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cowdery
01-27-2011, 20:51
For most of the time I've been writing about whiskey, getting reliable statistics has been like pulling teeth. The numbers exist but they're behind cash walls too rich for my blood. I get bits and pieces from friends in the industry.

In the last few years the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) has really stepped up in terms of compiling and releasing data. They do it at an annual event in NYC, which was last Monday.

Here are some very top box stats. I posted these in another thread the day they came out so if you've been following the WhistlePig conversation, there's nothing new here.

2010 Whiskey Sales in the USA.

American Blended Whiskey -- 5.398 million cases
Bourbon & Tennessee --15.443 million cases
(All American -- 20.841 million cases) (44%)

Canadian -- 15.809 million cases (34%)

Blended Scotch -- 7.774 million cases
Single Malt Scotch -- 1.281 million cases
(All Scotch -- 9.055 million cases) (19%)

Irish -- 1.387 million cases (3%)

(All Whiskey -- 47.093 million cases)

DeanSheen
01-28-2011, 00:00
I'm surprised by the low numbers of SMS and Irish, especially the Irish.

In these figures case units are defined as 12 750ml bottles?

IowaJeff
01-28-2011, 09:56
Interesting. I would have thought Scotch and Irish combined would have at least come closer to Canadian.

What are a couple of the big sellers in American Blended? Jeremiah Weed? Is Seagram's still big in that category? Not looking for specific stats or anything, I'm just not very familiar with that category.

barturtle
01-28-2011, 10:07
What are a couple of the big sellers in American Blended? Jeremiah Weed? Is Seagram's still big in that category? Not looking for specific stats or anything, I'm just not very familiar with that category.

Early Times. Seagram's 7.

CorvallisCracker
01-28-2011, 10:32
In these figures case units are defined as 12 750ml bottles?

"9-liter cases"

I don't know whether these figures take into account handles or 200ml/375ml bottles. I'm going to send an inquiry as soon as I post this.

The entire report is here (http://www.discus.org/pdf/Spirits_Category_Tables_2010.pdf).

The reports for 2008 and 2009 can be accessed from this page (http://www.discus.org/economics/).

Now here's something I found real interesting (stats from the 2009 and 2010 reports).

For Bourbon and Tennessee

Percent change 2008 - 2009
Value +6.3%
Premium +2.3%
High End Premium -3.6%
Super Premium -0.6%
OVERALL 0.0%

Percent change 2009 - 2010
Value -1.1%
Premium +3.7%
High End Premium +1.9%
Super Premium +16.2%
OVERALL +2.5%

I've yet to find at the DISCUS site definitions for the different categories ("Value" vs "Premium"). From hacking around on different industry web sites it appears that "value" labels are those which are used as "well" selections in bars. As for "Super Premium", it seems to vary a bit from type to type (bourbon vs vodka), but for bourbon it looks like anything over $25 is a "Super Premium".

Sales by brand? Yeah, there are people who compile that infomation and they'll happpily send you a report...if you send them $150 or so...

DeanSheen
01-28-2011, 10:59
"but for bourbon it looks like anything over $25 is a "Super Premium"

In 2011 with price creep and inflation that number seems a bit low.

CorvallisCracker
01-28-2011, 11:16
"but for bourbon it looks like anything over $25 is a "Super Premium"

In 2011 with price creep and inflation that number seems a bit low.

Yes, it does. However, at one point I found a site that gave examples using brands. IIRC, ERSB was a "Super Premium" bourbon. CR was a "Super Premium" Canadian. Both are currently priced between $25 and $30.

I asked about that in my inquiry as well, but it seems their "contact us" is pointing to two no longer active E-Mail addresses, as it bounced. Maybe I'll try calling in a bit.

CorvallisCracker
01-28-2011, 11:44
Yes, it does. However, at one point I found a site that gave examples using brands. IIRC, ERSB was a "Super Premium" bourbon. CR was a "Super Premium" Canadian. Both are currently priced between $25 and $30.

I think I've found it again, here (http://onthehouse.typepad.com/on_the_house/files/BrandClassification.pdf). My memory of ERSB being listed is apparently an artifact. There are no "Super Premium" bourbons listed.

The document dates from Jan 22, 2007.

