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US Spirits Exports Hit A Record High In 2023

In a significant boost to the spirits industry, US spirits exports reached an all-time high of $2.2 billion in 2023, up 8% from the previous year. This surge was driven primarily by American whiskey sales, which accounted for a staggering 63% of all US spirits exports. This marked a 9% increase from 2022, according to the latest American Spirits Export Report released by the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus).

Tariff Suspension Had An Impact on US Spirits Exports 

Rob Maron, Discus vice president of international trade, attributed this growth to the suspension or removal of retaliatory tariffs on American spirits by the EU and UK. “The tariffs imposed from 2018-2021 as part of two separate disputes between the US, EU and UK have since been suspended or removed, presenting US spirits producers with an opportunity to recapture lost market share in some of the US’ largest export markets.”

In December 2023, the EU announced it would suspend its tariffs on American whiskey until March 31, 2025. This move quelled anxiety among US distillers who were facing the threat of these tariffs doubling to 50%.

While this suspension is welcome news, Maron urged the Biden administration to work towards the permanent removal of these tariffs, as the ongoing uncertainty continues to inhibit craft distillers from exporting.

US Spirit Exports Show Exceptional Growth 

American whiskey growth has contributed to the rise in export figures.

Over the past two decades, global US spirits exports have grown by 280%, a trend attributed to favorable trade agreements, tariff suspensions, the return of hospitality, and a shift by consumers to purchasing premium spirits.

American whiskey exports to the EU showed exceptional growth, increasing by more than 60% over the past two years, from $439 million to $705 million.

The EU continues to stand as the primary market for all US spirits exports, experiencing a notable 24% growth from the previous year to reach $883 million. Other significant markets included Canada ($262 million), Mexico ($139 million), Australia ($138 million), and the United Kingdom ($129 million).

The report also revealed that distilled spirits were exported from 45 states in 2023, with Tennessee leading the way at $983 million, followed by Kentucky ($505 million), and Florida ($338 million). 

Looking To The Future 

The record-breaking figures from 2023 offer a promising outlook for the US spirits industry, highlighting the potential for growth and expansion in the global market. As tariff suspensions continue and trade agreements evolve, the future looks bright for American spirits producers.

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