Exports success story of European distilled spirits continues, with growth of +5% in 2017

Brussels, 19 June 2018.  With a growth of +5%, 2017 was – once again – an excellent year for exports of European distillled spirits, according to data from the sector’s latest annual Trade Review published today in Brussels. Exports totalled €10.7 billion, roughly translating into average sales of around €1.2 million every hour. With spirits exports exceeding imports into the European Union (EU), the sector effectively generated next to €9 bn in net value.

Looking ahead, future growth will greatly depend on the EU’s capacity to conclude ambitious trade deals and open up new markets while defending Europe's interests by avoiding further escalation of tensions with leading trading partners.  

“Today’s results show just how much European spirit drinks are appreciated around the world. Wherever local economies grow and markets open, we see a rising demand for our whiskies, vodkas, cognacs or gins. As a true champion of free and fair trade, we very much value the Commission’s efforts to negotiate tariff removal and the elimination of non-tariff barriers. This helps European spirits companies, large and small, to be commercially successful abroad and raise awareness and appreciation of their brands. The benefits are manifold and substantial – and go well beyond our sector, including our suppliers, distributors, and customers around the globe,” said Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.

“Yet we cannot take any of this for granted. During the last months and days, the trade ‘narrative’ has become increasingly difficult, with fresh challenges emerging. Now, more than ever, is the moment to trust the value of rules-based trade relationships and the mutual benefits they create for those who engage in them. The success of Europe’s spirits sector shows that trade works. We therefore need an assertive, positive EU trade agenda that accelerates new trade negotiations with additional countries,” Adam added.

Marie Audren, Director, Trade & Economic Affaris of spiritsEUROPE added: “We also see a need for faster and more robust enforcement of rules already negotiated at WTO-level or in Free Trade Agreements. We therefore call on EU decision-makers to reallocate staff resources towards the trade agenda within the Commission.”

Moreover, Brexit has opened up a new complexity for the European spirit sector. We have shared links and interests with the UK, both human and corporate. The clock is still ticking, and we count on progress to be made at the next Council meeting on 28-29 June to preserve the prosperious trade flows and business links that unite the EU27 and the UK,” she said. 

Today’s launch event of spiritsEUROPE’s 2018 Trade Review on 19 June was opened by H.E. Everton Viera Vargas, Ambassador of Brazil, who shared his views and expectations on the MERCOSUR negotiations. Further speakers included Mr Angelos Pangratis from the European Commission who highlighted the progress made on the EU’s economic diplomacy strategy. MEP Christofer Fjellner shared his take-away messages as an active member in INTA over the last four years. Darya Galperina, Head of International Trade in Pernod Ricard presented the top challenges faced by one of the largest spirits exporter globally and François Collard from SOPEXA shared examples of successful trade promotion campaigns of spirits categories across the world.

Note to editors

  • spiritsEUROPE is the representative body for the spirits industry at European level comprising 31 associations and 8 multinationals:
  • Trade Review 2018 (click here for pdf)
  • Many quotes available in the Trade Review 2018 for you to pick from!
  • Programme of the launch event  – @spiritsEUROPE / #InTradeWeTrust


STAY CONNECTED: Keep up-to-date with spiritsEUROPE’s activities via our Twitter & Newsletter