The French Football Federation (FFS) said on Tuesday that exports of French spirits fell 20% in the first quarter of the year after rising in 2022 as inflation pushed consumers around the world away from expensive alcoholic beverages.
Last year the value of spirits exports rose by 11.7% to €5.4 billion ($5.90 billion) but only by 2.3% in volume to 468 million liters, driven by vodka (+6.7% in volume) and spirits (+14.1%) . Cognac remains the most exported alcoholic beverage, but it decreased by 3.7%.
The rebound was short-lived as exports fell early in the year due to inflation, the effects of which are now global. “For the first time since the health crisis, the export market is declining,” the Farmers’ Fund said in a statement. . .
“It seems that this market can no longer lead global growth,” she added.
In France, where alcohol consumption fell, sales volume in retail stores fell 4.4% in value terms to 5 billion euros ($5.46 billion) in 2022.
However, sales in cafes and restaurants have returned to pre-COVID levels, providing a respite for operators in this sector, FFS said.
“The reopening of living spaces combined with dynamic supply (advances in cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages) resulted in an annual sales increase of 51.8% in this segment, accounting for a total of 20.1 million liters,” FFS said.
FFS warned that many farmers suffered losses last year and more in the first half of 2023 as they were unable to afford higher costs including higher prices for agricultural glass and alcohol.
FFS, which represents French producers and distributors of spirits, brings together nearly 250 companies, including small and medium-sized companies and international groups.