ACSA, Sovos Respond to Criticism of DtC Report

Global tax compliance technology leader Sovos and the American Craft Spirits Association are standing strong by their recently published 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Spirits Shipping Report after criticism from The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA).

The report underscores a continued increase in the percentage of regular craft spirits drinkers who want to legally purchase their beverages of choice via direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping. The report found an increase in regular craft spirits drinkers who want to legally purchase their favorite spirits products and have them shipped directly to their homes — 87% versus 80% in 2022. And 81% of those likely to purchase spirits DtC say if they could purchase craft spirits DtC, they would do so at least once a month or more.

This week, WSWA issued a press release claiming the report is misleading.

Today, SOVOS and ACSA responded with comments to The Spirits Business.

ACSA said the report “underscores the wish of craft spirits consumers who clearly would like additional channels to purchase premium spirits.”

The statement continued: “We are not trying to mislead anyone. The fact is that there are well over 125,000 spirits products approved by the TTB [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau]. Distributors and retailers cannot conceivably carry all of these products. This fact, along with continued consolidation of the wholesaler tier, where according to Shanken’s Impact Newsletter, indicates the top 10 wholesalers account for over 75% of all wine and spirit brands distributed across the country.”

ACSA noted that the top two wholesalers in the U.S. distribute more than 50% of all wine and spirits brands, which makes it ‘increasingly more difficult for craft spirits suppliers to access markets for new products’.

“This is one reason why ACSA’s 2022 Craft Spirits Data Project indicates that up to 90% of all craft spirits products are sold within the home state of a distillery,” the statement said.

“As WSWA should know by reading the report, coupled with their own experience with DTC for wine, DTC is an important step in the evolution of the spirits marketplace: distilled spirits consumers want it, distillers of all sizes need it, and everyone wins with it, including WSWA’s own members.”

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