Alongside our daily news coverage, features and interviews, the Just Drinks news team sifts through the week’s most intriguing data sets to bring you a roundup of the week in numbers.

This week, we took a look at projections for spirits in the US as RTDs look set for an almighty boom, analysed beer spend in Japan as the country drafted its first alcohol-consumption guidelines and looked into the UK’s ale market as Carlsberg’s local arm decided to shutter another brewery.

Beer spend on the up in Japan

While on a three-year downward trend, Japan’s alcohol spend is set for a boost in the next five years, led by beer.

Analysts from GlobalData, Just Drinks’ parent company, said they were “optimistic” about the growth potential of beer and cider, forecasting a $12.44bn rise in market value between 2023 and 2027 to $42.23bn.

GlobalData said its positive outlook was fuelled by “strong” projections from major breweries such as Asahi, boosted by Japan’s beer tax cut in October.

Arvind Kaila, GlobalData beverages practice head, added: “Craft beer is getting more popular and more breweries have opened and joined competition, which contributes significant growth to beer value.

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By GlobalData

“Standard beer consumption is expected to benefit from the new liquor tax revision which took effect in October 2023, where Japan lowered the tax on standard beer from 70 yen ($0.48) to 63.35 yen per 350 millilitres.     

“Beer consumption is also expected to grow from the increasing number of inbound visitor and travelling activities, which is expected to continue during the forecast.”

It comes as this week Japan’s health ministry released a draft of its first alcohol-consumption guidelines.

In its ‘healthy-drinking’ guidelines, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recommended a daily pure-alcohol intake limit of 40g for men and 20g for women.

RTDs to take over US spirits market

The US spirits market is set for a shakeup in the years to 2027, data predicts.

In its report, United States Spirits – Market Assessment and Forecasts to 2027, released today, GloblaData analysts predicted “flavoured alcoholic beverages” would outpace vodka and whisk(e)y to become the US’s most valuable category by 2027.

Worth $11.2bn in 2017, flavoured alcoholic beverages* could reach a category value of $52.5bn by 2027, outpacing whisk(e)y by $11.1bn and vodka by $31.2bn. Vodka is set to remain flat, dropping from the US’s second-largest spirits category in 2017 to third in 2027.

Tequila and mezcal are also set for a decent boost in the next five years, rising from a category value of $6.9bn in 2017 to a predicted $16.7bn by 2027. Non-alcoholic spirits are set for a slow-but-steady rise, albeit from a small base point.

*GlobalData defines “flavoured alcoholic beverages” as “low-alcohol spirit mixes, often vodka- or rum-based”. In the US, these products are often made with malt-derived alcohol, but the research company says its definition also includes “fruit-based drinks and pre-mixed versions of classic cocktails, wine coolers and Japanese Chu-Hi products (based on shochu)”. 

Portuguese produce more wine than ever

Portugal’s wine production is set to reach its highest level in more than a decade, government data this week revealed.

The country is forecast to make 7.3m hectolitres of wine this year, a report from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística of Portugal said.

Output is up in all regions, except in the districts of Setúbal, Beja and Faro, the government statistics office reported.

By contrast, Portugal produced 6.6m hectolitres in 2022, compared to 7.1m hectolitres a year earlier, the data showed.

A report published in April by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported the country’s wine production at 6.8m hectolitres, which, by its calculations, saw the nation sit tenth globally for the volume of wine produced in 2022.

UK ale market to beat pre-pandemic levels by 2025

Sales of ale in the UK are set to grow steadily over the next five years, beating pre-pandemic levels by 2025.

By 2027, the market could be worth an estimated $5.2bn, according to Globaldata.

It comes as this week Carlsberg’s UK arm decided to shutter another UK brewery after failing to find a buyer.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) put Ringwood Brewery in southern England up for sale in June alongside ale brands including Razorback, Old Thumper, Boondoggle and Fortyniner.

In September, the brewer said it would close its Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire, pointing to a competitive ale market and a “turbulent economic outlook” in the UK.

In May, CMBC sold its already closed London Fields Brewery and taproom to London pub operator Grace Land Group.

Last year, the venture sold Eagle Brewery to S.A. Damm, a deal that gave the Spanish group its first brewery in the UK.

CMBC also announced the winding down and closure of Jennings Brewery in September last year. The Lake District facility in north-west England had been operating at below capacity and the group said it had seen a “significant decline in volumes” in recent years.