Americans’ thirst for agave-based spirits clearly hasn’t waned.

CGA by NielsenIQ revealed the top three on-premise spirits categories in a recent report — and tequila is rapidly “closing the gap against vodka,” according to the data firm.

The latest research, which reflects on-premise data from the past 52 weeks, shows tequila’s “exceptional” growth among U.S. drinkers: The agave spirit category increased by an impressive 0.8 percentage points. Vodka, though retaining its status as the no. 2 category, decreased by 0.3 percentage points in share gain. Whiskey increased by 0.1 percent points in both share and trend, solidifying its status as the best-selling category on-premise.

While the consumer preference between vodka and tequila is narrowing, vodka still performs exceptionally well in some eastern states. Vodka’s volume share was higher in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina, and Florida. Data from Colorado, Georgia, California, and Louisiana, however, indicates higher interest in tequila.

“There are significant differences in the share growth across these key categories and notable performance differences within certain states across the U.S.,” CGA By NielsenIQ regional director Matthew Crompton says in the report.

The research also explored changing preferences in each subcategory. Tequila recorded growth across subtypes, including mezcal (up 26.6 percent), reposado (up 16 percent), and silver (up 7.3 percent). While orders of unflavored vodka increased by 2 percent, flavored varieties decreased 3.3 percent.

Over the past year, tequila has rapidly captured more market share and multiplied sales to compete with vodka’s long-standing popularity. On-premise tequila and mezcal sales increased by 17.2 percent in 2022 while vodka sales remained flat, per the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).

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