Whiskey Sales to Finally Top Vodka in AmericaEdit Post
Contributed by on Dec 30, 2014
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The U.S. spirit market is on track for a notable first: Whiskey will soon surpass vodka as the country’s spirit of choice.
2013 wasn’t the best year for vodka—revenue for Smirnoff, the best-selling spirits brand of any kind in the world, slumped by seven percent in the second half of the year. On the other hand, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky was the year’s fastest growing liquor brand by volume, according to Euromonitor’s global market research.
Whiskey has been the sales revenue champ over vodka on and off since 2000, reigning victorious again in 2013. Whiskey beat out the clear spirit by $1.4 billion in sales in the U.S. market, totaling $7 billion to vodka’s $5.6 billion. Although the brown liquor may still lag behind vodka in sales volume—vodka sold 65.9 million cases in 2013 to whiskey’s 52.8 million—The Atlantic predicts whiskey will claim the volume crown by 2018.
Flavored vodka has been wildly popular this decade, much to the chagrin of mixologists everywhere. But in 2013—for the first time in years—the flavored liquors didn’t bolster the market. Instead, it drew from unflavored sales. Whiskey, however, is happily riding the craft cocktail boom, with a rising demand specifically for premium bourbons. Brands like Bulleit and George Dickel experienced major brand volume growth between 2012 and 2013.
If the brown spirit can learn anything from its clear cousin, it’s to cool it on novelty flavors, lest the market bite back again. See more graphs of the hard data behind your hard-hitting beverages at The Atlantic.