Bourbon, whiskey will continue in popularity
In the past decade, there has been a nearly 40 percent growth in sales of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey in the United States, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Bourbon is now the hottest distilled spirit in the world. In the U.S., bourbon and Tennessee whiskey revenue has leapt 47 percent throughout the past five years to a total of $2.68 billion in 2014. An International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) survey commission by Vinexpo predicts that global bourbon sales will increase by nearly 20 percent more in the next five years, and the Aristocrat Group Corp. (ASCC) is making plans to capitalize on that growth.
New flavor profiles will be sought by consumers, especially millennials and women
While consumers look to craft liquor for authenticity, women and 20-somethings are especially open to expanding their palates. Recently, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky has blazed quite a trail in the industry. The brand exploded in just a few short years, from just shy of $2 million in 2011 to $63 million in 2013 to $130 million last year, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Those numbers do not include drinks sold in bars. Fireball is the fastest-growing major brand of liquor in America. Major industry players, including Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, have since come out with their own versions of the flavor.
“While Fireball has proven to be more than just a flavor of the month, we’re counting on consumers seeking out still more twists in their liquor,” Earles says.
“Our locally sourced Oregon Marionberry Whiskey, for example, is a popular choice.”
Lifestyle imaging will likely expand
While bourbon and whiskey have skyrocketed in popularity, advertisements have delved into the lure of what those spirits have meant to the popular imagination: Earthy; Direct; and Real. That will likely continue, but it will expand, too. Bacardi, which owns brands including Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire and Martini, has hired a new Vice president of fashion. The idea is to create an image/alliance with the fashion world.
“Perhaps Bacardi is ceding whiskey and bourbon to one image – the salt of the earth – whereas Bacardi’s efforts for their clear liquors are now meant to be aligned with a more glamorous lifestyle,” he says.
Steven Earles is the CEO of Portland-based Eastside Distilling, a producer of master-crafted spirits created from local ingredients and focused in small batches to ensure unparalleled quality. He is responsible for Eastside’s day-to-day operations as well as overseeing the company’s brand development and financial strategy. Earles, who joined Eastside in 2009, has more than two decades of executive experience and orchestrated the development and building of one of the largest land-development companies in southern California.