There is a trade organization for US distilled spirits with the really cool name of DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.) This group held a press conference recently in New York to announce the latest statistics of our liquor consumption over the past year, and spirits are looking up!
The whole US liquor market was up 3% last year, with a staggering total of 202 million cases shipped. That means that the rest of you drank 200 million cases! Among specific spirits sectors, Tennessee whiskeys and bourbons grew 5.2% to 16.9 million cases, with the super-premium tier up 12.4%. Like I warned you, rye whiskies grew sharply as well, jumping 50% to 275,000 cases.
Much of the growth in both public attention and consumption came from the incredible boom in craft distilleries, defined as anyone who produces less than 100,000 gallons per year. The number of these establishments have doubled to 180 since 2010, so obviously you all love some small batch booze.
Another major trend that is dominating the liquor news is the rise of flavored spirits. And we’re not just talking about corn flavored whiskey or potato vodka. Flavored items accounted for 27% of total spirits volume consumption last year, and 46% of the growth. Can you say FIREBALL?! Nearly half of all new products in the market belonged to the flavor arena, so there’s more to love.
You’d better hang on to your favorites, though, because more and more US products are being earmarked for export. American spirits represent $1.5 BILLION in exports last year, with 70% of that total being whiskies. So you might have better luck finding that rare small batch while you’re on vacation this summer. Make sure to use bubble wrap if you pack it in your luggage for the return trip.
I can speak from unfortunate experience that a broken bottle of rum can pretty much ruin everything in your suitcase. And your suitcase…