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Wine growth outpaced spirits and beer in the US last year as consumers increasingly viewed it as a drink for all occasions, according to recently-released research.

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Wine volumes the country last year grew by 4.6% to 329.2m nine-litre cases, according to Technomic's 2012 WineTAB report, released yesterday (5 September). The report predicted another industry-leading year this year.

Spirits volumes in the US grew by 3.5% in 2011, according to a Technomic report in May. Figures to be released next week show beer decreased by 1.3%, Technomic told just-drinks.

Wine's growth was driven by trends that emerged in the US despite economic uncertainty, Technomic said.

"Consumers now see wine as an accessible beverage suitable for all occasions, and the media is shining a positive spotlight on the category,” said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director with Technomic's Adult Beverage Resource Group. “In addition, millennials are embracing and exploring wine. Finally, the level of product innovation from winemakers and marketers is helping drive consumer interest.”

Table wine made up 92% of total wine volume in 2011 and 89% of sales, the report said. Table and sparkling wine achieved volume growth in 2011 while vermouth and fortified wine declined.

Domestic wine accounted for three-quarters of total volumes, while Italy took 33.2% of imports, overtaking Australia as the largest exporter of table wine to the US.

"Domestic wine expanded as consumers seeking value discovered quality wines at affordable prices from US producers," Crecca said.

Domestic labels took up 63.5% of the sparkling category.

Chardonnay remained the most popular table wine varietal and the leading white wine varietal, with White Zinfandel second. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot remained the leading red table wine varietals. Moscato gained share, driven by younger adult consumers, Technomic said.

E&J Gallo remained the largest wine supplier, with 24% of the market.

Last month, a report from the Beverage Information Group said wine consumption in the US grew by 3% last year.


Sectors: Beer & cider, Spirits, Wine

Companies: E&J Gallo

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