US spirits are benefiting from beers struggles

US spirits are benefiting from beer's struggles

US spirits are set to steal volumes from a struggling beer category this year, an analyst has predicted. 

Spirits can expect volumes to increase by 1.5% over 2013 compared to 3% growth last year, Bernstein's Trevor Stirling said in a note this week. Beer, which last year posted volumes growth in the US for the first time since 2008, will decline again in 2013, this time by 1.7%, Stirling said.

“We expect spirits to continue to benefit from increased share of throat at the expense of beer,” Stirling said.

However, the analyst added that US spirits volumes are weakening, with rolling three-month volumes to July remaining flat. But strong pricing and mix will lead to a 4.5% growth in value at the end of the year.

Beer in the US has been hit by rising unemployment among its core demographic of young males, as well as high fuel prices and weak consumer confidence.

Stirling also said a slowdown in Nigeria's alcohol market appears to be easing. A government cut of oil subsidies had hit spending but the effect “finally appears to be wearing off”, Stirling said.