Nielsen: 2015 Was the Year of Premium in Alcoholic Beverages

NEW YORK — Although alcoholic beverages in the United States make up a large category that only continues to grow, it is heavily dependent on shifting consumer tastes and product innovation, and can also be an extremely fast-changing category. Accordingly, it is critical for retailers to stay informed on recent trends and changing preferences.

In 2015, beer, wine and spirits sales all saw growth in various segments, according to Nielsen data. However, a common trend across all three categories was that premium segments grew faster than lower price tiers due to consumers continuing to trade up in their alcohol choices.

All three categories also saw a minimum of $150 million in sales within Nielsen-measured off-premise channels during the 52 weeks that ended Dec. 5, 2015.

The fastest growing segments within the respective categories were:

Beer — Craft beer was the top segment with India Pale Ale as the top craft style; cans as the top craft container type; and six-packs as the top craft package type. Mexico was the top country of origin.

Wine — Sauvignon Blanc was the top table varietal, with $15-$19.99 as the top table price tier. Prosecco was the top sparkling type, with $13-$19.99 as the top sparkling price tier. The top table package type was a three-liter box. New Zealand was the top table country of origin.

Spirits — Cognac was the top spirit segment; Irish whiskey was the top whiskey type; and cinnamon was the top flavor. Ultra premium was the top price tier, and 50-milliliter was the top size.

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