Robust growth is set to continue in the years ahead for the vast and multi-faceted international whisky category, with US, Irish and Indian whiskies in particular poised to benefit.
According to the Global International Whisky Insights 2018 report from just-drinks and The IWSR, published today, worldwide sales of non-Scotch whisky rose 2.3% in 2017 to reach almost 315m cases. The lift came despite a slight fall in Indian whisky volumes to 189.3m cases.
The prospects for further growth in the next five years remain bright, with US, Irish and Japanese whisky all having excellent potential in both established and emerging markets. Restricted supply is likely to be the only constraint on growth.
“In 1970, the North American whiskey market was 80m cases, and most of that was derived from the US alone,” the report says. “Given the interim growth in the population of the US and the world, per-capita consumption in the US especially is still well short of historic levels.”
Irish whiskey, spearheaded by Pernod Ricard’s Jameson brand, has now become a global category, selling almost 10m cases a year and exploring emerging markets in Latin America, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Premium-plus Japanese whisky, meanwhile, has become increasingly sought-after in international markets, but has become a victim of its own success, with a number of age-stated products withdrawn from sale because of severe shortages.
A challenging 2017 saw Indian whisky volumes fall slightly, but growth for leading brands such as Officer’s Choice and McDowell’s No 1 looks assured in the years ahead.