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Global Alcohol Consumption Falls Again, But Clear Skies Ahead

By Publications Checkout
Global Alcohol Consumption Falls Again, But Clear Skies Ahead

Global alcohol consumption fell by 1.6% in 2018, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, but the group hinted at a possible return to growth.

Total consumption for the year dipped to 27.6 billion nine-litre cases, but the group has said that it forecasts a steady increase over the next five years to 28.5 billion cases in 2023.

In value terms, the global market for alcoholic beverages was over $1 trillion last year.

The IWSR expects this figure to grow by 7% by 2023.

“Every year our analysts spend months travelling the world to speak with suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and other beverage alcohol professionals to assess what is happening market by market in this fast-changing business,” says Mark Meek, the IWSR’s CEO.


“The raw data we collect is enormously valuable, but equally important is what that data tells us in terms of trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the industry.”

Categorical Consumption

The largest gain in global beverage alcohol consumption in 2018 was in the gin category, which posted a total growth of 8.3% versus 2017.

The IWSR said that pink gin was a key driver in the category selling more than 72 million nine-litre cases. Its growth was led by high consumption levels in the UK.

Whiskey continues to see its sales increase, jumping 7% last year, driven by a strong Indian economy, where whiskey grew by 10.5%, and spurred on by continuous innovation.

Wine sales fell in 2018, but the IWSR noted that it had posted particularly strong growth 2017. The category fell by 1.6% in volume terms as consumption declined in major markets such as China, Italy, France, Germany and Spain.


Consumption in the US remained flat.

Beer was the biggest loser, falling by 2.2% for the year, hit heavy by volume decreases in China, where it fell by 13%.

Other large markets such as the US and Brazil also fell, by 1.6% and 2.3%, respectively, while Mexico and Germany saw growth of 6.6% and 1%, respectively.

The IWSR, however, suggested that the outlook for beer paints a more positive picture, with the category expected to grow, if only somewhat, in 2019.

© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.

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