Open global trade is both important for national economies and for the spirit drinks industry. Almost two-thirds of EU spirit drinks production is exported outside national borders making the EU the leading exporter of spirits worldwide and spirits the EU’s biggest agri-food export. Exports are especially important for countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.
Extra-EU-27 spirits exports
Spirits exports have grown by more than 70% over the past decade. In 2012 spirits export were valued at over €10 billion.
A 20% increase compared to 2011
A Top 10 non-EU export markets
In 2012, spirits were sold in 200 world markets. The United States was by far the most important export market and Russia, China and emerging economies confirmed their growing demand for EU spirits.
As in previous years, spirits exports in 2012 represent the biggest share of exports (47%) compared to wine (41%) and beer (12%).
EU-27 exports of spirits by category
In 2012, 44% of the total value of exported spirits was due to the whisky category which was the most exported spirit both in volume and value.
However, although vodka was the second most exported spirit volume wise it was ranked third in terms of value. Spirits distilled from grape wine or grape marc were second in terms of value with 26% of the total export value of spirits.
The volume of whisk(e)y exports have risen by more than 20%, vodka exports by over 50% and spirits distilled from grape wine or grape marc exports by around 30% over the past decade. Exports of the other spirit categories have largely remained stable.
Whisk(e)y is also the most exported spirit between Member States followed by spirits distilled from grape wine or grape marc.
In 2011, some €1.1 billion of spirits were imported into the EU from non-EU markets. Rum and whiskies made up the bulk of this value.
The import and export of spirits leads to a combined positive trade balance for the EU of over €9 billion in 2012 (compared to €7bn in 2011). It is especially the countries which export a much larger volume of spirits than they import, such as France, the United Kingdom and Sweden, which benefit substantially from this.