What you need to know

The white spirits market is defined by the long-lasting popularity of vodka, tequila’s ascent and the exciting innovation coming from gin brands. White spirit brands will face challenges, as the pandemic wiped away on-premise revenues and financially stressed consumers retreated to brands they know and trust. However, financially secure consumers will treat themselves to new spirits and create cocktails at home, presenting new opportunities for white spirit brands. Brands have the opportunity to create products that appeal to the new consumer drinking behaviors established during the pandemic.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the white spirit market

  • Changes in consumer spending habits due to the recession

  • The growing popularity of tequila and gin

  • Opportunities in spirit product development


This Report covers the US white spirits market. Dollar sales data in this Report includes all distilled spirits segments (dark and white), while volume sales data solely covers white spirits. The white spirits volume sales data includes the following:

  • Vodka

  • Gin

  • Tequila

  • Rum

For the purposes of market sizing, white and dark rum are combined into one category. The consumer survey section of this Report covers white rum. Similarly, tequila includes all tequila types (eg blanco, joven, añejo) and styles (eg mezcal).

This Report primarily focuses on the at-home consumption of white spirits, though the market size and forecast include sales of white spirits on- and off-premise. While this Report touches on some on-premise alcohol trends, for an in-depth analysis of alcohol on-premise, please see Foodservice Alcohol Trends – US, October 2020.

Spirit-based RTD cocktails are discussed within the Report but are excluded from market size and not analyzed in depth. For more information on RTD cocktails, please see RTD Alcoholic Beverages – US, December 2020.

This Report excludes the following categories, which are covered in Mintel’s Dark Spirits – US, November 2020 Report:

  • Whiskey, which includes the following subsegments: American Kentucky bourbon, American Tennessee whiskey, other American whiskeys (straight, blended, malt or non-malt), American rye whiskey, Scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, Canadian whiskey, white whiskey/moonshine, flavored whiskey

  • Brandy and cognac, as well as Armagnac

COVID-19: Market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic, and on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US.

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April and remained in place through May, and in some cases June. During this time, referred to as lockdown, nonessential businesses and school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations.

During re-emergence, all 50 states have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. This included reintroducing dine-in service both indoors and outdoors at limited capacity in most states. The continued spread of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans, such as major urban markets re-suspending or delaying indoor dining service. Mintel anticipates the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021, until a vaccine is available.

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