Million-case brands don’t tell the whole story – a strange utterance from a supplement that speaks only of million case brands, but entertain us for a moment.
In 2015, the US tequila market – the number one global market – reached more than 12m 9-litre cases, growing 5% on the previous year. By 2020 this market is forecast to reach 18m, according to IWSR.
Now cast an eye to the chart below. You will notice Jose Cuervo is missing, its owner declining to provide data this year, but the three brands remaining have combined sales of 7m cases.
“Mezcal, tequila’s cousin, is on fire and helping spur interest in agave- based spirits,” says Brandy Rand, IWSR vice president US marketing & business development. “Overall, tequila’s share of spirits category consumption is growing. Premium and above tequila brands owned or endorsed by celebrities are also helping raise awareness of tequila in the US,” she adds. “Tequila is a complex, refined spirit and people are finally recognising this, which is resonating across the higher-end brands.”
Tequila is on an upward trajectory but many leading brands experienced static growth last year. It would be remiss not to mention one of the largest brands, Jose Cuervo, on these pages but the brand has declined to provide sales volumes for another year so any analysis would be speculative.
Premiumisation across all spirits, driven in part by cocktail culture, has meant consumers are, for the most part, better educated. As a result, they are choosing better quality spirits, which is the case with 100% agave tequilas.
The appetite for super-premium tequilas in the US is undoubtedly creating a more tequila-literate consumer interested in more than just shots. This can only be good for the million-case and category-wide narrative.