First Look at US Beverage Alcohol in 2022

The first look at the US Beverage Alcohol market using bw166’s proprietary methodology shows that the Beverage Alcohol Servings Index dropped from 127.37 to 127.20. Total servings of Beverage Alcohol (generally 12 ounces of Beer, 5 ounces of Wine, and 1 ½ ounces of Spirits) entering the market fell by -0.13% in 2022. Generally, the index has averaged growth of 1.2% a year over the past two decades. In 2021 the growth was +3.3%, attributable to market disruption caused by the pandemic and supply chain issues.

Servings in relation to the Legal Drinking Age population are measured by Serving Index per LDA, which dropped from 103.7 in 2021 to 102.6. Effectively the number of servings entering the market per LDA dropped by -1.1%. The Servings Index per LDA has averaged 102.7 over the past twenty years, so the index has returned to the norm.

Three key factors have disrupted the Beverage Alcohol market since 2019. The first was tariffs on certain wine and Spirits products from Europe, which dropped imports of the impacted products. The second was the pandemic which caused significant channel shifts from the On-Premise to the Off-Premise and subsequent shifts that benefitted major brands in key retailers. The third impact was supply chain disruptions that altered normal ordering patterns in the market.

The bw166 analytics rely on tax-paid shipment data and customs data to track the total US Beverage Alcohol market by volume. These sources provide a view of 100% of the market, unlike other data sources, which only provide a view of a portion of the market that cannot be extrapolated to the total market. Historically over many decades, these trends have tracked other measures of consumption by +/- 0.5%. Over the past three years, the discrepancy has increased to an estimate of +/- 1.5%, driven by the factors mentioned above.

Beer entering distribution declined -2.5% to 204 million barrels, driven by domestic declines offset by import growth. Another factor driving the Beer market was the change in the Hard Seltzer market. Consumer spending on Beer increased to $135 Billion, +6.5%, driven by a channel shift back to the On-Premise.

Spirits entering distribution increased +7.0% to 289 million 9L cases, driven by imports, RTDs, Tequila, and domestic Whisky. The growth of these categories was offset by declines in Vodka and Rum. Consumer spending on Spirits increased to $101 Billion, +13.0%, driven by a channel shift back to the On-Premise. The Spirits volumes include Spirits-based RTDs but not malt-based beverages with Spirits branding.

Wine entering distribution declined -3.8% to 453 million 9L cases, driven by declines in flavored wine beverages that were competing with hard seltzers and Vermouth, which saw an increase during the pandemic by home mixologists. Traditional still wines were up +0.7%, and Sparkling Wines were up +3.5%. Consumer spending on Wine increased to $84 Billion, +4.5%, driven by a channel shift back to the On-Premise.

The Beverage Alcohol industry tends to assess performance based on trends versus the prior year. Our view of the market is that overall trends were almost back to normal by the month of October 2021. By this date, many of the tariff issues, channel shift issues, and supply chain disruptions had normalized. The meaning of this is that rolling twelve-month comparisons should give a true comparison for twelve months ending September 2023. Until then, there will continue to be noise in the data from these three major disruptions.

Sourcing and Updates of the bw166 methodology:

The bw166 analysis relies on TTB and state beverage alcohol tax data, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Customs import data, Census Bureau Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Financial reports of public companies, Syndicated data such as retail scan data, and constant monitoring of industry news and reports.

For the calculation of Servings, Beer is estimated at 12 ounces per serving. Spirits have been updated to use 1 ½ ounces for most Spirits products, 3 ounces for cordials, and 6 ounces for RTDs. Wine has used 5 ounces per serving except for Flavored Wine beverages, which use 12 ounces per serving.

The reports have expanded the use of State tax data. With this expanded data, the December TBA Overview includes a 5-year retrospective of state-level Beer, Spirits, and Wine information from 2017 to 2021.