Economic woes in the US have begun to erode growth on the country's spirits market, hitting volumes at Pernod Ricard and Diageo, new figures show.

Spirits shipments fell by 5.4% in November, compared to the same period last year, according to data from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

The slip means that spirits market growth for the last three months of 2008 was 2.7%, said Analyst group Bernstein in a note today (12 January). Annual growth rate was 3.2%, it said, roughly matching expectations.

Both Diageo and Pernod Ricard have lost ground as the impact of the US financial crisis spills over into the consumer goods sector.
Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling told just-drinks: "Six months ago it looked as if Diageo was immune to recession, now we are starting to see an impact."

He said that a number of Diageo's "affordable" premium brands, such as Smirnoff and Crown Royal, have suffered slowdowns, with the drinks giant's annual growth 1% below the spirits market average. 

Pernod Ricard volumes were declining 1.3% on annual basis, despite good performances from Jameson whiskey and higher end expressions of Martell Cognac, Bernstein said.