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Craft spirit launches increase 265% globally from 2011-2015, says Mintel

7 June 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

New research from Mintel reveals that spirits positioned as “craft”* have so far accounted for one in seven new global spirit launches to date in 2016, up from just one in 20 in 2011.

craft spirits

Overall, research from Mintel GNPD (Global New Products Database) reveals craft spirit launches increased by 265% globally between 2011 and 2015, and it seems that it is the US that has been driving the craze. Of all craft spirits launched in this time, half have been in the US and 42% in Europe, compared to just 4% in Latin America and 3% in Asia Pacific.

According to Mintel’s research, it seems the surge in launches of craft spirits is backed globally by strong consumer demand for artisanal alcoholic beverages. Over half of US alcohol drinkers agree that craft alcohol brands are of higher quality than big brands and demand is mirrored across Europe too. Around half of consumers in France, Italy, Germany and Poland agree that spirits from small/craft distillers are more appealing than large, mass-produced brands. While in the UK, 37% of dark spirits/liqueur drinkers are prepared to pay more for craft variants.

Whisky accounts for 43% of craft spirit launches

Commenting on the research, Jonny Forsyth, Global Drinks Analyst at Mintel, said: “Craft spirit launches are growing at a rapid pace and will continue to rise in more mature markets – particularly the US – as consumers continually seek out ‘special’ offerings. Despite being a relatively small sector of the market, craft spirits are growing in response to the huge consumer-led demand for more authentic, more distinctive, more local, less processed and more interesting spirit brands.”

When it comes to the ‘craftiest’ spirit, currently whisky reigns supreme, accounting for 43% of global craft spirit launches in 2015, up from 37% in 2011. However, gin is hot on its heels, accounting for 23% of global craft spirit launches in 2015, up from 9% in 2011.

“For craft producers, gin has the advantage of taking days rather than years to produce, unlike whisky. Therefore as startups seek to balance production of more nuanced spirits with the commercial realities, gin is an appealing choice,” added Forsyth.

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