Gin is like an old friend. Reliable, familiar. Supportive of many iterations of the cocktail. Yes, gin is here to stay, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). In 2020, year-over-year sales of 9-liter cases rose 4.2% to more than 10 million. Revenue to gin suppliers increased 5.9% to $972 million.
“Thanks to the humble juniper berry, gin has a delightful subtle flavor with versatility,” DISCUS says. “America’s thirst for gin lies in the popularity of the many fine cocktails highlighted by the revival of the cocktail renaissance. Gin’s pleasurable taste and versatile flavors make it a perfect base for any classic or complex mixed drink.”
Super-premium spirits were hot at the dawn of 2020. Then, a little thing called a pandemic forced consumers to stay home. Unable to spend on travel and other experiences, they experimented with cooking and cocktails, turning to online shopping for their alcohol, including high-end spirits.
The lore surrounding American whiskey has captivated an eager market. Especially the notion of “craft,” with carefully created mash bills, skillful blending and unique barrel finishes. And there are famous stories about fermentation and distillation -- every aspect of the whiskey-making process -- passed down across generations.
Sooner or later … Everything old is new again.
This idea, attributed to author Stephen King as well as a song by Peter Allen, is certainly true in the case of dark spirits. Hunger for origin stories and the history surrounding distilleries, mash bills – occasionally even the age and provenance of yeast used in fermentation – are helping fuel the passion for American Whiskey.
No question. 2020 was a rough year for U.S. craft distillers. The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a one-two punch: Not only were their tasting rooms forced to close, so were bars and restaurants, causing on-premise spirits consumption to plummet. Still, some craft distillers are considering expansion, even if their 2021 will be something of a reset. Their optimism is based on expectations for pent-up consumer demand and new opportunities born out of necessity during the pandemic: Direct to Consumer sales; cocktails-to-go; and scaling operations as a cost-savings measure. DISCUS refers to these kinds of developments as “market modernizations” that will help boost the industry’s recovery.
The coronavirus pandemic changed us all. It changed the way we go about our daily lives, the way we interact with each other and the way we consume. Every industry had to adapt to the country’s new way of life. The spirits industry not only adapted, but got stronger and showed a promising future.
According to a blog post from FoodBev Media, the alcoholic beverage market is expected to continue growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 4% over the next 6 years.
Why? Glad you asked.
You might recall our blog post that gives an overview of the three-tier alcohol distribution system. Most distillers have a rudimentary knowledge of two of those: producers and retailers. If you’re a distiller, you ARE a producer. And if you’ve ever been in a liquor store or bar, you’ve experienced the retail tier.
But it’s the tier in-between that many distillers have yet to master: the distribution tier.