Spirits: Growing, Changing, Gaining Momentum

Noah Rothbaum‘s book on where the spirit market is going is very insightful and was a great reference in some of our Category Management Modules. Take a look at this abstract to learn about interesting trends in the modern spirit industry!

The popularity of alcohol, particularly fine spirits, has never been higher. Since the mid nineties retails of spirits have increased nearly 60%, causing many manufacturers to widely expand their facilities. This is largely due to the rise of the internet and the ability that advertisers have to reach a wider audience. NASCAR, for example, recently listed their 55 year old ban on liquor sponsors, opening the market up to a completely new resource for advertising.

Many states are also abandoning laws that have been in place since the prohibition era. These “blue laws”, prohibiting the sale of alcohol on certain days of the week and at certain times, kept a lot of Americans from obtaining their desired spirits. American law makers have begun to realize that prohibiting or restricting the sale of alcohol is not the answer to the fight against crime; these actions only fuel the fire for illegal activity.

Types of spirits that weren’t available even twenty years ago are becoming some of the most popular types among today’s consumers. Single malt whisky, for example, has become a widely popular alternative to the more common types of whisky found in most stores around the world. Consumers in modern times like feeling as if they are drinking something elegant, an idea that advertising is running with.

No other type of spirit has had the growth that vodka has over the years. Only 50 years ago it counted for just 1% of spirit sales and now it’s in the top tier with thousands of different types and a wide price range to suit just about anyone. It has carved out a niche in the upscale market while still being appealing to the general public. As long as consumers are willing to pay for it, Vodka is poised to keep climbing up the spirit ladder.

Another contribution and reason for the increase in spirit sales is the increase in demand for sugary mixed drinks. Just as places like Starbucks offer sugar-filled coffee concoctions to entice otherwise anti-coffee consumers, bars and spirit manufacturers are beginning specialize in and advertise these sweet treats. This has made alcohol more accessible and more people are able to find something they enjoy. Newer types of mainstream alcohol such as tequila, rum, and sake have found great popularity when mixed in with fresh ingredients.

Companies realize that there is a fine line between making the customer feel as if they are purchasing something with quality, and raising prices so high that consumers shy away. New brands seem to materialize out of thin air daily and competition to get a product in the spotlight and in consumer’s glasses has never been more fierce. Surely the consumer will come out on top of all of this competition. The sale of spirits is an ever changing, popular, and constantly growing market that is here to stay.

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