Drink trends come and go, but you can’t keep a good dram down. According to the new Global Whisky Market Overview, 2023-28 report by Bonafide Research, the whiskey category is set to reach $127 billion by 2028. The category is expanding at a CAGR of 6.34%
According to the report, Asia-Pacific has evolved as one of the most exciting regions for whiskey, with India showing a particularly huge amount of affinity for the spirit.
Another bright spot in the category: Japanese whiskies. The ‘impeccable quality, refined flavors, and dedication to traditional distillation methods’ has pushed the subcategory into the spotlight. The Global Whisky Market overview noted that Japanese whiskies are ‘challenging the longstanding dominance of Scotch.’
In 2020, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States noted that whisky imports from Japan amounted to $67 million. That follows a tripling of imports, with Japanese whisky imports increasing from $18.4 to $67.4 million between 2015 and 2020. Alongside the market’s growth, there’s been a number of new entrants — like like Kaiyo, Kanosuke, and Akkeshi — to the category capitalizing on the interest.
Scotch continues to be the most preferred whiskey from consumers, though there’s a growing inclination towards flavored whiskies. According to Vantage Market Research, the global flavored whiskey market is now valued at $27.9 billion in 2022, and expected to reach a value of $47.1 billion by 2030. The report cites Millennials’ search for new and unique taste experiences as the driver of the category. E-commerce platform Drizly noted its top-selling flavored whiskey brands are Fireball, Crown Royal (offers apple and maple iterations), Skrewball peanut butter whiskey, and Jack Daniel’s (Tennessee apple, Tennessee honey, Tennessee fire).
The report did acknowledge that alcohol-free substitutes are growing in variety and popularity, though traditional whiskey still reigns supreme. The non-alcoholic whiskey category has broadened in the last few years. Spiritless Kentucky 74 makes a Kentucky bourbon sans alcohol that is surprisingly close to the real stuff. Lyre’s has a malted non-alcoholic spirit that doubles as whiskey in zero-proof cocktails, as does Monday and Free Spirits. In 2021, Lyre’s completed a funding round worth £20 million (US$26.8m), bringing the brand’s net work to £270m (US$362m). Lyre’s produces a full range of non-alcoholic spirits dupes, from aperitivos to gins to rums.
The report noted that the current biggest players in the whiskey category are Brown-Forman