China and the United States are the market leadersAlthough global alcohol revenue has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, the market has rebounded from its 2020 low by 16 percent. The spirits segment accounts for the largest share of sales buoyed by the massive Chinese market, with baijiu being the sales leader. Not surprisingly, it is also China that has the largest overall contribution to alcoholic beverage revenue in the world, although the United States is not far behind. While beer was the largest share of the U.S. market for many years, spirits have overtaken there as well. Wine is the only market segment that is not currently dominated by Chinese sales. The United States recorded over 52 billion dollars in revenue in 2022, twice that of China which ranked second. Wine production largely remains in the traditional European countries of Italy, France, and Spain.
Consumers are diverseWhen it comes to per-capita consumption, neither the Americans not the Chinese are the leaders. Instead, it is the Baltic states of Lithuania and Estonia. Lithuanians drink 135 liters on average per years and Estonians 120 liters. In contrast, Americans consume 79 liters on average and the Chinese just 28. The Czech Republic, which ranked just behind Estonia is the leading consumer of beer in the world, by a wide margin. Consumers in the nation drank 184 liters of the beverage annually, nearly double that of Austria, the second on the list. Wine consumption centered in the regions most known for production with Portugal in the lead at 52 liters per person. France and Italy followed with roughly 47 liters each. Regarding spirits, Japan was the standout, with consumers there drinking nearly 22 liters per year.
While markets have seen fluctuations in the past several years, and changing tastes are beginning to ripple into broader trends, the biggest consumers and producers have retained their places in the industry. It remains to be seen if new trends will transform the current dynamic in a lasting way.