Taiwan is one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan and wealthy markets on par with South Korea—a popular entry point for brands expanding into Asia. The island nation’s alcohol market is worth over US$20 billion and growing by 6.47% CAGR through 2025 alongside increasing incomes and consumer preferences in favor of higher quality beverages.
As in most of Asia, beer accounts for the lion’s share of alcohol sales in Taiwan—by both volume and sales value. Beer sales reached nearly US$13 billion in 2020. Although nearly half of all beers sold in Taiwan are lagers, other varieties—such as wheat, IPAs, and stronger-flavored beers (e.g. stout) are growing in popularity. Many consumers, particularly young and well-educated ones in urban areas, are seeking out higher-quality beers they can enjoy socially rather than light-flavored pale lagers typical of the dinner parties and business meetings attended by previous generations.
Spirits—including liqueurs—is the second largest segment of Taiwan’s alcohol market worth nearly US$7 billion. For decades baijiu, a local fire water, and cognac were dinner party staples. This is changing rapidly as consumers across demographic groups swap these out for whisky, rum, gin, and other imported spirits. There is even a nascent indigenous whiskey industry trying to cater to this growing demand though foreign brands dominate.
Interest in grape wines is increasing. Reds are preferred though whites, and roses are growing in popularity. Wines are seen as refined, easy-drinking low-alcohol alternatives for occasions that would otherwise involves stronger stuff, such as baijiu. Currently worth nearly US$2 billion, wine is set to enjoy strong year-on-year growth or years to come as part of a fundamental shift in consumer preferences.
Differences in cross-generational preferences are driving the evolution of Taiwan’s alcohol market. Younger Taiwanese are seeking a mix of higher quality, new and interesting flavors, lower alcohol content, and healthier options. This is increasing demand for flavorful full-bodied beers, imported spirits, and grape wines across the board.
Taiwan’s economy has been among the best performing through the pandemic, growing in both 2020 and 2021. With strong fundamentals, sophisticated consumers, and growing demand for most categories of imported beer, wine, spirits, and liqueurs it should be a top consideration for any brand considering entry or expansion in Asia.