CorvallisCracker
01-28-2011, 11:57
Also from 2007, I found this:

Jim Clerkin, President of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, North America, once said, "Consumers are not drinking more, they are drinking better." What does drinking better actually mean? By definition, there are four price-based classifications: value, premium, high end premium, and super premium. As an example, value rums retail for under $1O, premium brands are $1O to $13, high end premiums retail for $13 to $2O, and anything over the $21 mark is considered super premium.

Rums being somewhat less expensive than bourbon (I still find the occasional $7 rum, but no bourbon less than $9), and adjusting for inflation, a "Super Premium" bourbon still comes out as anything over about $25. Yes, by our "snobby" :grin: standards that seems incredibly low, but apparently that's how the industry classifies things.

kickert
01-28-2011, 12:20
Also from 2007, I found this:

Jim Clerkin, President of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, North America, once said, "Consumers are not drinking more, they are drinking better." What does drinking better actually mean? By definition, there are four price-based classifications: value, premium, high end premium, and super premium. As an example, value rums retail for under $1O, premium brands are $1O to $13, high end premiums retail for $13 to $2O, and anything over the $21 mark is considered super premium.

Rums being somewhat less expensive than bourbon (I still find the occasional $7 rum, but no bourbon less than $9), and adjusting for inflation, a "Super Premium" bourbon still comes out as anything over about $25. Yes, by our "snobby" :grin: standards that seems incredibly low, but apparently that's how the industry classifies things.

Obviously my opinion doesn't matter, but I would put value as under $15, Premium as $15-25, High end premium as $25-40 and Super premium as over $40.

DeanSheen
01-28-2011, 12:31
Obviously my opinion doesn't matter, but I would put value as under $15, Premium as $15-25, High end premium as $25-40 and Super premium as over $40.

That is a much more reasonable table that could yield more interesting results for my interests. As it's currently structured the bar is so low that any claims about "Amercians drinking better" just sounds like marketing from my perspective.

cowdery
01-28-2011, 17:20
On the last couple pages of the "Tables" document released Monday, they show what they mean by "value," "premium," etc. for each type. There's a bit of apples to oranges since a "value" bourbon, for example, has a supplier cost of less than $65, whereas a "value" scotch has a supplier cost of less than $120. This and the breaks themselves are somewhat arbitrary. This is DISCUS's idea of where the breaks are. Other analysts may have a different opinion.

Those tables also give brand examples, but just a few. It's not a comprehensive list.

I assume "supplier revenue" means the price charged by the producer to the distributor. Remember that DISCUS is the producer's club, so everything is from a producer's perspective.

Early Times is not considered a blended whiskey. Its numbers are in with the straights. Seagram's Seven Crown is far and away the leading U.S. blend. Others are Philadelphia, Kessler's, and Fleischmann's. There are a lot of them, as many are regional. They're all crap.

The 9-liter case is the standard because 750 ml X 12 = 9 L, and the 750 ml bottle is the standard for off-premise retail. Case packs that don't equal 9 L are adjusted. Sometimes when people are talking off the cuff they'll give a number that refers to 3-bottle cases or 6-bottle cases but for formal reporting everything is equalized to 9 L cases so comparisons can be meaningful. It's total sales expressed as 9 L cases but it does include every size.

The "bourbon/Tennessee" segment essentially represents anything that isn't a blend. It's a blend if it contains vodka. If it doesn't, it's not. So rye is included in "bourbon/Tennessee" but the reality is, the numbers are too small to matter. For example, there is Japanese whiskey sold in the U.S., but the volume is too small to bother with.

CorvallisCracker
01-28-2011, 17:48
On the last couple pages of the "Tables" document released Monday, they show what they mean by "value," "premium," etc. for each type.

That information isn't provided in the 2008 and 2009 reports, so I didn't look for it in the 2010 report. That's what I get for assuming. :rolleyes:

So their example of a "Super Premium" bourbon is Woodford Reserve. Let's see, $24.99 at K&L (http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=996041) and $35.95 here in OR.

"High End Premiums" are

JDBL $19.99 at K&L, $22.95 in OR
JBBL $17.99 at BevMo, $22.95 in OR
MM $22.99 at K&L, $26.95 in OR

It would seem that the starting point for "Super Premium" is around $25-28, depending on where you're buying it.


Again, to me, the most notable aspect of the 2010 report is the big jump (16%) in the SP category, which lost ground in 2009.