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Whisky eyes £2.44bn by 2022

Published:  12 June, 2019

Whisky will be worth £2.44bn by 2022, up from £2.31bn last year, according to the first Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Whisky Yearbook.

The report, intended to identify “key shifts in the category and forecast underlying trends and their impact” found that whisky will grow by £138m in value in the coming three years – or 6% – equating to over 200,000 cases.

“Bartenders and retailers tell us that whisky is a key focus for them, with plans to invest in broadening their knowledge and range, ensuring they can accommodate the increasing appetite for the spirit from consumers in both the on and off-trade,” said Mark Riley, managing director of Edrington-Beam Suntory UK.

“We would like the Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Whisky Yearbook to become a vital resource to track the changes as they happen and to look at the underlying trends in the category – both as a way to understand the market today and to forecast what is to come – as well as to offer insight into how we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented to us.”

Principle drivers of the predicted growth are likely to be the Scotch single malt category, which Edrington-Beam Suntory UK expects to grow in value from £394m in 2018 to £439m in 2022 thank to new “accessibly priced” single malts in the market. It also said the price gap between single malts and blends is closing, encouraging more blends drinkers to “trade up”.

At the same time, existing single malt drinkers are also trading up within the category, purchasing limited editions and premium releases.

It also predicted American whiskies will grow from £688m in 2018 to £742m in 2022, thanks to American premium brands such as Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, Bulleit and Woodford Reserve.

“Our forecast is that Scotch single malt and American whiskies will drive future growth, continuing to attract new consumers to the whisky category and successfully appealing to existing customers with new expressions,” said Riley. “Both are seeing customers trade-up as they explore the categories, which is supporting the increase in the value and volume of sales.”

Elsewhere in the category, Riley said Irish, Japanese, Canadian and single grain whisky will also see more growth.

“Irish and single grain whiskies have been real success stories over the past twelve months – sharing rapid growth on an already strong base of both volume and value in the market,” he said.

“We expect both to play a greater role in shaping the wider market in the coming years. The supply challenges that have arguably held back growth in Japanese and Canadian whiskies have eased. While there remains a challenge securing enough liquid from leading brands from both nations to satisfy UK demand, there is far greater supply forecast and we predict we will see growth as a result.”