Summary of our market study

The French spirits market is worth around €8 billion.

The global spirits market has experienced moderate growth, with the Asia-Pacific market accounting for the bulk of demand.

By 2023, the global spirits market was estimated at145 billion dollars.

The French spirits market is facing a decline in sales volume, but value sales have increased due to higher prices and a preference for premium products.

With a strong focus on exports, whisky remains the most popular spirit in France, accounting for a significant share of the market.

The French industry is characterized by a mix of large international groups and small, specialized local distilleries, the latter becoming increasingly popular with French consumers.

Regulatory pressures have increased, with taxes accounting for a significant proportion of production costs.

E-commerce remains a relatively modest distribution channel and is set to grow.

France exports far more spirits than it imports, and the United States is the main export destination.

Demand for spirits in France: upmarket growth and declining volumes

In the French spirits market - distilled beverages, or "eaux-de-vie", such as vodka, gin, whisky and tequila, and spirits composed of aromatic substances - demand is moving towards the high-end. The domestic market is experiencing a decline in the volume of spirits sold, from almost 383 million liters to a forecast range of between 370 and 375 million liters in 2023. Average annual consumption per person over the age of 15 remains relatively high, at between 2.3 and 2.4 liters.

Whisky is the leading spirit consumed, accounting for almost half of sales by value and around 41% by volume.

The French market is also characterized by strong demand for aniseed-flavored spirits, such as the famous Pastis, which account for 22% of consumption.

Rum and white spirits such as tequila, gin and vodka together account for around 20% of spirits consumption.

Rum is the fastest-growing category, with a significant average annual growth rate of 4.7%. Brandy and cognac face a downward trend of around 2% a year. Liqueurs are down by around 1% a year.

82% of 18-24 year-olds say they consume cocktails or spirits. Older people say they consume less

The French spirits market is characterized by the presence of a wide variety of players,

International spirits giants

  • Diageo: a world leader renowned for its vast brand portfolio.
  • Pernod Ricard Groupe holds a significant position in the French spirits market.
  • La Martiniquaise : a major national player with a strong presence in France.

Niche players

  • Courvoisier: World-renowned cognac specialist
  • Distillerie Jean Chatel is a well-known player for its local distillery, responding to growing consumer demand for specialized, artisanal spirits.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market summary

1.1 Definition and presentation

A spirit drink is an alcoholic beverage obtained by distillation of agricultural raw materials.Among spirits, two segments can be distinguished:

  • simple" spirits or "eaux-de-vie" (this category includes vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, etc.)
  • compound" spirits obtained by adding an aromatic substance to a brandy or neutral alcohol (this category includes liqueurs, aniseed-flavored spirits, etc.)

In 2022, the global spirits market was estimated at 143.31 billion dollars. After a year of recovery in 2021, market growth is expected to accelerate to US$208.84 billion in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 8%, driven mainly by demand from Asia-Pacific.

The French market has faced significant challenges in recent years, not least consumers' growing concern for their health. With alcohol consumption in volume terms declining steadily since the 1960s, the spirits market can nonetheless count on several levers for growth, in particular dynamic exports and market premiumization.

The French market is organized around two main types of player. On the one hand, there are major international groups (specialized or not) in spirits production. On the other, there are many small and medium-sized producers or local distilleries who specialize in one type of spirit, a type of production that is increasingly in demand in France.

The year 2020 saw a drop in sales, linked to the Covid-19 epidemic and reinforced by the restrictive regulatory framework that weighed down exports. However, the overall recovery was faster than expected in 2021-2022, and the outlook for the sector is positive. Growth has been driven in particular by the development of the sector's increasingly high-end segment, as well as the resilience of white spirits.

1.2 Global market growth

In ****, the global spirits market was estimated at ***.** billion dollars. After a year of recovery in ****, market growth is expected to accelerate to ***.** billion US dollars by ****, with a compound annual growth rate of *%.

World spirits market size World, ****-*****, in billions of US dollars Source: ****

The global market is mainly ...

1.3 The French spirits market

Spirits production

In ****, the French spirits market will amount to **.* billion euros. [***]

In addition, economic activity relating to spirits is recorded under code **.**Z: Production of distilled alcoholic beverages. [***]

The annual sales indices provided by Insee can be used to estimate sales trends in the sector. For example, for ****, market sales ...

