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American rye whiskey sales leap 600% in five years - figures

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Rye has shown the highest growth rate among American whiskies, according to figures released this week, thanks to increased consumer interest in classic cocktails and "authenticity".

Sales of rye whiskey have risen by more than 600% over five years

Sales of rye whiskey have risen by more than 600% over five years

Supplier sales of rye have risen from US$15m in 2009, to $106m in 2014, according to figures released by trade organisation the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) at its industry briefing in New York yesterday. Volumes for 2015 were also up, by 19.5% to 671,000 cases -  Bourbon and Tennessee whiskies collectively increased volumes in the same period by 5.9% to 17.4m cases.

Rye also attracted the highest average sales-per-case value among American whiskies in 2015, at $192, compared to Bourbon/Tennessee at $144, according to the trade association. 

Overall volumes of American whiskey grew 5.2% - around 1m cases -  to 20.4m cases. Growth was broken down into flavoured products (445,000 cases) and traditional products (565,000). In price segment terms, the highest percentage of growth came from super-premium expressions - up 25.2% in 2015. DISCUS defines super premium as $30+ at retail. 

American whiskey's popularity has also impacted the farming industry. Corn used in spirits production between 2010 and 2014 increased by 176%, while rye for spirits was up 64%, according to information from the US Department of Treasury's Tax and Trade Bureau. Estimates suggest rye increased by another 60% in 2015.

DISCUS president & CEO Kraig Naasz said: "Against the backdrop of an otherwise-sluggish farm economy, it's positive to note that American whiskey sales are benefiting America's farmers and the agricultural sector."

The trade organisation said the growth of American whiskey was being fuelled by the trend for classic cocktails, Millennials in search of flavour and authenticity, and consumers around the world "acquiring a taste for American whiskey". 

Click here for ten things you need to know about spirits in the US


Sectors: Spirits

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