GLOBAL: Consumption Of Alcoholic Drinks Declines For The First Time In A Decade

Global alcoholic drinks volumes declined in 2015, the first time they have entered negative territory in more than a decade.  According to new research by Euromonitor International, volumes were down 0.7% year-on-year in 2015, equivalent to 1.7 billion litres.

Euromonitor said the result was due to the influence of macro headwinds hitting China, which recorded a 3.5% decline. Brazil and Eastern Europe showed further weaknesses, falling 2.5% and 4.9%, respectively.  Western Europe and Australasia were flat, but North America’s 2.3% growth offered some cheer as the global landscape remained affected by currency volatility and commodity price fluctuations.

Spiros Malandrakis, Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst, commented: “While terms such as authenticity and craftsmanship are losing traction, the trajectories of sophistication, moderation, perceived exotic credentials, accessibility and restrained yet grounded aspirational attributes remain the key driving forces fuelling pockets of buoyancy.”

He added: “Premium English gin, Irish and Japanese whiskey, dark and non-alcoholic beer are the flag bearers of growth and it is no coincidence that those also happen to be the segments gaining further momentum with the ever important millennial demographic in mature western markets.”

In other categories, tequila and bourbon remained solid, while cognac bounced back strongly. Cider performed well but has softened as Americans move to hard soda drinks. Rum and vodka find themselves amongst the worst performers, while still light white and red wine varietals join sparkling wines back to a healthy levels.

“While initial forecasts suggest a gradual recovery from 2016, performance will remain substandard compared to historical trajectories. It is not the industry’s vision that is impaired but rather the horizon that can be treacherous.” Malandrakis concludes.