1.4 International trade

In ****, France exported spirits worth *.** billion euros. However, in ****, after five years of uninterrupted growth, French spirits exports came to an abrupt halt.under the combined effect of the US taxes imposed on French wines since the end of **** and the Covid-** epidemic.

French spirits exports France, ****-****, in millions of ...

1.5 The effect of the Covid-19 epidemic

The Covid-** epidemic has not spared players in the spirits market, with sales plummeting to their lowest level since April ****. The postponement of purchases in supermarkets and hypermarkets has not been able to offset the losses in cafés, hotels and restaurants.

Monthly sales index for the spirits market (***) France, ****-****, ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Profile analysis: The French consumer

Consumption of spirits has fallen sharply in recent years. In ** years, per capita consumption of pure alcohol has fallen from *.** liters per person in **** to *.* liters per person in ****, under the influence of public policies to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol. Spirits consumers are becoming increasingly reasonable, and are ...

2.2 Demand drivers

The economic difficulties brought about by the health crisis have heightened the attention paid by the French to the quality/price ratio and promotions applied to spirits. This increased focus on budget does not, however, seem to be at the expense of the quality of spirits purchased by the French, as ...

2.3 New consumer trends

Growing interest in cocktails

Cocktail consumption is indeed a catalyst for spirits demand, and has been growing in recent years. According to a survey conducted in ****, **% of French people were consuming spirits in cocktails. Furthermore, in ****, **% of those surveyed said they were interested in mixology, down * points on ****. [***] This is a ...

2.4 The French's relationship with leading spirits: the French's favourite brands

Opinion Way's **** survey of French consumers' favorite brands gives us a clearer picture of their favorite spirits. The podium is made up of Martini in *st position (***). The distribution between the different categories of spirits seems relatively equitable, with a preference for liqueurs and other spirits, and the bottom of the ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value chain

The French spirits industry is made up of several types of players involved in one or more stages of the value chain. The value chain comprises * main phases:

The first is the extraction of agricultural raw materials, such as absinthe, sugarcane, potatoes, cereals or beet. These raw materials are then processed ...

3.2 Key industry players

In France, Pernod Ricard (***).[***]

Other major players in the French spirits market include Moët Hennessy (***).

In ****, the top-selling brands by value in supermarkets and hypermarkets were Ricard (***) and Jack Daniels.

Ranking of spirits brands by volume sales in supermarkets France, ****, in millions of liters Source: ****

Furthermore, the brands with the ...

3.3 Distribution

In ****, sales of spirits in the on-trade reached **.* million liters, while sales in supermarkets totalled *** million liters. The main distribution channels are hyper- and supermarkets, which in **** accounted for three-quarters of the volume of spirits and champagne sales in supermarkets. It is important to note, however, the meteoric rise of sales ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Product overview

The Fédération Française des Spiritueux identifies ** categories of spirit drinks, the main ones being :

Aniseed and absinthe Armagnac, cognac and wine spirits Brandy Calvados, cider and perry brandies Fruit creams Fruit brandies Grape marc brandies Juniper and gins Gentian and bitters Liqueurs Rum Tequila and mezqual Vodka ...

4.2 Price analysis

The curve below highlights the premiumization of the French spirits market, with prices up **% in ** years. What's more, the sharp rise in **** is the result of the Egalim law of October ****, which raised the prices of certain spirits by between *% and *%. As distributors need to better remunerate farmers and producers, they ...

4.3 High taxation

The chart above illustrates the breakdown of taxes on spirits. The total tax on a spirit sold for €**.* is €**.**.

Taxes on spirits are revalued each year in line with inflation. With **% of tax receipts for just **% of the volume of pure alcohol released for consumption in France, the industry is subject ...

4.4 Emerging supply trends

An increasingly intoxicant-friendly offering

Thespirits industry is at a crucial turning point in terms of eco-responsibility. Major houses such as Martell, Hennessy and Rémy Martin are leading innovative initiatives, such as testing disease-resistant grape varieties and environmental certifications, to promote sustainable viticulture. Small producers such as Vivant, with its certified ...

