Vodka is no longer the preferred drink; gin or tequila have taken over. Bubbles are preferred over still wine, which is still more sought after than beer and cider. In general, though, spirits are no longer the stars on global markets. These are the trends that emerged from the IWSR – International Wine & Spirits Research (www.theiwsr.com, the leading source of data and analysis on the alcohol market) 2016 data, which reported alcohol consumption is falling at an increasingly fast rate. In 2016, global alcohol trade fell 1.3%, against an average rate of minus 0.3% in the previous five years.
The reasons for the accelerated downward trend include a faster decline in beer, a reversal of cider trends and a slowdown in growth of mixed drinks. The market trend for wine, though, is in line with the previous five years; i.e., a steady decline of 0.1%. Bubbles are growing steadily by 1.8% and still wine is falling by 0. 5%.
The beer market went down 1.8% (against a 0.6% drop in the previous five years). The global trend is a reflection of three of the major markets: China, Brazil and Russia, which recorded a sharper decline than previous years, respectively less 4.2%, less 5.3% and less 7.8 % in 2016. Cider has fallen 1.5% after years of solid growth. The markets responsible for this trend reversal were South Africa, which decreased after a period of growth, but especially the United States, where volumes fell 15.2% after years of two-digit growth.
The global spirits market grew 0.3%, but there are two opposite tendencies. Vodka trade has drawn down the overall performance of spirits, decreasing 4.3% (in 2016 also). The numbers are positive for gin (+ 3.7%), tequila (+ 5.2%) and whiskey (+ 1.7%). Vodka’s negative trend is largely due to high volume losses in Russia (less 9.3%), which is still, though, the world’s largest market. The main markets where spirits sales grew last year were China, the United States and Mexico.
IWSR however, predicts an increase in consumption on the worldwide alcohol market of 0,8% by 2021. Whiskey will be one of the main growth factors, as volumes should grow to 650 million liters by 2021. Mixed drink consumption should increase to over 400 million liters over the next five years, while sparkling wines could add more than 220 million liters to its current consumption. It is estimated that beer will register high growth in many Asian and Sub-Saharan Africa markets.