When it comes to sidling up to the bar, people are increasingly more likely to order a whiskey or a bourbon over a vodka or a mass-market beer.
Data from the Distilled Spirits Council shows some interesting trends. For instance, sales of bourbon and whiskey increased by 7.4 percent in 2014. Compare that to the statistics for beer: Down 4 percent over the last five years, with Budweiser’s domestic sales down 28 percent in the same time period, Marketwatch reports.
There is some good news for fans of breweries, however. Sales of craft beers – which take up an estimated 10 percent of the suds market – were up 18 percent in the first half of last year.
Furthermore, while The Guardian says that vodka sales showed an uptick of 1.6 percent last year, the Wall Street Journal points out that sales of Smirnoff brand vodka were down eight percent between June and December.
It’s all about the millennials, apparently
Experts have different theories on why bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are surging while vodka and beers are slumping. One is that drinkers –especially millennials – no longer appreciate flavors that are less distinct. Vodka could be added to anything, as the WSJ article mentions, while whiskey and bourbon are more noticeable. Then again, customers are turned off by the flavored vodkas like “fresh-cut grass” (is that really a vodka flavor?) and marshmallow that characterized the “oddka” trend.
Then again, younger drinkers might simply want a change. Marketwatch reports that more than a third of people aged 21 to 27 were “tired of the taste” of mass-market beers.
And so bourbons and Tennessee whiskey are gaining popularity for their taste and relatively cheaper price tags. “This is a renaissance we haven’t seen in generations, and possibly in the entire history of our signature spirit,” Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, told The Guardian.
Hey, we’ll drink to that.