Millennials Are Helping Keep the Whiskey Market Afloat

Millennials are doing more than their fair share to send whiskey sales soaring, Business Wire reports. According to the 2016 Annual Economic Report from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of American whiskey rose 7.7 percent in 2016 to a whopping $3.1 billion.

The DSC's Chief Economist David Ozgo said this growth is led by millennials, whose interest in "authentic" and "craft" products extends into bourbon, rye and Tennessee whiskey. What's more, total U.S. spirits export volumes increased 6.8 percent in 2016, driven largely by American whiskey, which increased 10.2 percent in 2016.

Whiskey isn't the only libation enjoying a banner year.

Cognac volumes are up 12.9 percent, with revenues up 15.3 percent to $1.5 billion and Irish Whiskey volumes are up 18.7 percent, with revenues up 19.8 percent to $795 million.

Tequila volumes are up 7.1 percent, with revenues up 7.5 percent to $2.5 billion; and vodka, representing a full one-third of all spirit volumes, is up 2.4 percent, with revenues reaching $6 billion.

The council's report estimates overall retail sales of spirits in the U.S. reached as high as $78 billion in 2016 and supporting 1.4 million jobs in both the manufacturing and hospitality sectors.

Ozgo attributes this growth in spirits to a number of factors. Among them:

1. The American Whiskey trend has plenty of room for growth as the country trends back toward historic levels of whiskey consumption;

2. Cocktails are exceptionally well-positioned to meet adult millennials' demand for unique and varied experiences;

3. Spirits fit nicely into the trend of consumer interest in brands with authentic, interesting backstories;

4. Local distilleries are driving the modernization of state and local laws and generating excitement in the overall spirits category; and

5. Spirits have become a fixture in popular culture and are part of the norm.

This article was originally published on Feb 16, 2017

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