Consumers in the United States are opting to spend more on their drinks in bars and restaurants as premiumization drives the recovery of the on-premise channel after COVID-19.  

A trend that was paused during the pandemic now is accelerating again, CGA’s exclusive On Premise Measurement (OPM) service shows. The premium price tier of the spirits market took a 40% share of sales by value in February 2022, while super-premium took 18%. The ultra-premium segment had a 4% dollar share, having grown sales by 180% year-on-year. It means that the three premium categories now account for 62 cents in every dollar spent on spirits. 

The shift toward premium is creating challenges for some spirit brands in the mid-price tier, which saw its share trimmed to 23% in February, from 25% in the same month in 2021. The following are other CGA insights within specific spirits categories: 

    Half (50%) of gin sales now come from the premium price tier. Premium and super-premium segments have grown their sales by 137% and 167% respectively year-on-year.

    Super-premium tequila’s share of total sales has jumped from 28% to 32% in a year, while the mid-price tier’s share has gone the other way — from 32% to 28%. 

 •    Vodka’s premium price tier has increased its share from 42% to 44%. 

 •    Whiskey’s super-premium and ultra-premium sales have grown by 163% and 165% respectively over the last year. 

There have been more notable moves toward premiumization in other categories, including brandy and rum, which have traditionally been dominated by the mid-price category.  

Patrick Bannon, CGA client director for Americas, stated: “Celebration and treat occasions are crucial to the U.S. On Premise, and the data suggests that more and more consumers are looking for more premium offerings after two years of disruption from COVID-19. However, mid-priced brands still have a big role to play too, and beverage suppliers and operators that can respond to ever-changing tastes and preferences with the optimal spirits assortment will have a significant competitive advantage.  

“CGA will be keeping a finger on the pulse through its OPM read and other capabilities, including our proprietary Assortment Optimization Tool, which can determine the optimal brand assortment by category and price tier for specific outlet types; and watching how long and how far this trend develops in 2022,” he continued.