimentation; 13% of consumers upgraded their home bar accessories, 31% made cocktails at home more often, and 25% purchased a new spirit brand.

Future market trends in the US dark spirits market

Whereas higher-end and super-premium dark spirit brands are largely thriving, sales of value-tier dark spirit brands continue to slide resulting in a lackluster performance of certain dark spirit categories. Consumers report increased engagement with spirit types, with scotch being the only spirit type to experience decreased engagement, indicating a need for scotch brands to connect with consumers, particularly younger consumers. Additionally, while dark spirits remain highly popular, the fast growing tequila market poses a strong competitive threat to dark spirit brands.

Dark spirit brands must capitalize on the pandemic-driven increase in spirit engagement by connecting with and developing experiences and new products for at home cocktail enthusiasts. Develop RTD cocktail products for consumers who want cocktails at-home without the work, and craft marketing messages that reinforce associations between spirit consumption and the activities consumers missed most during the pandemic.

Read on to discover more about the US Dark Spirits Market consumer market, read our Trending Flavors and Ingredients in Alcoholic Beverages – US – 2021 report, or take a look at our other Drinks Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the dark spirits market.
  • Dark spirit consumption and engagement trends.
  • RTD cocktail opportunities.
  • Consumer interest in spirit brand ethical and environmental claims.

Covered in this report

Whiskey Brands include: Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s, Evan Williams, Maker’s Mark, Bulleit Bourbon, Woodford Reserve SBL, Wild Turkey, Ole Smoky, Knob Creek, Gentleman Jack, Ten High, Early Times, Basil Hayden’s, Four Roses, Old Crow, Ezra Brooks, Ancient Age, Kentucky Gentleman, Heaven Hill Bourbon, Buffalo Trace, Seagram’s 7 Crown, Kessler, Kentucky Deluxe, McCormick Blend, Heaven Hill Blended Whiskey, Old Thompson, Beam’s 8 Star, Fleishmann’s Preferred, Calvert Extra, Philadelphia, Imperial, Senator Club, Potter’s Special Blended, GW, Banker’s Club, Crown Royal, Black Velvet, Canadian Club, Canadian Mist, Rich & Rare, Windsor Supreme, Seagram’s V.O., Canadian LTD, Canadian Hunter, Pendleton, Lord Calvert, MacNaughton, Northern Light, Canada House, Potter’s Crown Canadian, Revel Stoke, Johnnie Walker Black, Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker Red, Buchanan, The Glenlivet, Clan MacGregor, Chivas Regal, The Macallan, Glenfiddich, Cluny, J & B, Inver House, Famous Grouse, Old Smuggler, Scoresby, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Proper No. Twelve, Bushmills, Suntory Whisky Toki, Paddy Irish Whiskey, Nikka, Readbreast Irish Whiskey, Concannon, 2 Gingers, Hibiki Japanese Harmony, Teeling, John Power, Slane, Black Bush.

Cognac Brands include: Hennessy, E&J, Paul Masson, Remy Martin, Christian Brothers, Courvoisier, D’USSE VSOP Cognac, Korbel, Martell, Salignac, Presidente, Coronet Brandy, St. Remy, Mr. Boston Brandy, J. Bavet, Aristocrat Brandy.

Companies include: Diageo North America, Bacardi USA, Pernod Ricard USA, William Grant & Sons, Edrington, Whyte & Mackay, Ltd, Sazerac Company, Shaw-Ross International Importers, LLC, Heaven Hill Brands, Beam Suntory, Prestige Beverage Company, Proximo Spirits, Luxco/MGP, Frank-Lin Distillers Products Ltd, McCormick Distilling Company, Laird & Company.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Caleb Bryant, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The pandemic created short-term issues for the spirits market due to the reduction in on-premise expenditures but also accelerated existing trends that will ultimately benefit the spirits market in the long term. Specifically, the pandemic reinforced consumers’ preferences for higher-end spirits and contributed to increased spirit category engagement as consumers unable or unwilling to drink on-premise made their cocktails at home. Dark spirit brands benefit from strong category loyalty but brands must continue to innovate to remain relevant among consumers or risk being overshadowed by the growing tequila category. RTD cocktails represent a key growth catalyst for the entire spirits market, especially for dark spirits with strong brand equity.
Caleb Bryant, Associate Director of Food and Drink Reports
Caleb Bryant
Associate Director of Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of spirits, at current prices, 2016-26
    • US whiskey wins and cognac captivates
      • Figure 2: US volume sales of whiskey/whisky and brandy/cognac/Armagnac, by type, 2016-21
    • Impact of COVID-19 on spirits
      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on spirits, 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Spirit engagement rises but scotch faces generational issues
      • Figure 4: Trended spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, 2018-21
    • RTD formats allow for dark spirit brand expansion
      • Figure 5: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Pandemic-driven changes in drinking behaviors result in long-term benefits
      • Figure 6: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Focus on the fun of home cocktail experimentation
      • Figure 7: At home cocktail attitudes, among consumers who regularly make cocktails at home, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Promote spirit consumption during the activities consumers missed most during the pandemic
      • Figure 8: Quadrant analysis, activities missed during pandemic and spirit consumption activities, 2021
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Increased engagement and trade-up behaviors drives spirit market growth
    • US whiskey and cognac outperform other dark spirit types
    • Delta’s spread causes short-term market disruptions
    • Shifting consumer drinking habits require long-term product development strategies
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Spirits outperform the alcohol market
      • Figure 9: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of spirits, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and forecast of spirits, at current prices, 2016-26
  5. Segment Performance

