Specialty spirits are region-specific, traditional alcoholic drinks. Báijiu in China, shochu in Japan, soju in South Korea, raki in Turkey, and cachaça in Brazil are a few popular specialty tipples in the global market, among which báijiu is prominently purchased and consumed. The Chinese consumer is gravitating toward imported spirits and the competition is stiff thanks to a multitude of products. Drinks such as shochu and soju are also catching on with consumers around the world due to clever advertising and product placements. The specialty spirits market is expected to expand in the next few years due to a growing demand from the developing countries in Asia Pacific. The strong restriction on the advertisement of alcoholic drinks in many countries has not hampered this market. For instance, Chinese drink báijiu is popular among consumers in the U.S. and its demand is anticipated to increase significantly in the near future. Many Asian restaurants serve báijiu with traditional foods to their customers. With its alcohol content being similar to that of vodka, flavored varieties such as pear and cinnamon tickle epicurean palates. It is becoming easier to find specialty spirits in duty-free shops at major airports. Over 50% of travelers purchase alcohol at airports because they offer top brands at economical prices.
The specialty spirits market is geographically distributed over North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (MEA), and Latin America. Asia Pacific accounted for the maximum share in the market in 2015, which is primarily driven by the availability of new brands and added flavors. Even with the ban on advertisements of alcoholic products, specialty spirits are gaining popularity in the market due to personal recommendations. Countries such as Japan, China, and Korea are promoting traditional spirits like shochu and báijiu – the latter is likely to dominate the specialty spirits market, giving up a small percentage of its market share to competitors such as shochu. Leading manufacturing companies are focusing on introducing new products in the market to meet the growing demand among consumers, specifically targeting women. In addition, regional brands are also gaining popularity due to their unique flavors. Latin America is a potentially attractive market for specialty spirits and likely to develop over the forecast period.
The global specialty spirits marketis highly competitive with the presence of a large number of large-scale and small-scale vendors, who compete with each other in terms of product differentiation, quality, prices, innovation, distribution, and brand promotion. Some of the key players operating in this market include IRB Tatuzinho 3 Fazendas, HiteJinro, LuzhouLaojiao, Kirishimashuzo, Sanwa Shurui, Kumbokju, Takara Shuzo, and Lotte. Other prominent vendors include Beam Suntory, Asahi Breweries, Beijing Red Star, Diageo, Companhia Müller de Bebidas, Kweichow Moutai, EngarrafamentoPitu, and Wuliangye. These players dominate the market with their vast geographic presence and production facilities across different countries. However, the global specialty spirits marketis also characterized by the presence of several regional and small manufacturers who lead the market in countries such as Japan, the U.K., and China. Producers are focusing on opening new retail outlets to strengthen their distribution channels and increase their earnings. In order to meet growing consumer demands, a variety of products have been launched in the market by leading as well as emerging manufacturers.
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