Page Loading

Export opportunity – North America – craft alcohol

Key details

Export opportunity: Craft alcohol

Region: North America

Sector: Food and drink

North America – craft alcohol opportunity summary 

North America is one of the most important markets for Scotland’s drinks industry. 

Many of Scotland’s Scotch whisky producers have already formed an import partnership or partnerships in North America. However, further growth is possible by developing new sales channels and partnerships in each state and province, and not just at the federal level. 

Beyond established whisky distilleries, alcohol companies looking to break into the market must gain an understanding of the conventional routes to market in North America, including information on Canada’s provincial monopolies, the United States' three-tier system and current consumer trends.  

Some drinks producers can take advantage of newer, distinctive supply chain routes with more simplified import structures, as well as ecommerce, which is a growing sales channel in the USA. 

Scale of export opportunity 

Drinks market analyst company IWSR highlights premiumisation as a driver of growth in some categories, in addition to sustainability and the global drive to net zero. 

The Distilled Spirits Council of the USA (DISCUS) notes that, since 2002, single malt volumes have gone up 201%. This is a trend it anticipates continuing through 2023. DISCUS also notes Scotch whisky being incorporated into highballs and cocktails by consumers and bartenders alike as another emerging trend. 

The volume of whisky sales in the USA in 2022 was 77.9 million nine-litre cases, and for gin it was 9.8 million nine-litre cases.  

Company suitability   

Scottish companies best positioned to win this type of business are:  

  • Alcohol producers with a high level of ambition and commitment to investment in branding, in-market brand activation, social media and online capabilities, which are key to success
  • Companies that are committed to understanding the complexities of exporting to North America
  • Companies with products in the following categories – whisky, craft spirits, ready-to-drink (RTD) products, craft beer and craft cider
  • Companies with experience in trading internationally

Register your interest

Get in touch with our in-market specialists to find out more about this export opportunity.

Register your interest