After a killer run that saw the volume of worldwide alcohol drink sales increase every year since 2002, turns out all 7 billion plus of us were probably due for a hangover. And yesterday, market research firm Euromonitor International announced that sales volumes fell last year for the first time in over a decade. In 2015, alcohol drink volumes declined by 0.7 percent, or to put in more quaff-related terms, about 450 million fewer gallons of boozy beverages were sold last year than the year before. Good luck putting that much alcohol into a fishbowl.
As anyone who hits the bars on a regular basis will probably be unsurprised to hear, the two biggest weights dragging down the booze biz are the increasingly unhip spirits rum and vodka. But not all alcoholic drinks were in decline. “Premium English gin, Irish and Japanese whiskey, dark and non-alcoholic beer are the flag bearers of growth and it is no coincidence that those also happen to be the segments gaining further momentum with the ever important millennial demographic in mature western markets,” Senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst Spiros Malandrakis said in a statement.
Regionally, though North America continued to show growth (hooray, America!), much of the rest of the world saw major declines. Eastern Europe, China and Brazil saw volumes fall by 4.9 percent, 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.
Euromonitor doesn’t seem too keen on an immediate recovery either. “While initial forecasts suggest a gradual recovery from 2016, performance will remain substandard compared to historical trajectories. It is not the industry’s vision that is impaired but rather the horizon that can be treacherous,” Malandrakis concluded.
Um, with a dire forecast like that, it sounds like people working in the booze industry could potentially make up for the shortfall themselves trying to drink their problems away.