5 Rules and regulations

5.1 An increasingly strict regulatory framework

France is concerned by European regulations. In particular, the following regulations are central:

Regulation (***) No ***/**** of the European Parliament and of the European Council of January **, **** on the definition, description, presentation, labeling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks related regulations ****/*** and ***/**** update the aforementioned framework

In addition, there ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

This section seeks to analyze the various players in the spirits industry. Broadly speaking, we can differentiate these companies by classifying them into three main categories, presented below:

  • Diageo
  • La Martiniquaise Bardinet
  • Distillerie Jean Chatel
  • Coquerel Distillerie
  • Vinet Delpech
  • Bacardi
  • Pernod Ricard Groupe
  • Beam Suntory
  • Campari France Distribution
  • Marie Brizard Wine And Spirit
  • Giffard
  • Moët Hennessy (MHCS LVMH)
  • Dom Pérignon (LVMH groupe)
  • Champagne Ruinart (Groupe MHCS)
  • Hennessy
  • Champagne Mercier (Groupe MHCS)
  • Belvedere Vodka
  • Calvados Roger Groult
  • La Chartreuse Diffusion
  • Stock Spirits (CVC Partners)
  • Campari
  • BBC Spirits

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Size of the global spirits market
  • Breakdown of spirits production in the European Union, out of total sales of €5.5 billion
  • Size of the French spirits market
  • Sales of spirits in supermarkets
  • Spirits consumption per person
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Latest news

Diageo regains control of its premium spirits in France - 08/02/2024
  • Diageo, world leader in spirits, creates its subsidiary in France
  • Diageo takes over direct sales of the majority of the brands it has distributed since the 2000s via MHD (Moët Hennesssy Diageo) in France.
  • Only three of its brands are marketed via MHD in France: Johnny Walker, J & B, and Gordon's gin.
  • The UK's Diageo is present in France with a market share of 7.9%.
  • Diageo's total sales are 20.5 billion euros, two-thirds of which come from the premium spirits segment.
  • In this segment, its market share in France is just 3.6%.
  • The Group has a much higher market share in other countries: 47% in Greece, 24.4% in Spain and 13.7% in Italy.
  • The transfer of MHD (Moët Hennesssy Diageo) brands to the new Diageo subsidiary in France will begin in March 2024
  • Diageo plans to develop its tequila offer in particular, with the Don Julio brand.
  • Two exclusive distributors are planned for sales to wine merchants: Dugas for Tanqueray gin, Tekel One vodka and a range of pure malt whiskies; and La Maison du Whisky for Don Julio tequila.
BBC Spirits adds German mixer to its portfolio - 31/01/2024
  • -BBC Spirits and Thomas Henry have formed a partnership.
  • - BBC Spirits was previously the distributor for The Artisan tonic, and will now handle Thomas Henry for all circuits.
  • - Thomas Henry is an independent brand founded in Berlin in 2010, and offers a complete range of premium mixers.
  • - The Thomas Henry range includes products such as Tonic Water, Botanical Tonic, Bitter Lemon and Ginger Ale.
  • - BBC Spirits was founded in Bordeaux in 2010.
  • - BBC Spirits is an importer, distributor and brand creator.
  • - The BBC Spirits portfolio comprises over 300 premium products, including Etsu Japanese gin, the Lokita tequila & mezcal range, Bocatheva Caribbean rums, Kiyomi Japanese rum and Japanese liqueurs such as La Yuzu.
  • - BBC Spirits has strong partnerships with renowned brands such as Kurayoshi, Fercullen, Casa Tarasco, Goalong, Casa Lumbre and Lyre's.
How India is becoming Pernod Ricard's whisky paradise - 22/01/2024
  • Pernod Ricard aims to accelerate its presence in India.
  • The French giant, which occupies a leading position in the sub-continent
  • Strong growth in the Indian whisky market.
  • In the entry-level whisky segment, the group owns Royal Stag and Imperial Blue - two brands produced in India that rank among the top 5 best-selling whiskies in the country. It also owns several high-end brands: Chiva's Regal, Ballantine's and Glenlivet - imported whiskies that carry a 150% surtax.
  • India accounts for 10% of the Group's total sales, or around 1.2 billion euros.
  • A major market for the Group behind the United States.
  • Consumption of imported whiskies and high-end Indian single malts is booming.
  • Scotch imports are set to double between 2020 and 2022,
  • India is the leading export market for Scottish brands.
  • Sales of Indian single malt rose by 144% between 2021 and 2022.
  • Local brands owned by the French giant account for 85% of sales by value. Imports of foreign brands account for the remaining 15%.
  • Pernod Ricard has 27 factories across the country.

