Description

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US White Spirits market including US White Spirits market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the White Spirits market in the US.

Current market landscape

Trending moderation and consumer BFY aspirations have created a perhaps unexpected boost for the spirits market, including white spirits. Sales of spirits have continued to rise from 2019-21, despite the disruptions of 2020, demonstrating that the fewer-but-better trend has helped buoy the spirit market while overall alcoholic beverage consumption (beer and wine) has slowed.

After a year dampened by restrictions placed on foodservice operators, bars and the hospitality industry in 2020, spirit sales began to rebound in 2021 pointing to signs of both a slow return to out-of-home occasion coupled with increased at-home drink experimentation with spirits. Supply chain disruptions, rising prices and labor issues will continue to challenge the spirits market, operators and suppliers which may in turn extend the period of increased at-home drinking exploration.

Performance has been uneven across white spirits segments and points to shifting dynamics in the white spirits category. At more than half of the total share of volume sales (58%), vodka remains the dominant figure in the white spirits category, yet the tequila segment has been chipping away at this prominence, and at market share of rum and gin as well. Premium positioning and a fertile audience in influential Millennials and Gen Z spirit drinkers is driving tequila’s success.

Future market trends in US White Spirits

Not surprisingly, the pandemic spurred at-home cocktail creation that has lingered despite loosened restriction: 42% of white spirits drinkers now report making cocktails at home at least once a week. While premium innovation and RTDs are key to fuelling the market, perhaps the most cost-effective means for brands to keep at-home engagement elevated is also in supplying even more versatile recipes and serving suggestions through social media platforms, influencers, online retailers and subscription services innovation.

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

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the white spirits market.
  • White spirit consumption and engagement trends.
  • White spirits RTD cocktail opportunities.
  • Interest in spirit brand ethical and environmental initiatives.

Covered in this report

This report primarily focuses on the at-home consumption of white spirits though the market size includes sales of spirits on- and offpremise. While this Report touches on some on-premise alcohol trends, please see Foodservice Alcohol Trends – US, 2021 for an in-depth analysis of the on-premise alcohol market.

Brands include: Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Smirnoff, New Amsterdam Vodka, Burnett’s Vodka, Skyy, Barton’s Vodka,  Platinum 7X, Skol Vodka, McCormick Vodka, Deep Eddy, Seagram’s Vodka, Fleischmann’s Royal Vodka, UV Vodka, Aristocrat Vodka, Taaka Vodka, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s Veefeater, Bombay Original, Boodles, Broker’s Drumshanbo Gunpowder, The Botanist, Citadelle, Martin Miller’s, Plymouth Gin, Empress 1908, Pinnacle, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Malibu, Admiral Nelson, Cruzan Rum, Sailor Jerry, The Kraken, Castillo, Ron Diaz, Ronrico, Barton Rum, Don Q, Appleton, Calico Jack Rum, Parrot Bay, Jose Cuervo, Patron, 1800, Hornitos, Don Julio, Espolon, El Jimador, Sauza, Casamigos, Cazadores, Montezuma Tequila, Familia Camarena, Lunazul, Juarez, Olmeca Altos.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Mimi Bonnett, 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.

Although the pandemic dampened on-premise spirit consumption and the total market in 2020, it accelerated the growth of trends in the spirits market that will ultimately benefit white spirits brands who follow them: a love of premium spirits, creative at-home cocktails and RTD options that casualize and extend white spirits occasions.

