By Beverage Alcohol Team September 3, 2012
According to the latest Nielsen Spirits report just released, total U.S. Distilled Spirits sales continued to advance, up +4.3% on value and +2.6% on volume for the 4-week period ending 8/18/2012 within Nielsen's Expanded All Outlet channels along with its Liquor, Convenience, and Military Exchange channels..  Over the last 13 weeks, percentage gains were +4.9% and +3.8% respectively.  This total U.S. trend excludes the impact of Washington State Spirits sales, since up until June 1, Spirits were only sold in state stores not measured by Nielsen, but since then are now being measured within a variety of Nielsen measured channels.

Spirit sales continue to exhibit mid-single digit range increases, with favorable price/mix, resulting in an average equivalent 750 ml price gain of close to $0.19 in the latest four week period vs year ago versus last year. While all price segments reported sales gains, the strongest overall lifts continue to source from Premium and Ultra-Premium Spirit segments. Flavors, especially across Vodka and North American Whiskeys, continue to be a growth engine, but at the same time, it is noteworthy that the comparable "Unflavored" segment in aggregate continues to grow as well.

Drilling down further, segments (in order of dollar size) providing the most favorable tailwinds include;
Vodka - the largest sub-category, continues to expand, up 6.2% on dollars for the latest 4 weeks, and 7.2% for the latest quarter . 
Bourbon - contributing strong double-digit gains, up 10.7% on dollars for the latest 4 weeks, and 11.1% for the latest quarter.    
Canadian Whisky - picking up steam, now up around 6% on dollars for both the latest 4 weeks and latest quarter .        
Single Malt Scotch - in the 9% growth range on dollars for both the latest 4 weeks and latest quarter .        
Irish Whiskey - while a smaller segment, leading all others in growth, up 24.1% on dollars for the latest 4 weeks, and 26.7% for the latest quarter.

By bottle size, overall 750 ml size segment is outgrowing the 1.75l segment by a considerable margin. +8.8% versus +1.7% over the latest quarter on dollars