In 2001 US wine consumption (liters per capita) ranked last when compared to other countries with tangible wine productions. France (56.9 lpc), Portugal (50.0 lpc) and Italy (50.0 lpc), rounded out the top of the list while the US finished at the bottom with only 7.6 liters per capita consumed.
The New York Post reports today, despite the countries abysmal economic year, it sits on pace to become the world’s largest wine consumer – US wine prices tend to be double to triple of those in France and Italy.
This new trend in American consumption does not come without its pitfalls, most notably for hard spirit distillers who are fearful that the change will encroach on their profits. Distilled spirit sales are estimated to have fallen by 12.5 percent this year. Fortune Brands – producer of Jim Beam and Canadian Club – reported a 41 percent drop in profits.
On the opposite side, Constellation Brands, the world’s most formidable wine company, quoted a 50 percent spike in profits for the first quarter.