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Premium drinks stand tall amid against cost-of-living crisis

Published:  31 August, 2023

Premium alcohol brands are continuing to gather pace in the face of a mounting global cost of living crisis, new analysis suggests, with aspirational drinking still very much on top form.

Global markets are currently witnessing some of the steepest inflationary spirals in modern history, putting consumers’ wallets and discretionary spending to the test.

Yet, a variety of categories in the premium tier continue to sell, and in some cases, outsell the more medium or entry-level. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, ultra-premium English gin (+15% YOY 2022 versus 2021, global total volume growth), Champagne (+6%) and prestige dark rum (+12%) have all remained in ascendancy over the past year, alongside , tequila, non-alcoholic spirits and aperitivo-embracing bitters. As a result, premiumisation appears to remain firmly on track.

“This is premiumisation against all the odds,” Spiros Malandrakis, head of alcoholic drinks at Euromonitor, said.

“In fact, iconic segments that are now intricately associated with aspirational consumption and increasingly higher-end offerings are among the top sales performers.”

According to Euromonitor, the rise reflects the diverse range of consumer behaviours and motivations that exist within a population. Also, the continued sales of premium wines and spirits remain proof of “how solidly embedded” the trend has become.

Despite the economic headwinds, consumption of premium wines and spirits remains a form of escapism, as well as a marker of personal taste and sophistication.

Malandrakis added: “The inexorable march towards ever more premium offerings has been a key theme and driver for the alcohol industry for decades and there is no category that remains impervious to the trend’s relevance and long-term appeal.

“Contrary to expectations and parallels to previous recessionary cycles, there are no significant signs of sustained or heavy trading down – at least, not just yet.”