Premiumisation drives American whiskey in Australia

22 June, 2018 by Andy Young

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, America’s national trade association representing the country’s leading producers of distilled spirits, has been in Australia over the last week, showcasing some of the finest American distilled spirits.

In addition the Council has also spoken of how the premiumisation trend in Australia is driving the revival of aged brown spirits. The Council said that as the Australian drinking culture shifts to “quality over quantity,” the desire to drink less and purchase more expensive, exclusive and premium spirits has changed the way consumers treat alcohol.

Advertisement

“Premiumisation continues to drive whiskey sales in Australia with Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey and American Rye Whiskey all enjoying a huge boom. In 2017, US spirits exports to Australia were valued at US$ 127m, up 12 per cent from 2016 with whiskey accounting for approximately 80 per cent of the total making Australia the third largest export market for US distilled spirits,” said Robert Maron, Director of International Affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council.

Australia has also witnessed a cocktail renaissance in recent years with mixologists looking to American Whiskeys due to its versatility and unique mixability. In particular, there is a resurgence of Rye Whiskey, the predominant whiskey in the United States before Prohibition, as mixologists look to the past for inspiration.

“The American whiskey sector is dynamic and there is an American whiskey for every palate; from a sweet Bourbon Whiskey with hints of caramel, to a smooth Tennessee Whiskey with charcoal notes, to an American Rye Whiskey with a spicy and peppery finish,” Robert Maron added.

The Council backed a number of small distilleries who are looking to break into the Australian market at the Drinks Industry Show earlier this week. These included Corsair Artisan Distillery, the first craft distillery in Nashville since prohibition, House Spirits Distillery, the pioneer of America’s craft-distilling resurgence, and Red Eye Louie’s Vodquila, a special blend of ultra-premium vodka and imported super premium tequila.

Australian consumers drink, on average, 19 million glasses of American whiskey a month and total retail sales of American whiskey in Australia have reached US$1.34bn, up 41 per cent from 2005.