EU spirits exports increased by 24% in 2021 compared with the preceding year to reach a value of €8.41 billion, according to spiritsEUROPE, which represents producers of alcoholic spirits at EU level.
The current year is expected be far more challenging for the sector, according to spiritsEUROPE, as rising inflation and supply chain disruptions will impact production costs and demand in Europe and other regions of the world.
Pauline Bastidon, director of trade at spiritsEUROPE, added, “Early indications show that this positive trend also continued during the first months of 2022. However, supply chain disruptions and dramatic price increases for raw materials and energy – made worse by the war in Ukraine – could slow down future growth prospects significantly.
“Against this challenging economic background, our sector will need new export opportunities as well as stability in our relations with major trading partners.”
With exports valued at approximately €3.26 billion, the US remained the top export market for EU spirits.
It was followed by China, the UK and Singapore, which is a hub for the wider Asian region.
Minimise Potential Barriers
The group also emphasised that a stable and predictable relationship with major trading partners, including enhanced cooperation on regulatory matters, will be essential to minimise potential barriers affecting trade.
“We also need to focus on emerging markets, where future growth will materialise if trade barriers and protectionist measures can successfully be lowered, such as in India, ASEAN and Mercosur countries,” Bastidon added.
spiritsEUROPE has called on the EU to support companies’ efforts in diversification to enhance their resilience in a challenging trading environment, through trade negotiations and agreements, market access and enforcement efforts, and promotion activities.
It also highlighted that an ‘open and ambitious’ EU trade policy can help protect jobs rooted in European regions, while acting as an engine for higher production standards and sustainable development worldwide.
Bastidon explained, “Trade in spirits supports countless jobs – particularly in oftentimes disadvantaged rural areas, thanks to our impressive network of geographical indications.
“It also allows us to export best practices in terms of production standards and sustainability – contributing to rising standards around the world.”