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Alcohol sales fall worldwide, but with recovery to follow, predicts the IWSR

Published:  31 May, 2019

Global alcohol consumption fell back by 1.6% in 2018, according to new data from the IWSR, with some 27.6 billion nine-litre cases being consumed.

The figure represents a setback after 2017, which saw a small uptick of 0.1%.

The fall in volumes is primarily being driven by the beer and vodka categories. Global beer volumes fell 2.2% in 2018, with a 13% drop in China having a significant impact, alongside declines in the US and Brazil of 1.6% and 2.3% respectively.

Vodka sales fell 2.6% worldwide.

Wine volumes were down 1.6%, with major markets such as China, Italy and France all contracting. However, value sales are up from £165.3bn in 2017 to £171.4bn, reflecting the ongoing trend towards premiumisation in the category.

Among categories in growth last year, gin was the clear winner, with volume sales up by 8.3%. In the UK, gin was up 32.5% year on year.

Whisky grew by 7%, driven by significant market expansion in India, Japan and the US, where volumes were up 10.5%, 8% and 5% respectively.

The IWSR remains upbeat in its growth predictions, however, forecasting a steady rise in global volumes to 28.5 billion cases in 2023, up some 3.5% on 2018. It expects the market’s value to rise 7% over the same period.

Gin sales are predicted to rise by 22.8% to 88.4 million cases by 2023, and whisky by 5.7%.

Sparkling wine is forecast to grow by 1.2% in volume, with the wine category as a whole growing in value by around 4%.

The global alcohol market was worth around $1 trillion (£800 billion) in 2018, the IWSR reports.