Last month, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States published its annual economic assessment of the US spirits industry which reported that sales of Irish whiskey in the US grew by 891,000 cases or 17.8% last year to 5.9 million cases while sales of Scotch grew by just 321,000 cases or 3.3% in 2021 to 9.8 million cases.
“The single year volume increase for Irish whiskey sales in the US in 2021 is greater than the cumulative increase in Scotch sales over the past 10 years,” pointed out the Irish Whiskey Association, “This puts Irish whiskey on course to meet the IWA’s projection that Irish whiskey sales in the US will overtake Scotch sales in the current decade.”
Last year, volumes grew by 0.7% for Blended Scotch and by 12.0% for Single Malts.
By value (including Federal Excise Tax), the Scotch market in the US is worth around $2.59 billion, up 10.2% or $239 million while Irish whiskey is worth $1.32 billion (up by 16.3% or $185 million).
Where Blended Scotch saw values increase by $109 million and Malts go up in value by $130 million, the value of Irish whiskey in the US rose by $185 million.
Irish whiskey has become an increasingly significant player in the higher-end whiskey market as an increased supply of Super-Premium and exclusive Irish whiskeys come onstream.
Figures from DISCUS show that 851,000 cases (over 10 million bottles) of Super-Premium-priced Irish whiskey were sold in the US in 2021, representing 14% of Irish whiskey sold in the US last year, with Super-Premium sales up 165% since 2015 when 320,000 cases were sold.
Irish Whiskey now ranks in the Top 5 Fastest-Growing Spirits by both Revenue and Volume in the DISCUS database.