    • US whiskey and cognac drive dark spirit market volume growth
      • Figure 11: US volume sales of whiskey/whisky, by type, 2016-21
      • Figure 12: US volume sales of whiskey/whisky, by type, 2016-21
      • Figure 13: Total US volume sales and forecast of brandy, cognac, and Armagnac, 2016-23
      • Figure 14: Total US volume sales and forecast of brandy, cognac, and Armagnac, 2016-23
  6. Market Factors

    • Changing consumer drinking habits benefits the spirits market
      • Figure 15: Consumption of any alcoholic beverages, 1996-2021*
      • Figure 16: Mean number of drinks consumed in past seven days, among respondents who drink alcohol, 1996-2021*
    • Delta disrupts foodservice and travel industries’ recovery
      • Figure 17: Coronavirus life disruption concern, any worried, 2021
      • Figure 18: Activity comfort level, any comfortable, 2021
    • Supply chain issues limits spirit market’s growth
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Less-but-better trend benefits premium dark spirit brands
    • RTD cocktails brings spirits into new consumption occasions
    • Growing spirit brands successfully connect with rural consumers
    • Gen Z consumers will drive the low-ABV spirit trend
    • Foodservice alcohol delivery offers new ways to connect with consumers at home
  8. Dark Spirit Brand Performance

    • Higher-end American whiskeys reap the benefits of less-but-better trend
      • Figure 19: Volume sales of straight whiskey, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • Blended whiskeys ride the dark spirit wave but faces an uncertain future
      • Figure 20: Volume sales of blended whiskey, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • Crown Royal’s success defines the Canadian whisky market
      • Figure 21: Volume sales of Canadian whisky, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • Trade war dampens single malt scotch market
      • Figure 22: Volume sales of scotch, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • 2020 was a flat year for an overall strong Irish whiskey market
      • Figure 23: Volume sales of Irish whiskey and other imported whiskeys/whiskies, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • D’USSE challenges established cognac brands
      • Figure 24: Volume sales of cognac and brandy, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
  9. Competitive Strategies

    • Brewers break into the spirit market
    • New formulations show off scotch’s casual side
    • Cognac brands connect with musicians, athletes, and entrepreneurs
    • Cognac brand highlights
    • Major spirit brands embrace the RTD format
    • Spirit brands find success targeting rural consumers
    • Marketing to rural consumers – strategies
      • Figure 25: Area demographics, by area and indexed to all, 2021
      • Figure 26: alcoholic beverage consumption among rural consumers who drink alcoholic beverages, indexed against all alcoholic beverage consumers, 2021
      • Figure 27: YouTube video, “2021 MTN DEW Outdoor Grants launches with Chase Rice’s Rendition of ‘America The Beautiful’”
      • Figure 28: Attitudes toward where they live, by area, 2021
    • Spirit companies support the struggling foodservice industry and other causes
  10. Market Opportunities

    • Gen Z consumers are interested in lower-alcohol drinking experiences
      • Figure 29: Alcoholic beverage consumption frequency, several times per week or more often, by generation, 2021
      • Figure 30: On-premise alcoholic drink interest, by alcohol consumption frequency, 2021
    • Cannabis “spirits” may become a competitive threat
      • Figure 31: Interest in cannabis drinkable formats, 2021
    • Shifting drinking preferences benefit at-home cocktails
    • Repealed alcohol delivery prohibitions opens the door for new cocktail occasions
      • Figure 32: Foodservice alcohol delivery/takeout interest, by alcohol delivery purchase frequency, 2021
  11. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Spirit engagement rises across the board with one notable exception
    • Create new products for home cocktail consumers
    • RTDs are the way to be
    • Local claims garner high appeal
    • Opportunity to highlight the return of activities consumers missed most during the pandemic
  12. Trended Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

    • Dark spirit consumption rises
      • Figure 33: Alcoholic beverage consumption, any drink, 2019-21
    • Dark spirits gain ground among middle-aged women
      • Figure 34: Alcoholic beverage consumption, dark spirits, any drink, by gender and age, 2019-21
  13. Reasons for Drinking Spirits Most Often