Mimi Bonnett, Senior Director, US Food and Drink
Mimi Bonnett
Senior Director, Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • 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
    • Vodka dominates by size, but tequila drives growth
      • Figure 2: US volume sales of white spirits, by type, 2016-23
      • Figure 3: US volume sales of white spirits, by type, 2016-23
    • Impact of COVID-19 on spirits
      • Figure 4: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on spirits, 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Drinkers cutting back benefits white spirits
    • Shifting dynamics across white spirits fuelled by under 45s
      • Figure 5: White spirit consumption, by age, 2021
    • Keep the cocktail recipes coming
      • Figure 6: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, among white spirit consumers, 2021
    • Promote premium spirits with local and sustainable sourcing, eco-friendly donations
      • Figure 7: Spirit claim appeal, among white spirit consumers, 2021
    • Create more refreshing, all-natural branded RTDs, with real juice and unique flavors
      • Figure 8: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, among white spirit consumers, 2021
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Spirits outpace beer and wine growth
    • Tequila powering market growth
    • Moderation drives premium growth
    • Threat of continued disruptions still linger
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Premium, “BFY” position spirits well
      • 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

    • Vodka dominates, but tequila drives growth
      • Figure 11: US volume sales of white spirits, by type, 2016-23
      • Figure 12: US volume sales of white spirits, by type, 2016-23
      • Figure 13: US white spirit market share – volume, by type of white spirit, 2019 and 2021
  6. Market Factors

    • Drinkers cutting back benefits white spirits
      • Figure 14: Consumption of any alcoholic beverages, 1996-2021*
      • Figure 15: Mean number of drinks consumed in past seven days, among respondents who drink alcohol, 1996-2021*
    • More at-home cocktail creation, a shift extending beyond the pandemic
      • Figure 16: Monthly sales of food at home (FAH) and food away from home (FAFH), at constant 1988 dollars, January 2019-July 2021
    • New variants may drive ongoing disruptions
      • Figure 17: Coronavirus life disruption concern, any worried, 2021
    • Supply chain issues will stifle potential, for now
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Tito’s takes the white spirits leaderboard
    • Tequila growth powered by premium
    • White spirits brand tap into the RTD boom
    • Nurture cocktail creation with easy recipes, new mixers
    • Colorful and fruit-flavored spirits and innovative presentation
  8. White Spirit Brand Performance

    • Tito’s moves into leading position as top vodka brand
      • Figure 18: volume sales of vodka, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • Crafty innovation stirs gin brands
      • Figure 19: Volume sales of gin, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • Rum ripe for a premium upgrade
      • Figure 20: Volume sales of rum, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
    • Booming tequila segment spiked by premiumization, versatility
      • Figure 21: Volume sales of tequila, top 15 brands, on- and off-premise, thousand 9-liter cases, percentage change 2019-20 and 2016-20
  9. Competitive Strategies

    • White spirits brands jump on the RTD bandwagon to draw new Gen Zs and women
    • Powerhouse brewers get spirited
    • Brands nurture at-home cocktail creation with easy recipes and new mixers
    • Celebrities create aspirational brands for white spirits too
    • Eye-catching bottles and labels appeal on the shelf or home bar
  10. Market Opportunities

    • Move flavor whimsy beyond vodka
    • Communicate “health” through small batch, botanical and free-from spirits
    • Lean into consumers’ ethical and environmental aspirations
    • Low- and no-alcohol options can keep young adults connected with spirits brands
      • Figure 22: reasons for low ABV spirits purchase, by age, 2021
  11. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • White spirit consumption rises from 2020-21
    • Enthusiasm for tequila and gin increases, driving premium demand
    • Taste and versatility drive interest in spirits
    • Engage consumers with at-home cocktails even post-pandemic
    • Opportunity in local, sustainable and eco-friendly premium products
    • Growth opportunity in branded RTDs and low-alcohol spirits
  12. Trended Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

    • White spirit consumption rises from 2020-21
      • Figure 23: Alcoholic beverage consumption, NET – Any drink, 2019-21
  13. Reasons for Drinking Spirits Most Often

    • Taste and use in varied drinks drive interest in white spirits
      • Figure 24: Reasons for drinking spirits most often, 2021
    • Men have high expectations, perceptions
      • Figure 25: Reasons for drinking spirits most often, by gender, 2021
    • Under 45s have premium values
      • Figure 26: Reasons for drinking spirits most often, by age, 2021
  14. Trended White Spirit Purchase

