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    U.S. Set to Be World's Biggest Wine-consuming Market by 2012: Study

    The growing popularity of red wine is driving increased consumption rates, the research found.

    In just three years' time, the United States will become the world's largest consumer of still wine, according to a VINEXPO study conducted by London-based drinks research organization International Wine & Spirit Record (IWSR).

    The study additionally found that American consumption is expected to grow over the next five years in spite of the dismal economy, reaching 330 million cases or 3.96 billion bottles.

    Other key findings of the VINEXPO/IWSR study for the United States included:

    --In the five years from 2003, consumption of still and sparkling wines per person of legal drinking age grew from 11.1 liters to 12.1 liters. Consumption per person is projected to increase over the next five years to 13.1 liters, or one liter every five years.

    --Imported wine consumption will surpass the 100-million-case threshold (1.2 billion bottles) by 2012, an increase of 17.9 percent percent 2008, and should generate a turnover of close to $10 billion at retail.

    --Wine drinking in the United States grew more than 14 percent in the five years from 2003 to 2007 and is forecast to continue growing over the next five years, although at a slower rate of nearly 12 percent.

    --Red wine is behind greater wine consumption in the United States. In 2008, Americans were estimated to have imbibed more than 1.47 billion bottles of red wine. This number is projected to rise to 1.74 billion over the next five years. Meanwhile, consumption of rose wine is forecast to rise by nearly 10 percent, from 565 million bottles to 620 million bottles, and white wine consumption is forecast to rise by 5.4 percent, from 1.3 billion bottles last year to 1.4 billion in 2012.

    --Spirits consumption in the United States also rose over the five years from 2003 to 2007, reaching 178 million nine-liter cases, or over 2.14 billion bottles. By 2012, consumption is forecast to grow by more than 10 percent, to reach 2.4 billion bottles.

    --Vodka is America's favorite spirit. Sales rose by 27 percent from 2003 to 2007 to reach more than 53 million cases, or 636 million bottles. Consumption of vodka will continue to grow, and by 2012 it will have grown a further 20 percent, to 65 million nine-liter cases.

    Among the study's key international findings were that in 2007, more than 31 billion bottles of wine were consumed around the world, and that global consumption will continue to increase by 6 percent over the next five years, reaching a total of 2.816 billion cases. The study further noted that world spirits consumption reached 2.224 billion nine-liter cases in 2007, with vodka by far the leading spirit worldwide: Its consumption is expected to increase by a another 5.29 percent by 2012.

    In 2007, the United States, which is the fourth-largest wine-producing country in the world, behind Italy, France and Spain, ranked as the No. 3 market in the world for still wine consumption (274.1 million cases) and No. 4 (14.7 million cases) for sparkling wine consumption, according to the study.

    Data compiled for VINEXPO, the world's largest wine and spirits exhibition, on the worldwide and U.S. wine & spirits market is part of VINEXPO's global research project with IWSR in 28 wine-producing countries and 114 wine- and spirits-consuming markets. VINEXPO will next

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