Whiskey Is Booming, Thanks to Millennials and Women

Whiskey consumption is up 30 percent from a decade ago.

Whiskey Is Booming, Thanks to Millennials and Women Photo (cc) by ianloic

Americans’ drinking palettes seem to be changing. Whiskey has become the drink of choice for a growing number of Americans, including many women and young adults, stealing the thunder from the likes of vodka and Budweiser.

Sales of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey grew by 7.4 percent last year, MarketWatch reports. The bump in whiskey sales outperformed single-malt Scotch (up 6.4 percent), tequila (5 percent) and vodka (1.6 percent). Meanwhile, over the past five years, domestic sales of Budweiser plummeted 28 percent.

According to The Huffington Post, whiskey sales have soared by 30 percent in the past 10 years. Whiskey-swilling women have been a big driver of whiskey sales in recent years.

“Women, long the target consumer for such brands as Smirnoff and Absolut, are abandoning vodka in favor of the brown stuff,” HuffPo said.

Fred Minnick, author of the book “Whiskey Women,” told NPR that women represented 15 percent of whiskey imbibers in the United States in the 1990s. Now, 37 percent of whiskey drinkers are women.

“Women are absolutely the future of whiskey,” Minnick says.

More millennials are also imbibing in whiskey. Although Budweiser was once the drink of choice for young adults, a new survey found that 40 percent of young drinkers (ages 21 to 27) reported “getting tired of the taste” of mass-market beers, like Budweiser, MarketWatch said. (Though craft beers are increasingly popular.)

Experts say whiskey is a popular choice because of its pleasant, slightly sweet taste and affordable price tag. MarketWatch said:

A case in point: Tincup, a new and much acclaimed bourbon-style whiskey that sells for around $25. The relatively low price point was key to Jess Graber, the Colorado-based distiller who launched the brand.

“It’s good enough, but you don’t have to break the bank to buy it,” he says.

I had a few rough experiences with Jack Daniel’s whiskey when I was in college, so I steer clear of it. But my husband’s favorite drink is Pendleton Whisky, which is distilled in Canada.

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