Wines and Spirits: Japanese Whisky Takes a Prominent Place in the United States

After decades of discretion, Japanese whisky is finally gaining global recognition for its masterful flavors. Global demand is high, and prices are reflecting that. The beverage delivery platform Drizly recently conducted a survey aiming to explain this phenomenon.


The market share of Japanese whisky in the United States remains modest in comparison to Scotch and bourbon. However, the average price per bottle continues to rise on Drizly. The beverage delivery platform recently conducted a study aiming to explore why American consumers have such a strong interest in Japanese whisky.


According to Drizly, the market share of this category has held steady at around 4% over the past five years. Nevertheless, the platform noted that the average price per bottle has increased from $78.77 in 2019 to $87.65 in 2023, illustrating a trend toward an increased preference among American consumers for high-quality products from Japan.


“Despite the cooling of premiumization in other categories, consumers continue to spend more per bottle in this category,” said Liz Paquette, Head of Consumer Insights at Drizly.


Sales of Japanese whisky on the platform exhibit seasonal fluctuations, with a notable increase during the holiday season when gift-giving is in trend. In December of last year, the share of this category rose to represent 4.6% of total whisky sales on the platform.


Over the past 12 months, gift-related purchases accounted for 29% of Japanese whisky sales on the platform, compared to 16% for the entire whisky category. In December, the proportion of Japanese whisky sales attributed to gifts even reached 43%.


Emerging brands


The five most popular Japanese whisky brands on Drizly are Hibiki, The Yamazaki, Toki, Nikka, and Hakushu. Among these brands, the average price per bottle shows significant variation, ranging from $38.88 for Toki to $229.80 for The Yamazaki. It is interesting to note that Suntory, the Japanese beverage distribution company, is responsible for producing four of the top five brands in this category on Drizly.



“Toki has surpassed Nikka, with an average unit price of $88.68, to claim the third spot this year, indicating a growing popularity of more affordable options in this premium category,” explained Liz Paquette.


However, Japanese whiskies still have a long way to go. In the ranking of the top 10 fastest-growing whisky products on Drizly, the Lagavulin Offerman Edition Double Charred 11-Year-Old takes the top position, followed by The Macallan Harmony Collection Intense Arabica. Finally, Bob Dylan’s 10-Year-Old Heaven’s Door Bourbon ranks third.



Key markets


The top three markets for whisky sales on Drizly are New York City, Denver, and New Jersey, with Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta also among the top 10 markets on the platform for alcohol sales.


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Featured photo : ©Suntory

Picture of Hugues Reydellet
Hugues Reydellet
Hugues Reydellet is a young and passionate journalist whose favorite subjects are economy, culture, gastronomy, but also cars, and sports. With a sharp pen and an insatiable curiosity, Hugues is constantly on the lookout for new hot information to report.

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