The whisk(e)y category continues to perform strongly for EU producers globally

The whisk(e)y category continues to perform strongly for EU producers globally

Earlier today (9 April), trade group Spirits Europe released figures showing the performance of European-produced spirits outside the European Union. Exports have nearly doubled to a record EUR10.2bn (US$13.3bn) since 2004. Here, just-drinks takes a more in-depth look at the figures:


EU spirits were sold in 200 markets around the world last year. 

  • The US remains the biggest market for sales, up 22% to EUR3.3bn in 2012
  • Russia saw the biggest year-on-year increase, with imports up 37% 
  • Japan dropped out of the top ten after a 12% fall in EU imports, representing a 55% drop in the last decade
  • Singapore is the biggest importer in Asia of EU spirits, due to being a supply hub for the South Asia region. Sales were up 23% to EUR1.05bn
  • The Philippines and Malaysia are leading the way in EU imports, aside from Singapore. Thailand remains “structurally challenging”
  • China saw a 19% rise in EU imports, to EUR587m. It is the fourth biggest importer of European spirits, globally
  • Venezuela (38%) and Brazil (36%) are the biggest South American markets for EU producers


  • Whisk(e)y exports outside the EU continue to lead the way, representing 44% of total sales. In 2012, sales hit around EUR4.5bn. Volumes have risen around 20% in the last ten years
  • Cognac is second, accounting for 26% of sales
  • Vodka has been the star performer in the last decade with sales increasing by around 50% outside the EU. The category represents 12% of sales for EU producers
  • Liqueurs represented 10% of sales in 2012