| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 6 Sprits companies sold 3 percent
more liquor in 2012 in the United States than in 2011, fueled by
flavored drinks and a big thirst for Irish whiskey and single
malt Scotch, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.
On a revenue basis, sales rose 4.5 percent to $21.3 billion,
as higher-end spirits outshone value brands, according to the
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
Liquor companies, including Diageo, Pernod Ricard
, Beam Inc and Brown-Forman, sold 202
million 9-liter cases of spirits in 2012, an increase of 3
percent from 2011, when the industry first recovered to its
Together, the last two years marked the best back-to-back
performance for the industry since 2003/2004, said David Ozgo,
the group's economist. He declined to predict how sales will
look in 2013.
"We don't make projections, however I believe if the economy
holds up, we'll have a very, very solid year," Ozgo said.
Relative to other types of alcoholic drinks, like wine and
beer, spirits gained just 0.2 percentage point of market share,
on both a volume and value basis, the industry's lobby group
said ahead of a briefing in New York.
Flavored spirits also fueled growth, it said, noting that
over 40 percent of all products in the U.S. market have a
flavored version beyond the traditional product -- with as many
as 220 flavors, from citrus to wasabi.
Vodka, which accounts for nearly a third of all sales, had a
4 percent increase in volume last year, with "super premium"
brands up 10 percent.
The fastest-growing category was Irish whiskey, whose brands
include Jameson, Bushmills and Kilbeggan, with volume up 22.5
percent. Single malt Scotch, such as Laphroaig, Macallan and
Glenlivet, rose 13 percent.
Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey volume rose 5 percent, fueled
by new products, including flavored bourbons. Recent popularity
of bourbon has spurred interest in other American whiskeys, with
rye volume up 50 percent, though sales are still quite small.