Most people associate luxury spirits with prestige brands of whisky or cognac, and they would be right. Last year, those two subcategories accounted for 45% of the global retail sales value of luxury spirits, according to the latest data from Euromonitor International. However, some of the most disruptive market momentum in luxury spirits is coming not from whisky or cognac, but from Mexico’s agave-based spirit, tequila.
In the eyes of many, tequila is an unlikely luxury product. As a category, it has often struggled in Western markets because of a rather boozy, head-banging image. Yet, tequila has been reinventing itself of late, driven by a growing number of super-premium boutique brands that are more about sipping and savouring than slamming. It helps too that a cluster of these brands are owned, or part-owned, by big-name celebrities, including George Clooney, P Diddy (Sean Combs) and Justin Timberlake. In the US especially, high-end tequilas are now among the fastest-growing brands in luxury alcoholic drinks.
Luxury Spirits: Share of Global Retail Value by Subcategory 2014
Source: Euromonitor International
Note: Shares based on global retail sales in US dollars at fixed 2014 exchange rates