Pricey Booze Gains Ground Over Well Drinks

expensive whiskeyWe have written about booze here on the CEM blog before. Patrick wrote an article about Jack Daniel’s surprisingly pleasant cease-and-desist style and Daniel and Ben both wrote lovely pieces about liquored up marketing campaigns. Clearly, we have some Jack Daniel’s enthusiasts around these parts.

Apparently, we are a dying breed.

Move Over, Jack

It turns out that, according to NBC News, premier liquor is on the rise, with sales of well drinks and less-fancy cocktails declining accordingly.

Last year alone, the U.S. bourbon market grew 13.2 percent, with sales of super highbrow bourbons rising nearly 80 percent. Even more startling is the fact that the over the past year, the U.S. rum market has only grown 2.5 percent, but sales of super-premium rum are up 91 percent. (Overall, vodka is still America’s favorite booze.)

Is This All Mad Men’s Fault?

Maybe. Though it is definitely true that the commercial success of Mad Men has a hand in the renewed public interest in whiskey, most of the super-premium liquor popularity can be attributed to other reasons:

  • More local distilleries are crafting small-batch spirits that fall into the “super-premium” category.
  • There is a renewed interest in “cocktail culture” which has refined the average American drinker’s palate. Fancy cocktails at buzzed about bars lead people to try and replicate the experience at home.
  • There is a wider range of liquor – at all levels and all prices – available at local stores. As a result, consumers are more willing to break out of their 5 O’Clock/Jack/Captain cycle and try something newer and fancier.

With all the new and exciting super premium liquor out there, you are going to need a way to drink it. Although most of the really fancy stuff is best enjoyed neat, there are plenty of great cocktails out there for people who want to cut the burn a little. has countless recipes for connoisseurs out there.

Here’s my favorite, the Stone Cold Larceny.

Are you into the higher end liquor choices or do you prefer to keep it simpler (and cheaper)?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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