Global travel retail sales of wines and spirits grew by 7% in 2011, according to a recently-published just-drinks/IWSR report, boosted by increased passenger traffic from countries such as Russia and China.

Sales of wines and spirits in the channel hit 27.5m nine-litre cases, the report says. Spirits volumes rose by 10% to 20m cases, while wine volumes were flat.

The report, entitled 'Global Market Review of the Travel Retail Drinks Sector', found that growth was strongest in the Asia Pacific region, which saw volumes increase by 11.8% to 5.1m cases. The Americas also returned strong growth, with volumes up by 10.6% at 5.3m cases. Even in Europe, travel retail's largest regional market, volumes grew by 4.2% to 14.9m cases. Sales in the Middle East and Africa, meanwhile, rose by 7.7% to 2.1m cases.

Within the brown spirits category, the largest segment in travel retail comprising whisk(e)y, gold Tequila, dark rum, flavoured rum, brandy and Cognac, it is the higher qualities that are growing fastest. The report states that super-premium brown spirits posted the sharpest volume increase, rising by 19.2% in 2011. Ultra-premium increased by 14.8% and prestige by 34.6%.

Scotch whisky remains the largest single spirits category in travel retail, with volumes now standing at 6.3m cases out of the 11.6m cases for brown spirits overall. The Scotch category has continued to register sustained growth, according to IWSR, achieving a 4.4% compound annual growth rate between 2006 and 2011.  

Malt whisky, both blended and single, has experienced "dynamic" growth over the last decade, the report continues, and in 2011 passed the 1m-case mark, with volumes rising by 14% to 1.08m cases.

A notable milestone was also reached for Irish whiskey in travel retail which surpassed the 0.5m-case mark for the first time in 2011, following a year-on-year rise of 18.5%.

For full details of the report, click here.