Charleston moves more than 100,000 tons of wine and spirits annually between the U.S. and 58 countries around the world. The breadth and depth of volume in the trade reflects Charleston’s diverse steamship service profile, which features each of the world’s ten largest container carriers.
In the first four months of this year, Charleston handled 2,800 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) loaded with wine and spirits, compared to 2,500 TEUs last year. While imports remained constant between January and April, rising only 3%, exports jumped 42% as a result of outbound whiskey increases to the U.K., Germany, France and Belgium.
The wine and spirits trade is an import-dominated trade in Charleston, with nearly a third of all volume being imported still wines from Italy, Chile and France. Other top inbound cargoes are whiskey, gin, vodka and cordials. Over the past three years, Charleston has seen imported wine and spirits decline slightly from its high in 1998. Meanwhile, exports have increased substantially on stronger whiskey shipments.
In a recent 12-month period, U.S. whiskeys and bourbons were shipped to more than 40 countries around the world from Charleston. Reflecting this global reach, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association has a foreign language web site and lists upcoming international trade shows.
CHARLESTON’S TOP WINE & SPIRITS IMPORTS
Still Wines – Italy
Still Wines – Chile
Whiskey & Rum – U.K.
Still Wines – France
Vodka – Sweden
TOP WHISKEY MARKETS THROUGH CHARLESTON