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Worldwide drinks shortage on horizon as demand booms

Published:  23 July, 2008

A booming market for alcoholic drinks in Brazil, China, India and Russia will lead to a world wide shortage, and will force established markets in the west to seek out alternative products, according to Alastair Smith of the IWSR speaking at the London Wine Fair earlier this week.

"The increased demand will lead to a shortage of Scotch, Cognac, Champagne and flavoured wines, and force established markets in the west to switch to different products," he predicted.

Brazil, China, India and Russia offer considerable growth opportunities for spirits and wine producers, with these four markets accounting for 50% of the total worldwide consumption of spirits, and 15% of wine.

"There has been a huge rise in disposable incomes in these markets, and by 2015 there will be one billion people in the middle classes of these countries who will be target consumers," said Smith. "Asia and the CIS will become more important markets than the west."

However, that consumption is currently concentrated in small urban areas - Moscow, for example, accounts for around 70% of total Russian alcohol consumption, while India's is centred around the three main cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

As demand from the east puts pressure on supplies of wines and spirits, alternative drinks such as Tequila, 90% of which is currently drunk in the US and Mexico will increase in popularity according to the IWSR. Modern style lighter Scotch, Irish Whiskey, super premium gin, vodka and sambuca are other spirits predicted to gain ground.

Still light wine is the fastest growing imported alcoholic drink in Brazil, which is dominated by Chilean and Argentinean wines, two thirds of which is red.