American spirits recovered their growth in 2021 with a 14% increase in exports driven by American whiskey.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) released statistics for American spirits exports whose increase equaled 14% an equivalent $1.6 billion last year. However, it is still below 2018 levels of $1.8 billion when the sector had no tariffs imposed.
“American spirits exports are starting to recover and that’s definitely a positive sign, but the value of 2021 exports is still well below the levels reached before the 2018 retaliatory tariffs went into effect,” said Rob Maron, vice president of international trade at Discus.
In 2018, former U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on EU steel and 10% on aluminum.
The EU applied a 25% tariff on U.S. whiskey and other products in retaliation, worth €2.8 billion ($3.3 billion). On Oct. 31 last year, the U.S. and EU agreed to suspend tariffs on steel and aluminum from the start of 2022, but the tariff remains on the U.K.
“The UK’s continued imposition of a 25% retaliatory tariff on U.S. whiskies will only continue to restrict growth,” Maron added.
The U.K. tariff has led to a 42% decline in U.S. whiskey exports between 2018 and 2021, Discus said.
American spirits rebound
According to Discus, last year’s rebound was due to the reopening of on-trade, consumers turning to premium bottlings and the removal of retaliatory tariffs on certain spirits.
Between 2001 and 2021, U.S. global spirits exports increased 220% from $493 million to $1.6 billion, led primarily by American whiskey, according to Discus.
American whiskeys continued to drive spirits exports in 2021, as the category accounted for 61% of all spirits exports by value and 38% by volume last year.
The top five markets for American whiskies in 2021 were: the European Union ($440 million), Japan ($95 million), the United Kingdom ($88 million), Australia ($84 million) and Canada ($68 million).
Discus said the top 10 U.S. spirits exporting states were Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Texas, Indiana, Illinois, New York, California, Arkansas and New Jersey.
U.S. spirits exports to countries with free trade agreements and tariff-free nations reached $1.36 billion in 2021, accounting for 86% of total U.S. spirits exports.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.