Data from Nielsen for the four weeks ending March 24 shows that spirits continue to show strong growth; beer’s trajectory improved slightly; and wine showed minor but improved gains. While the Nielsen numbers focus on the off-premise space, the robust four-percent growth within the category is one of the best indicators of consumer trends available.
The spirits sales market grew about four percent over the previous 12 weeks, slowing down just a bit over the previous four, showing an increase in 2.3 percent by volume and 3.6 in value.
While bourbon and Irish whiskey gained dollar share among brown spirits, tequila was the only white spirit that outperformed the total category. Across brown spirits, bourbon (up 8.5 percent) and Irish whiskey (up 15.3 percent) both grew ahead of the category, while Canadian whiskey (up 2.7 percent) underperformed. Across white spirits, tequila posted sales growth of 8.2 percent, while vodka (up 2.7 percent) and gin (up 0.5 percent) grew but lagged the category. Rum was down 2.1 percent.
Spirit brands with notable growth included Aperol (46.4 percent), Woodford Reserve (up 26.1 percent), Herradura (up 20.6 percent), Bulleit (up 15.1 percent), the Jim Beam family (up 13.1 percent), Knob Creek (up 15.9 percent), Maker's Mark (up 7.1 percent), and Svedka (up 6.2 percent).
Meanwhile, for the four-week period, sales for combined beer (including total beer, cider and flavored malt beverages), total beer, cider, and wine were all above 12-week trends, while FMBs were below 12-week trends. Cider continues to grow. For the total cider category, volumes grew almost 10 percent, well above the 12-week trend, and most impressively, dollar sales were up 12.5 percent .
For beer, strong performers included Modelo Especial (up 13.3 percent), Victoria (up 14.4 percent) and Negra Modelo (up 11.2 percent). Sam Adams Seasonal continued to grow, but Ballast Point sales were down. Year over year, the brand’s sales are down a total of more than 15 percent; the brand has been struggling since the sale to Constellation.
Wine also had a good end-of-winter period. Volumes grew 1.8 percent, while dollar sales were up 4.3 percent. Wine brands doing well included Black Box (up 21.8 percent), Meiomi (up 31.7 percent), Ruffino (up 20.5 percent), and Kim Crawford (up 30.7 percent).