The Top Spirits Trends to Pay Attention to Right Now

Bartender is stirring cocktails, toned image

Attention trade members: Consumers are thirsty for whiskey and ready for an ever-increasing flood of “premium” spirits. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS)  these are the top trends to watch over the next year.

  1. Spirits continue to steal market share from beer. According to DISCUS’s Chief Economist David Ozgo, spirits’ market share increased by half a point to 35.9 percent, representing market share gains relative to beer for the seventh straight year. (Note: each point of market share is worth approximately $700 million in supplier revenue.)
  1. Consumers are drinking more high-end spirits. Across all categories, premium spirits are trending upward, said DISCUS President and CEO Kraig R. Naasz. This “premiumization” appears poised to continue, as sprits producers roll out longer-aged, limited edition and other special luxury bottlings.
  1. Millennials are drawn to “authentic” spirits brands and cocktails. “Spirits makers continue to develop new innovations to appeal to a growing audience of adult millennials, and they are responding by purchasing and enjoying our products,” Naasz said. Ozgo noted cocktails are “exceptionally well-positioned to meet millennials’ demand for unique experiences.” The 2016 passage of multiple “Brunch Bills” permitting patrons to order cocktails before 1 p.m. probably won’t hurt the appeal to this demographic either.
  1. Whiskey is in hot demand, and still has room to grow. American whiskey (bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye) continues to captivate U.S. consumers with volumes up 6.8 percent to 21.8 million cases, and revenues up 7.7 percent to $3.1 billion. “The American Whiskey trend has plenty of room for growth as the country trends back toward historic levels of whiskey consumption,” Ozgo said.
Published on March 20, 2017
Topics: Spirits News
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She’s the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip., NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening and Cocktails With a Twist, released August 2019. Email:

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