Global Industry Overview: Alcoholic Beverages

Three major segments constitute the global alcoholic beverage trade: breweries, which manufacture beers and ales; wineries, which produce wines and brandies; and distilleries, which produce various liquors and blended alcoholic drinks. For discussion of nonalcoholic beverages, see Soft Drinks and Bottled Water.

Industry Snapshot

Alcoholic beverages have long been a part of cultures throughout the world. They are important consumer products and are heavily advertised and marketed. There are literally tens of thousands of brands of alcoholic beverages. Global consumption of alcoholic beverages increased steadily through the late 1990s and the early years of the first decade of the 2000s, reaching about 195 billion liters by 2003. According to Green Facts, by 2009 approximately 2 billion people across the globe consume some form of alcohol. Worldwide, adults consume an average of 5 liters of beer, wine or spirits annually. Average consumption is highest in Europe, followed by the Americas and Africa.