Global alcohol consumption declines 1.6% from year prior, analysis says

A new analysis found worldwide alcohol consumption declined 1.6 percent in 2018, compared to 2017.

The analysis, published by IWSR, revealed that the consumption of whiskey and agave-based spirits grew but sales of wine and beer were down. The analysis also found that consumption of mixed drinks, such as cocktails, and cider grew. Alcoholic seltzer drinks were especially popular in the U.S., the analysis stated.

Gin led in global growth and had the largest gain in consumption in 2018.

Despite wine and beer consumption dropping, the analysis predicted beer consumption will rebound in 2019 and the value of wine will increase. Wine consumption in markets such as France and Germany declined, but consumers were drinking better wine thus “pushing wine value to increase,” the analysis found.

Cane spirits, vodka and liquor continued to decline but high-priced vodka showed promise. The future didn’t look positive for consumption of cane spirits, which are expected to decline.

The analysis discovered sales of low- and nonalcoholic-drinks were on the rise.

“Growth of no-alcohol beer is expected at 8.8 percent, and low-alcohol beer at 2.8 percent. No-alcohol still wine is forecasted at 13.5 percent, and low-alcohol still wine at 5.6 percent,” the analysis found.

The top ten-fastest growing markets of alcohol markets included India, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines.


Despite global consumption falling, ISWR predicted the “total alcohol consumption” will continue to increase over the next five years from 27.6 billion cases in 2018 to 28.5 billion cases in 2023.

“In terms of retail value, the global market for beverage alcohol in 2018 was just over $1 trillion, a number which the IWSR expects to grow 7 percent by 2023 as consumers continue to trade up to higher-quality products,” IWSR said in a news release.