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Wine & Spirits Wholesale

Wine & Spirits Wholesale

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Executive summary

The Wine and Spirits Wholesaling industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of wine, distilled alcohol beverages or neutral spirits and ethyl alcohol used in blended wines and distilled liquors. Over the five years to 2022, industry revenue is anticipated to increase an annualized 3.3% to $126.9 billion, including growth of 1.7% in 2022 alone. Increased consumer spending for the majority of the period, driven by an increase in disposable income and consumption trends toward high-value wine and distilled spirits, has driven revenue growth for the industry during the period. In 2020, high consumer demand at the retail level largely offset a decline in demand from on-premise establishments that temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
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Each report includes:

industry revenue;

industry profit;

industry margin;

industry employment;

industry major players;

industry key external drivers;

industry product & structure segmentation;

industry key trends;

industry Life Cycle;

industry Geographic Breakdown;

industry Key Success Factors;

industry Key statistics for previous years;

forecast of industry Key statistics for the next 5 years;

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Reference Wordlist

High barriers to entry mean that new companies struggle to enter an industry, while low barriers mean it is easy for new companies to enter an industry.

Compares the amount of money spent on capital (plant, machinery and equipment) with that spent on labor.
IBISWorld uses the ratio of depreciation to wages as a proxy for capital intensity. High capital intensity is more than $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; medium is $0.125 to $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; low is less than $0.125 of capital for every $1 of labor.

The dollar figures in the Key Statistics table, including forecasts, are adjusted for inflation using the current year (i.e. year published) as the base year. This removes the impact of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving only the "real" growth or decline in industry metrics. The inflation adjustments in IBISWorld’s reports are made using the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ implicit GDP price deflator.

Spending on industry goods and services within the United States, regardless of their country of origin. It is derived by adding imports to industry revenue, and then subtracting exports.

Colloquial Terminology

A state in which the government, not private entities, manages the distribution of alcoholic beverages. Generally, the control state acts as the wholesaler of spirits and sometimes wine.

A distribution method that permits a winery or retailer to sell and ship directly to a consumer.

An alcoholic beverage obtained by distillation from wine, other fermented fruit juice or various cereal grains that have first been brewed (e.g. whiskey, brandy and rum).

Alcohol purchased at a licensed establishment (e.g. restaurant, bar or nightclub) for immediate consumption.

The loss of product during shipment as a result of damage, fraud, theft, expiration or other form of human error.


This industry's continued relevance, especially relative to other wholesaling industries, is partly the result of US state alcohol distribution laws. Under the three-tier distribution system adopted by most states, industry wholesalers are required to act as an intermediary between producers and retailers. Only licensed retailers may sell directly to consumers, and retail establishments are required to purchase from licensed wholesalers. This structure has prevented most downstream consumers from purchasing directly from manufacturers. The recently granted ability of wine producers to sell limited quantities directly to consumers, however, has created small losses for wholesalers, but this does not currently represent a major threat to industry operators. Major players have continued to enact partnerships and mergers with smaller regional distributors to expand their geographical reach. Industry profit is typically greater among larger players than smaller companies.

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