    • Consumers enjoy the taste and versatility of spirits
      • Figure 35: Reasons for drinking spirits most often, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Increase spirit consumption among women by promoting cocktail recipes
      • Figure 36: Reasons for drinking spirits most often, by gender, 2021
    • Create premium, BFY spirit options for younger consumers
      • Figure 37: Reasons for drinking spirits most often, by age, 2021
  14. Trended Dark Spirit Purchases

    • Cognac purchases climb
      • Figure 38: Trended dark spirit purchases, 2019-21
    • Scotch faces a generational dilemma
      • Figure 39: Change in dark spirit purchases, by age, 2020-21
    • Utilize sweeter whiskeys in RTD cocktails
      • Figure 40: dark spirit purchases, by age and gender, 2021
    • Create American whiskeys that appeal to the tastes and preferences of Black consumers
      • Figure 41: dark spirit purchases, by race ethnicity, 2021
  15. Trended Spirit Engagement

    • Tequila trends while scotch sags
      • Figure 42: Trended spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, 2018-21
    • Young consumers’ interest in gin and tequila represents a threat to dark spirits
      • Figure 43: spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, by age, 2021
      • Figure 44: Trended spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, by age, 2018-21
  16. Cocktail Creation Frequency

    • Pandemic spurs at-home cocktail creation
      • Figure 45: Cocktail creation frequency, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
      • Figure 46: Cocktail Creation frequency, by select demographics, 2021
  17. Reasons for Not Making Cocktails at Home

    • Provide consumers simple cocktail solutions
      • Figure 47: Reasons for not making cocktails at home more frequently/at all, 2021
  18. At-home Cocktail Attitudes

    • The cocktail creation process is almost as important as the drink itself
      • Figure 48: At-home cocktail attitudes, among consumers who regularly make cocktails at home, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
      • Figure 49: At-home cocktail attitudes, among consumers who regularly make cocktails at home, by cocktail creation frequency, 2021
    • Younger women are experimental home bartenders
      • Figure 50: At-home cocktail attitudes, among consumers who regularly make cocktails at home, by gender and age, 2021
    • Promote easy-to-create rum-based cocktails
      • Figure 51: At-home cocktail attitudes, among consumers who regularly make cocktails at home, by dark spirit purchases, 2021
  19. Pandemic Spirit Purchases and Behaviors

    • Pandemic results in increased home drink experimentation
      • Figure 52: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Create mixers for a new generation of spirit consumers
      • Figure 53: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, by age, 2021
    • Strengthen rum’s connection to cocktail culture
      • Figure 54: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, by dark spirit purchases, 2021
  20. Spirit Claim Appeal

    • Spirit brands can think locally
      • Figure 55: Spirit claim appeal, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Higher-income consumers will pay a premium for an ethically produced spirit
      • Figure 56: Spirit claim appeal, by age and income, 2021
    • Highly engaged cocktail consumers are sustainably minded
      • Figure 57: Spirit claim appeal, by cocktail creation frequency, 2021
  21. RTD Cocktail Flavor Interest

    • Take consumers on a flavor vacation
      • Figure 58: RTD cocktail flavor interest, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
  22. RTD Cocktail Purchase Motivators

    • Leverage brand equity when launching RTD cocktails
      • Figure 59: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, among dark spirit consumers, 2021
    • Shed previous perceptions of RTD cocktails thru low-sugar innovation
      • Figure 60: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, by gender and age, 2021
    • Create RTD cocktails for cognac/brandy and rum consumers
      • Figure 61: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, by dark spirit purchases, 2021
  23. Low-ABV Spirit Purchases and Attitudes

    • Low-ABV spirits trend among young affluent consumers
      • Figure 62: Low-ABV spirit purchases, 2021
      • Figure 63: Low-ABV spirit purchases, by select demographics, 2021
    • Growing interest in moderation creates opportunities for low-ABV spirits
      • Figure 64: Reasons for purchasing low-ABV spirits, 2021
  24. Spirit Consumption Activities and Activities Missed During Pandemic

    • Reinforce spirits’ connection to missed experiences
      • Figure 65: Spirit consumption activities and activities missed during pandemic, 2021
    • Spirits and missed occasions opportunities
      • Figure 66: Quadrant analysis, activities missed during pandemic and spirit consumption activities, 2021
    • Activity-based marketing messages help spirit brands connect with specific consumer groups
      • Figure 67: Top 5 Spirit consumption activities and activities missed during pandemic, by age, index against all consumers 2021
  25. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  26. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 68: Total US retail sales and forecast of spirits, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 69: US volume sales and forecast of spirits, 2016-23
      • Figure 70: Total US volume sales and forecast of dark spirits, by segment, 2016-23
      • Figure 71: Total US volume sales of dark spirits, market share by segment, 2019 and 2021

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