    • Mezcal rising
      • Figure 26: Trended white spirit consumption, 2021
  15. White Spirits Drinkers

    • White spirit consumers tend to be younger, more affluent and urban
    • Room to grow engagement with women
      • Figure 27: White spirit consumption, by gender, 2021
    • Target older consumers with vodkas, younger ones with more variety
      • Figure 28: White spirit consumption, by age, 2021
    • Promote flavored spirits, innovative gins and mescals in urban centers
      • Figure 29: White spirit consumption, by area, 2021
  16. Highly Engaged Consumers

    • Highly engaged consumers drive growth in white spirits, especially tequila
      • Figure 30: Trended spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, 2018-21
    • Gin and tequila buoyed by strong interest among younger consumers
      • Figure 31: spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, by age, 2021
      • Figure 32: Trended spirit engagement, by spirit type, net: highly/extremely engaged, among consumers of each respective spirit type, by age, 2018-21
  17. Cocktail Creation Frequency

    • At-home cocktail making remains strong despite loosened restrictions
      • Figure 33: Cocktail creation frequency, among white spirit drinkers, 2021
    • Frequent at-home cocktail creators are young, urban
      • Figure 34: Cocktail creation frequency, by select demographics, 2021
  18. At-home Cocktail Attitudes

    • Fun and creativity are platforms to casualize cocktail hour
      • Figure 35: At home cocktail attitudes, among consumers who regularly make cocktails at home, among white spirit drinkers, 2021
    • Reluctant at-home cocktail creators are solid targets for RTDs
      • Figure 36: Reasons for not making cocktails at home more frequently/at all, 2021
  19. Pandemic Spirit Purchases and Behaviors

    • Pandemic drives spirits experimentation
      • Figure 37: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, among white spirit consumers, 2021
    • Gin drinkers are ripe for new experiences
      • Figure 38: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, among white spirit consumers, 2021
    • Next generation drinkers are thirsty for trial
      • Figure 39: Pandemic spirit purchases and behaviors, by age, 2021
  20. Spirit Claim Appeal

    • Local appeal and sustainable sourcing resonate as key claims
      • Figure 40: Spirit claim appeal, among white spirit consumers, 2021
    • Gin drinkers prize local, sustainable sourcing
      • Figure 41: Spirit claim appeal, among white spirit consumers, by type, 2021
    • Affluent 22-34 year olds demand ethically produced, premium spirits
      • Figure 42: Spirit claim appeal, by age and income, 2021
  21. RTD Cocktail Flavor Interest and Motivators

    • White spirit consumers show high interest in range of RTDs
      • Figure 43: RTD cocktail flavor interest, among white spirit consumers, 2021
  22. RTD Cocktail Purchase Motivators

    • White spirit consumers seek refreshing RTDs, made with real juice
      • Figure 44: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, among white spirit consumers, 2021
    • Young women stand out as key RTD consumers
      • Figure 45: RTD cocktail purchase motivators, by gender and age, 2021
  23. Low-ABV Spirit Purchases and Attitudes

    • A third already seek low-ABV spirits
      • Figure 46: Low-ABV spirit purchases, 2021
    • Young, affluent and urban drinkers driving low ABV
      • Figure 47: Low-ABV spirit purchases, by select demographics, 2021
    • Growing interest in moderation creates opportunities for low-ABV spirits
      • Figure 48: Reasons for purchasing low-ABV spirits, 2021
  24. Spirit Consumption Activities and Activities Missed During Pandemic

    • Reinforce spirits’ connection to missed experiences
      • Figure 49: Spirit consumption activities and activities missed during pandemic, 2021
  25. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

      • Figure 50: Total US retail sales and forecast of spirits, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 51: US volume sales and forecast of white spirits, 2016-23
      • Figure 52: Total US volume sales and forecast of white spirits, by segment, 2016-23
      • Figure 53: Total US volume sales of white dark spirits, market share by segment, 2019 and 2021

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