The End of the Boom? Bourbon, Ryes and Other US Whiskies

November 2020

Coronavirus may have caused a disruption to the growth patterns of bourbons, ryes and other US whiskies, but strong domestic demand should help consumption growth to bounce back quickly. International growth will be more of a challenge, as trade wars and the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) disrupt efforts to bring American whiskies into new markets even as a wave of exciting innovations sweeps the category.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

The bourbon boom has been brought to a halt by COVID-19. Bourbons, along with other US whiskies, are seeing declining consumption both at home and abroad as the result of the disruptions of the pandemic. This trouble should be relatively temporary thanks to strong underlying growth drivers, especially within the US itself.

Domestic consumption should recoverfairly quickly. US whiskies have performed exceptionally well among spiritsduring the pandemic and should be among the first categories to return to 2019levels. Recovery abroad will be slower, weighed down by trade wars and theeconomic after effects of the pandemic.

Premiumisation trends have been disrupted by the pandemic but have not gone away. Higher-end variants such as bottled in bond products have seen strong demand even during the pandemic. The real pressure is on the middle price tiers as premiumisation moves some consumers up while others, with tightening incomes, trade down.

Key findings
US whiskies finish up a decade of strong and consistent growth
Global growth prospects are dimming between disease and tariffs
Bourbon has been dragged unwillingly into a series of trade wars
A new round of EU tariffs would hit harder than the first
Growth is now on hold in many key developing markets
Key US whiskies trends within the US
In the US, domestic whiskies perform strongly during the pandemic
COVID-19 turned premiumisation into mid-tier erosion
The rye revival continues
Craft whiskies fight to survive during COVID-19
Traditional geographic distinctions are breaking down
American single malt: strangled in the cradle?
Trends in premiumisation: part 1
Trends in premiumisation: part 2
The road back from COVID-19: the next few years

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks is the aggregation of beer, wine, spirits, cider/perry and RTDs.

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