The trials and tribulations of Pernod Ricard to create the first whisky "made in China" - 17/12/2023
  • Pernod Ricard inaugurates the country's first whisky distillery
  • Pernod Ricard plans to invest 150 million euros over ten years in this project.
  • Market launch of the first bottles of The Chuan, the first pure malt made in China.
  • Bottles are priced between 115 and 190 euros, depending on the degree of alcohol (40, 46 or 60 degrees) and the type of aging.
  • Pernod Ricard's Chinese subsidiary accounts for 10% of group sales
  • Pernod Ricard is the world's second-largest spirits company, and already owns some 50 whiskies (including Chivas, Ballantine's, The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Royal Salute, Jameson and Jefferson's),
  • The Chinese spirits market remains 97% dominated by Baijiu (sorghum-based alcohol).
  • Western spirits share the remaining 3%, starting with cognac (a market worth 3.2 billion euros, according to specialist consultancy IWSR) and whisky (1.2 billion euros).
  • The Emeishan distillery is located on the Mount Emei road, used by millions of Chinese tourists throughout the year. Pernod Ricard expects two million visitors within the next ten years.

Never full of acquisitions, Campari ready to revive Courvoisier cognac - 16/12/2023
  • campari, the group that owns the Grand Marnier liqueur and the Aperol aperitif, is negotiating with Japan's Beam Suntory to acquire 100% of its Courvoisier cognac for 1.1 billion euros, i.e. almost 5 times sales (230 million euros by 2022).
  • Beam Suntory's strategy is to refocus on its premium whiskies (American bourbons, Japanese whiskies, etc.).
  • Campari generates sales of 2.7 billion euros
  • Half of the growth in recent years has come from acquisitions: Grand Marnier (2016), Trois Rivières rums (2019), Lallier champagne (2020), Picon liqueur in 2022.
  • The Italian group has made seven acquisitions in six years in France
  • The United States, Campari's biggest market
  • To grow in China, where Campari is weak, you need a cognac
  • alongside Martell (Pernod-Ricard), Hennessy (LVMH) and Rémy Martin (Rémy Cointreau), Courvoisier is the fourth-largest player in this Charentais spirit, with a 5% global market share. 50% of its sales are made in China, where the local spirit, baijiu, remains ultra-dominant (97% of the local market by volume).
  • Imported cognacs and whiskies have been in vogue for the past decade. Pernod Ricard, Diageo and LVMH take the lion's share.
  • In the United States, Campari already generates nearly 30% of its business.
  • Aperol leads Campari's sales (25% of sales in the first nine months of 2023).
  • Sales of Wild Turkey bourbon, acquired from Pernod Ricard in 2009, have more than tripled.

Campari falls for Courvoisier, venerable Cognac house - 15/12/2023
  • Campari is in exclusive negotiations to acquire 100% of Beam Holding France, owner of the Courvoisier premium cognac brand.
  • Fixed purchase price: $1.2 billion
  • Campari acquired American bourbon producer Wilderness Trail Distillery LLC in 2022
  • Campari had also acquired Grand Marnier in 2016, Bisquit Dubouché in 2017, Trois Rivières and La Mauny in 2019, Champagne Lallier in 2020 and Picon in 2022.
  • Founded in 1860, Campari is present in over 190 markets with a portfolio of more than fifty brands

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Diageo
La Martiniquaise Bardinet
Distillerie Jean Chatel
Coquerel Distillerie
Vinet Delpech
Bacardi
Pernod Ricard Groupe
Beam Suntory
Campari France Distribution
Marie Brizard Wine And Spirit
Giffard
Moët Hennessy (MHCS LVMH)

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