iwsr covid-19

IWSR: Five years for global booze industry to recover from Covid-19

28 May, 2020

IWSR Drinks Market Analysis predicts it will be five years before the global industry rebounds from the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Total global alcohol consumption, led by increases in beer and ready-to-drink products, grew by +0.1% in volume and +3.6% in value in 209. However off trade sales and e-commerce has failed to offset the loss of on-trade activity in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

IWSR expects double-digit declines in 2020 which will take until 2024 to reach the levels of volume sales prior to Covid-19, while the UK and US could take longer to recover.

Global travel retail, severely affected by widespread travel restrictions, will see a steep decline in 2020 but is expected to reach pre-crisis levels by 2024.

“While we’re still assessing the full impact of the current Covid-19 situation, it’s very clear that the pandemic is set to cause a deeper and more long-lasting after-effect to the global drinks industry than anything we’ve experienced before,” said Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR.

“Even the downturn following the 2008 financial crisis was less severe than what we are seeing now. In many ways, 2019 was perhaps the last ‘normal’ year for the drinks industry.”


Globally, beer (not including flavored malt beverages like hard seltzers) grew 0.3% in volume and +2.2% in value in 2019, led largely by increases in non-alcoholic beer (+15.2% in volume vs 2018).

Though the beer category has taken a hit in 2020, the outlook for continued growth of no-alcohol beer remains positive, with a forecasted +8.1% CAGR 2019-2024. In total, beer is expected to reach 2019 volumes by 2024, rebounding better than wine and spirits.


Overall, total spirits dropped -2.5% in volume last year, due in part to steep volume losses in baijiu.

No-alcohol spirits were the fastest-growing spirits segment by volume in 2019, +25.5%, though still small in terms of market share. Among traditional spirits categories, gin was the fastest growing in 2019 (+6.1%), but that growth has slowed in some European markets.

Irish whiskey grew by +10.6% volume while Japanese increased +10.3% and American posted +5.8%. The IWSR forecasted that whisky and gin will likely rebound fastest to pre-Covid-19 levels. Vodka volumes are not expected to recover to 2019 levels until after 2024.

Keywords: IWSR, covid-9

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