The US on-trade is revealing a hollowing out effect in the spirits category

The US on-trade is revealing a 'hollowing out' effect in the spirits category

The Bourbon category is seeing the biggest "hollowing out" effect in the US on-trade as market share for both high-end and value brands grow, according to latest figures. 

"Value" Bourbon brands saw their market share rise to 16% in this year's first quarter, up from 9% across 2011. The share for "super-premium" brands in the on-trade also reached around 16% in Q1, up from 14% in 2011, tracking firm Guestmetrics said today (29 May). 

Other spirits categories are witnessing a similar trend. Sales by share of "super premium" Scotch whisky rose to 60.5% in 2013's Q1, up from 58.5% in 2011. Meanwhile, super premium Tequilas accounted for 16% of sales in the first quarter in the US on-trade. Vodka, the US' largest spirits category, also saw "super premium" and "high-end" brands gain about 1.5 points of share from 2011 to Q1 this year. 

Explaining the trend, Bill Pecoriello, GuestMetrics' CEO said: "This is likely a reflection of the impact of creative marketing for top tier brands causing trade-up, and simultaneously, a consumer base that continues to be under economic pressure causing trade-down to less expensive brands." 

On the spirits category as a whole, the premium segment has suffered as super-premium and value brands have gained share. The premium segment saw market share from 25.7% in 2011 to 23.7% in this year's first quarter, Guestmetrics said. 

Overall, the price/mix of spirits in the US on-trade was up 3.2% in Q1 compared to a 2.5% rise in last year's full-year.