By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

Figures from the latest IWSR Database 2016 suggest that premium and super-premium spirits have grown across all categories – with a 5 per cent increase in the market between 2014 and 2015. This equates to an extra 6.7 million nine-litre cases of premium and super-premium spirits.

The database figures also suggest that the total spirits market globally only increased by half a percentage point, suggesting that consumers are choosing quality over quantity.

Within the premium segment, the largest growth categories were whisk(e)y, gin, vodka, rum and tequila. Premium-and-above whisk(e)y growth in those 12 months increased by 7.3 per cent, or 3.9 million cases.

The largest growing sub-category within the premium segment is American whiskey, which grew by 8.5 per cent, or 1.6 million cases. While total Scotch whisky volumes declined globally by -0.2 per cent, the super-premium and premium Scotch whiskey sub-categories grew by 4.1 and 0.6 per cent respectively.

Australia was the fifth largest market for premium spirits growth, with an increase of 11 per cent or 176,000 cases of premium spirits within that twelve-month period. The Australian Liquor Store Association and IRi’s 2016 State of the Industry Report confirms the findings, stating that the year-on-year value growth of glass spirits (3.7 per cent) as opposed to the smaller volume growth (1.7 per cent), reflects a theme of premiumisation and the tendency of consumers to ‘drink better’.

The IWSR statistics suggest that premium sub-categories outside of sprits are also doing well, with premium still light wine seeing the second largest growth in all categories, behind American whiskey.

Giuseppe Minissale, president of LSA NSW, told TheShout that premiumisation across all categories is evident in bottle shops.

“There’s no doubt that premiumisation is well and truly active across all categories. I think it’s obvious with craft beer and with spirits. Consumers are quite happy to pay.”

Minissale added: “The average sale of wine is on the way up. Rosé is not cheap anymore and consumers are heading to the Rosé market. They’re happy to buy provincial Rosé for between $20 and $30.”

Premium spirits distributors are also seeing the increase in demand for the category. James France, director of Vanguard Luxury Brands stated that his business has seen a great increase thanks to the trend towards fine spirits.

“Our brands are growing from between 25 to over 50 per cent, and they are all super-premium.  People are increasingly appreciating the effort that goes into making a super-premium spirit and they appreciate a brand that has genuine provenance – not something contrived by someone pretending to be something they’re not.”

He added that the relatively small expense of spirits made it the type of product that consumers were happy to spend a little more money on.

“Premium spirits are an affordable luxury that can be enjoyed much more easily and affordably then splashing out on something major like a holiday or a new car.  Also, the increased availability of super-premium brands in recent years has helped grow the category too: once people try a super-premium brand and like it, then their appetite is whet for more good quality spirit within the same or a related category. This feeds growth across the entire sector.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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