International research firm Euromonitor International is reporting that global alcoholic drinks volume shrunk last year. Their research shows that for the first time in more than a decade we are seeing numbers in negative territory. In 2015 there was a drop of 0.7 percent that translated into a loss of 1.7 billion liters of alcoholic drink volume internationally vs. 2014.

2015 Star Performers: Liqueurs, Tequila & Whiskey
2015 Euromonitor International Global Alcoholic Drinks Data
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China, Brazil, Eastern Europe Down – North America Up

Historic growth narratives derailed due to the influence of macro headwinds hitting China, which recorded a 3.5 percent decline. Brazil and Eastern Europe showed further weaknesses, falling 2.5 and 4.9 percent, respectively. While Western Europe and Australasia flat lined, North America’s 2.3 percent growth provided a shot of optimism in an otherwise sobering global landscape where even the potential of AMEA (Asia, Middle East and Africa) was diluted by currency volatility and commodity price fluctuations.

Spiros Malandrakis, Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst, comments: “While terms such as authenticity and craftsmanship are losing traction, the trajectories of sophistication, moderation, perceived exotic credentials, accessibility and restrained yet grounded aspirational attributes remain the key driving forces fuelling pockets of buoyancy.” He continues: “Premium English gin, Irish and Japanese whiskey, dark and non-alcoholic beer are the flag bearers of growth and it is no coincidence that those also happen to be the segments gaining further momentum with the ever important millennial demographic in mature western markets.”

Beyond those star performers, tequila and bourbon remained solid, while cognac bounced back strongly. Cider performed well but has softened as Americans move to hard soda drinks. Rum and vodka find themselves amongst the worst performers, while still light white and red wine varietals join sparkling wines back to a healthy level.

“While initial forecasts suggest a gradual recovery from 2016, performance will remain substandard compared to historical trajectories. It is not the industry’s vision that is impaired but rather the horizon that can be treacherous,” Malandrakis concludes.

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