As the US economy continues to expand, premium and super-premium distilled spirits consumption is stronger than ever. This premiumisation trend occurring in every segment of the beverage alcohol industry has the consumer drinking less, but drinking better. According to the Beverage Information & Insights Group's 2014 Liquor Handbook, this trend resulted in slower sales growth, with the industry posting a gain of just 2.2% by volume to end 2013 at 210 million 9-litre cases.
The American industry experienced diminished growth, although most of the individual distilled spirits categories experienced upticks - with a few exceptions. Unlike Straight Whiskey, Blended Whiskey has been unable to reinvent itself, resulting in declining sales and marketers focusing on categories with higher potential. Gin also lost volume because high-end offerings, which comprise the majority of the category's growth, were not large enough to make up for the deficit overall. Finally, pressure on Prepared Cocktails to create new products, combined with the slowing of the Skinnygirl brand, resulted in the category losing 9.1%.
The 2014 Liquor Handbook is the most comprehensive source of information on U.S. spirits and sales trends. The essential resource provides consumption and projection information by category and by market, tracks leading brands, and includes international consumption data.