Skip to navigationSkip to content

Global growth in alcohol got a little tipsy and has now passed out

Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
The global volume of booze is shrinking.
By Chase Purdy
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Now is not the time for popping bottles if you’re part of Big Booze.

For the first time in at least 15 years, the growth rate in global alcoholic drinks by volume actually shrank, according to new data by Euromonitor. The culprit: currency volatility and bumpy commodity prices disrupting regions of the developing world, places such as China (which registered a 3.5% decline in volume), Brazil (which fell by 2.5%) and Eastern Europe (4.9%). Western Europe and Australia showed flattened growth, and North America—perhaps the one bright spot—registered 2.3% growth.

But North American drinkers didn’t drink enough. Check out this chart, which shows a cumulative 0.7% drop in volume growth:

The alcohols keeping the industry afloat are premium English gins, Irish and Japanese whiskies and dark beers—popular stalwarts among younger drinkers in developed markets, said Euromonitor analyst Spiros Malandrakis in a statement. Tequila and bourbon held their own, ciders are locked in a battle with newly-introduced hard sodas, and rum and vodka performed poorly, Malandrakis said. Wines are performing well.

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

Since 2014, alcoholic drink sales by volume have decreased by 1.7 billion litres. That slight decline comes after years of strong growth.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.