Spirit exports out of the United States showed remarkably optimistic growth in 2022, reaching record highs after several difficult years during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total value of U.S. spirits exports hit a record-breaking high of $2.06 billion last year, according to a new report from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The value of all exported spirits increased by 30 percent year-over-year.

Credit: DISCUS

One significant contributor to last year’s success is the temporary lift on retaliatory tariffs from the European Union and the United Kingdom, which were paused in 2022. Tariffs on whiskey were lifted for a minimum of two years, and vodka, rum, and brandy tariffs were paused for at least five. While this was especially helpful in recovering the international whiskey trade, this spirits category has yet to rebound to the same export value as prior to the tariffs’ imposition.

Credit: DISCUS

American whiskey exports grew in value by 32 percent (total $1.28 billion) compared to 2021. The category makes up 62 percent of all spirits exports. Other notable exports include rum, brandy, gin, vodka, and liqueur — all of which contributed to the strong growth last year, according to DISCUS.

Credit: DISCUS

“While U.S. spirits exports tumbled between 2018 and 2021, due largely to retaliatory tariffs on American spirits imposed by the E.U. and the U.K, the latest export data show that U.S. exports have rebounded to a record high following the suspension of the tariffs,” DISCUS vice president of international trade Rob Maron states in the release.

Some 34 percent of shipments — valued at $703 million — went to the E.U., the largest market for U.S. spirits exports. Other significant markets included Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan.

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