Sweet wine varietals and indulgent flavored vodkas remain popular in the wine and spirits categories, according to experts. In fact, the Moscato wine varietal has achieved between 30 and 50 percent growth in recent years, said Claire Moulin, lead analyst for Chicago-based Euromonitor International, in Beverage Industry’s March issue. Likewise, the flavored vodka segment is up 25 percent, said Bump Williams, chief executive officer and president of Stratford, Conn.-based Bump Williams Consulting, in Beverage Industry’s April issue. Within that segment, indulgent and unusual flavors are up nearly 70 percent, he added.
In the whiskey segment, flavors also are making an appearance, said Frank Coleman, senior vice president for public affairs with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), Washington, D.C., in Beverage Industry’s April issue. White whiskeys also have increased in popularity as of late, he added. Earlier this year, Deerfield, Ill.-based Beam Inc. launched Jacob’s Ghost white whiskey, which is aged slightly to impart flavor but not enough to darken the color of the liquid.
Although the vodka sub-category remains the No. 1 segment in terms of volume sales, whiskey has become so popular that it is beginning to take over as the No. 1 spirit on a dollar sales basis, according to a Bump Williams Consulting monthly wine and spirits report, which cites Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI) data. The emergence and growth of craft spirits is a major reason that whiskey is overtaking vodka in dollar sales, because most craft spirit launches are within the whiskey sub-category, Williams said in Beverage Industry’s April issue. Media such as AMC’s TV show “Mad Men” also help to popularize the whiskey sub-category, the report added.
Outside of vodka and whiskey, every other segment of the spirits category increased in the 52 weeks ending Feb. 24 compared with the prior-year period, Williams reported. Building on its past successes, the spirits category is expected to increase between 5 and 7 percent in the next five to 10 years, he forecasted.
In the wine category, varietal blends are becoming more popular and growing three times faster than the general wine market, said Jared Koerten, U.S. research analyst at Euromonitor, in Beverage Industry’s March issue. In fact, blended wines are growing in the 20-percent range every year, added Danny Brager, vice president of beverage alcohol for New York-based Nielsen.
Domestic wine sales outpaced the category in 2011, growing 5.5 percent and accounting for three-quarters of total volume, according to Chicago-based Technomic Inc.’s report, “WineTAB: 2012 Trends in Adult Beverage Report.” Imports also grew by approximately 2 percent during the same time period, it stated. Table wines continue to dominate the wine market, making up 92 percent of total wine volume, Technomic reported. White wines make up approximately 41 percent of wine production, while red wines make up 36 per-cent, and blush wines make up 10 percent, according to Santa Monica, Calif.-based IBISWorld. Of these, Chardonnay is the top-selling wine varietal in the United States, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, the market research firm reported.