The infographics below are derived from data contained in
BMC's DrinkTell™ Database with Market Forecasts


You've gotta love the news. The entertainment value is first rate. Who needs alternative facts when the real facts are such a hoot. And fiction is so much tamer. Case in point, The Financial Times (and multiple other sources) reported at the end of last week that European Union officials have been putting together a list of products to target as a counter to the U.S. Administration's plans to limit steel imports. The justification on this side of the pond is national security concerns. But EU officials scoff at the notion that imports from the EU threaten U.S. security.

The righteous squeals of pain we're hearing are from groups representing the targeted products. According to The Financial Times the products include whiskey, orange juice and dairy products. Ouch, beverage. Ouch, Bourbon. Ouch, us here tending to DrinkTell™.

You could say this is all pretty petty bickering compared to the good old days when Harry Truman nationalized the steel industry. The Supreme Court spanked Harry and said 'No' and the country had to endure a lengthy strike that was eventually settled on exactly the same terms that the strikers originally proposed. But what's the point of anything unless you flex your muscles first?

The Distilled Spirits Council responded quickly to EU statements, pointing out that a good deal of effort and money had gone into the development of complementary EU and U.S. portfolios. Retaliation, they argued, would hurt everyone—consumers, producers, and governments. We decided to look at this through the lens of DISCUS export data sourced from Customs Bureau customs service data and DrinkTell™ global spirits consumption data. First, here are the six (or five plus a ringer) EU countries that drank the most Bourbon in 2015.

We left the UK on our chart despite that country's official March 29, 2017 Brexit pullout. How Brexit relates to the trade war drums the U.S. Administration (and now the EU) are beating is murky at best. Close runners up to the countries in the stacked bar chart are Italy, Poland and Belgium—none of which are slouches when it comes to Bourbon. DISCUS total U.S. spirits exports to the EU in 2016 were valued at $654 million; Bourbon whiskey accounted for 20 percent of that total. (We used 2015 data for the stacked bar chart because 2016 data was incomplete.)

Turning to DrinkTell™, we looked at 2015 spirits consumption for those same six countries. They are not the six countries that consume more spirits than any others. Those are

China, Russia, Japan, India, the U.S., and North Korea. But our Bourbon drinkers do drink a lot of total spirits. Anyway you look at, DrinkTell™ lets us know their combined share of global spirits consumption in 2015 was over 5%.

Worth a trade war? That's not our bailiwick. But definitely worth a fight. Data like that found in DrinkTell™ helps make that plain. For questions about this column or to look at our DrinkTell™ database yourself just give us a call. To order a BMC U.S. Wine, Beer, or Spirits Guide, 2017 edition, just click below.

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