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Global Alcohol Consumption Declining

IWSR data finds that global alcohol consumption is declining faster for beer than wine and spirits.
June 6, 2017

​NEW YORK – The latest International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) data suggests that the consumption of alcoholic drinks is declining at an increasingly faster rate than has been previously reported.

For 2016, the IWSR reports that the global market for alcoholic drinks shrunk by 1.3%, compared with an average rate of just -0.3% in the previous five years. The reasons for the accelerated downward trend include a faster decline in beer, a reversal of trends for cider and slowing growth for mixed drinks.

Cider declined by 1.5% after years of solid growth. The markets responsible for this reversal of trends were South Africa, which saw decline following a period of growth, and especially the U.S., where volumes collapsed by 15.2% after years of double-digit growth.

The beer category was down 1.8% in 2016, compared with a five-year rate of -0.6%. The global trend reflects developments in three of beer’s largest markets: China, Brazil and Russia, which all saw steeper declines than in previous years, declining at -4.2%, -5.3% and -7.8%, respectively, in 2016.

Global spirits grew by 0.3%, according to IWSR data. Vodka is dragging down overall spirits performance, declining at 4.3% last year. Volumes were boosted by gin (+3.7%), tequila (+5.2%) and whisky (+1.7%). The negative trend in vodka is largely due to steep volume losses in Russia (-9.3%), which nevertheless remains vodka’s largest market by far. Key growth markets for total spirits last year were China, the U.S. and Mexico.

Wine was flat overall (-0.1%), with sparkling wine growing at 1.8% and still wine down by 0.5%. This is roughly in line with the trend of the previous five years.