A long with the rest of the U.S. economy, the beverage alcohol industry is growing at a healthy pace. In 1998, all segments of the industry (wine, beer and spirits) showed volume and dollar increases, according to the Adams Handbook Advance 1999.
Total retail dollars from the sale of wine, beer and distilled spirits surged 4.5% in 1998, from $103 billion in 1997, to $108 billion last year.
On-premise sales were up even more (+5.3%) to $54.8 billion. Beer increased its on-premise sales volume by 6.33% to 28.5 billion (cases +1.1%), spirits sales were up 3.37% to $19.9 billion (cases +1.1%) and wine sales increased by 7% to $6.3 billion (cases +2.2%).
Generally speaking, higher-end spirits, such as single malt Scotch, cognac and imported vodka gained. Overall, total spirits consumption increased 1.8% in 1998, reaching a total of 141.2 million 9-liter cases. Most of the growth was concentrated among non-whiskeys, though Irish whiskey (+6.5%), single malt Scotch (+ 5.1%) and straight American whiskey (+0.8%) showed increases. The top performers included tequila (+10.1%), rum (+7%) brandy cognac (+3.1%), vodka (+2.3%), prepared cocktails (+5.1%) and cordials and liqueurs (+2.3%).
Wine consumption continued to flourish, with an overall increase of 3.5% in 1998. Most impressive was the table wine category (86.7% of the U.S. wine market), which had an estimated 4.7% increase last year.
The beer industry also posted volume gains, a 0.9% increase (+23 million cases), with total U.S. beer consumption now at 2.66 billion 2.25-gallon cases. Imports had a significant rise, up 15.7% and light beers also gained ground (+3.5%).
Although identifying consumption trends is helpful, actual brand activity is what generates profits. Thus, the rationale behind Growth Brands, an annual report which uses the latest industry results to highlight those brands that have demonstrated noteworthy growth over the past few years. See the charts for each Growth Brand category for respective criteria.