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Datamyne Resource Center

Covering trade & transport, with tips on using import-export data to advantage

Are Tennessee Whiskey Exports Tapping out Supplies?

Category: Exports, Trade Data

Global demand is on the rise for whiskey, especially Tennessee whiskey, the fastest-growing category. Sales, foreign and domestic, are outpacing production at least 2 to 1, reports The Tennesseean – and the production process (requiring two-years of aging, at minimum) can’t be quickly ramped up.

Whiskies are enjoying a renaissance in the US, after ceding share to vodka, tequila and rum beginning in the 1980s. The losing trend began to reverse in 2009, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS), and domestic sales were up over 10% last year.

But the big growth has been in exports. A series of free trade agreements has swept away duties on distilled spirits imported from the US in key overseas markets. At the same time, the US has included recognition of Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the US among its FTA terms – limiting sales of any products labeled as such to spirits distilled in the US in compliance with US regulation. Under NAFTA, for example, Canada and Mexico recognize the US whiskies, while the US recognizes Canadian Whisky and Mexico’s Tequila and Mezcal. Last year, Brazil and the US sealed a similar deal, with Brazil recognizing Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey, while the US now designates Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil.

DISCUS says that bourbon and Tennessee whiskey exports exceeded $1 billion last year. The trade data shows whiskies, Harmonized System code 220830, account for the biggest share of US exports of spirits. Here are breakouts by value and volume of first-quarter exports:

US Exports HS 2208 SPIRITS  1Q14 share by value

US Exports HS 2208 SPIRITS  1Q14 share by volume

The whiskies of HS 220830 include bourbon and Tennessee whiskey (as well as rye). Five-year data for the 10-digit codes unique to these distinct products yields the market trajectory for each – and a clear picture of the spike in demand that threatens to produce a shortage of Tennessee Whiskey.

US Exports of Bourbon Volume and Value 2009-13


US Exports of Whiskey Volume & Value 2009-13

More data:

Datamyne’s free report on US exports and imports of distilled spirits in first-quarter 2014 provides volumes and values for each 10-digit HS code in this product category.  Click here to download the pdf.


Date posted: June 12, 2014


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