The EU’s spirits exports were worth EUR 9.07 billion in 2023, marking a decline of 7% compared with 2022, according to figures released earlier this year by spiritsEUROPE

The trade association still says that the EU spirits sector showed resilience in a tough year of geopolitical tensions and high inflation, noting that 2022 was very strong after borders and restaurants reopened.  

Grape and marc-based spirits accounted for 39% of exports, followed by whiskies with a 19% share, liqueurs and cordials with 17%, spirituous beverages and other categories with 11% and vodka with 10%.

The sector was buoyed by Asian markets, while the US recorded a 27% year-over-year drop. The US, however, remains by far the largest market for EU spirits, accounting for EUR 2.76 billion of the total exports. The decline is attributed to the reduction of overstocks built after the pandemic and rising living costs. 

Exports to China and the UK increased by 2% and 8% to EUR 889 million and EUR 852 million, respectively.

Across high-potential markets, India was up by 7% and the ASEAN countries overall by 10%, while Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America showed declines of 7% and 13%, respectively. 

The trade body notes that the growth of EU spirits exports is slowing down from 65% between 2011 and 2021 to 45% between 2013 and 2023 and calls for continued support from trade and promotion policies to open new markets and opportunities.