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Research Shows the Current State of The Straight Whiskey Market

Research Shows the Current State of The Straight Whiskey Market

Marina Velez | January 22, 2024

The American Straights category continued to grow in 2022 despite increasing competition from the Tequila and Ready-to-Drink (RTDs) segments. The category experienced growth of 4.1% in 2022, selling more than 29.9 million cases. The category has been increasing at an average rate of 5.8% in the last five years, now claiming a 10.3% share of the entire Distilled Spirits market.

Key trends of premiumization and consumers’ increasing knowledge of whiskey have attributed to this growth increase. The rising consumption of straights is likely to continue as more consumers learn about whiskey and are exposed to different product offerings. However, after several years as the second-largest spirits category after vodka, straights are now the third-largest category after being surpassed by the meteoric growth of RTDs.

The top five suppliers in the category control 85.4% of the market in terms of volume. This was an overall decrease of 1.6% from a year prior as brands from outside the main suppliers became more prominent. The top two suppliers, Beam Suntory, and Brown-Forman Corp., held a combined 57.9% share of the market.

Two of the top straight brands ranked within the top 10 of the leading 150 distilled spirits we track— Jim Beam (No.7) and Jack Daniel’s (No.10), while Evan Williams (No.17), Maker’s Mark (No.26) and Bulleit Bourbon (No.38) all have spots with the top 50. Ole Smoky achieved significant gains to climb to the No.51 position which is not surprising as flavors stood out as a trend driving growth for many brands in 2022.

Ole Smoky Moonshine encapsulates the immense consumer demand for flavored alcohol options. “Our Salty Caramel Whiskey is a top seller, and we’ve now become one of the fastest-growing flavored whiskey brands in the U.S.,” says Will Ensign, VP of Marketing. “The launch of our Peanut Butter Whiskey in 2020 was a remarkable success, and we made a bigger push in 2021 and 2022. We introduced a number of innovative, great-tasting new products last year, including our Moonshine Pineapples and Banana Pudding Cream Moonshine. Both products had proven success in our distilleries before being launched into broader wholesale distribution.”


 **If you would like to read the full description and understand the complete state of the Straight Whiskey category, please visit the 2023 Liquor Handbook for more information.**

about the author

Marina Velez

Research Director, EPG Specialty Information

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