Spirits Sector Surpasses Beer in Market Share and Sales for First Time

In 2022, the U.S. spirits sector achieved record market share and sales, with supplier revenues surpassing beer for the first time.[0] According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), spirits accounted for 42.1% of the total beverage alcohol market, while beer held a 41.9% share.[1] This marks the 13th consecutive year of market share gains for the spirits sector.

At the DISCUS annual economic briefing, CEO Chris Swonger reported that spirits supplier sales in the U.S. increased 5.1% in 2022, reaching a total of $37.6 billion.[0] Volumes also rose 4.8% to 305 million 9-liter cases.[0] Tequila and mezcal sales were up 17.2% or $886 million, totaling $6.0 billion, while American whiskey sales rose 10.5% or $483 million, totaling $5.1 billion.[0] Blended whiskey sales were up 6.8% or $60 million to $940 million.

Christine LoCascio, DISCUS chief of public policy & strategy, noted that more than 60% of the spirits sector’s total revenue derived from sales of high-end and super-premium spirits.[0] “While many consumers are feeling the pinch from inflation and reduced disposable income, they are still willing to purchase that special bottle of spirits choosing to sip a little luxury and drink better, not more,” she said.[2]

Swonger highlighted the market share gains, stating that “ Year after year, the spirits sector has slowly gained market share by staying focused on our consumers, delivering innovative, high-end products, and advocating to level the playing field for spirits, beer and wine products in the marketplace and legislative arena. As DISCUS celebrates its 50th anniversary, spirits taking the lead in revenue share represents an historic milestone for all leaders in the spirits industry, past and present, to toast.”[1]

He also noted that the solid growth in the spirits sector has helped buoy the entire hospitality industry, from small distilleries to restaurants, bars and hotels.[3] The top 5 spirits categories by revenue are tequila/mezcal, American whiskey, brandy & cognac, cordials, and premixed cocktails including spirits RTDs.

0. “US spirits reach record sales in 2022, boosting ‘fragile’ hospitality industry” Fox Business, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/us-spirits-reach-record-market-share-sales-2022

1. “Booze just topped beer in sales volume for the first time ever, partly thanks to bourbon and tequila” Morningstar, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.morningstar.com/news/marketwatch/20230209448/booze-just-topped-beer-in-sales-volume-for-the-first-time-ever-partly-thanks-to-bourbon-and-tequila

2. “DISCUS: Spirits Sales Reach Record Share” Beverage Dynamics, 9 Feb. 2023, https://beveragedynamics.com/2023/02/09/discus-spirits-sales-2022-whiskey-tequila-rtds/

3. “Distilled Spirits Council Annual Economic Briefing: Reaching Historic Milestone, U.S. Spirits Revenues Take Share …” Business Wire, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230209005169/en/Distilled-Spirits-Council-Annual-Economic-Briefing-Reaching-Historic-Milestone-U.S.-Spirits-Revenues-Take-Share-Lead-of-Total-U.S.-Beverage-Alcohol-Market-in-2022