Craft spirits have recently become a popular phenomenon across the U.S.

The rise of craft beers over the past decade has set the stage for small batch whiskey, rum, gin, and vodka makers to begin distilling their very own unique blends. According to, 10 years ago there were around 50 craft distilleries in the United States—today there are around 800!

Growing Competition

The rapid growth of the craft distillery market has created a lot of competition between suppliers and distributors. With so many consumers interested in tasting and purchasing craft spirits, brands must cater to a variety of demographics. Some craft distillers are gravitating toward custom gins as an alternative to the dry British gin that has been on the market for so long. The small-batch American style is sweeter and has more complex herbal and floral notes. Craft whiskey has also become super popular and new brands are appearing monthly in bars and liquor stores across the country.

According to research from Mintel, spirits positioned as “craft” have accounted for 15 percent of new global spirit launches thus far in 2016. Furthermore, craft spirit launches have increased a whopping 265 percent around the world between 2011 and 2015—and it’s mainly the U.S. that is driving the craze.

Frankenstein Booze

Recently, a company called Lost Spirits Laboratory developed a machine that can age booze 20 years in just 7 days. The process simulates chemical reactions that happen over time in a wood barrel in order to enhance the flavor. Traditionalists think the method is inauthentic, but many buyers are eager to save money—by saving time—on the delicious liquors.

Other Craft Spirits

As Time magazine recently reported, craft spirits are being made from pretty much anything—potatoes, wheat, grapes, milk, honey, and more. Hangar 1 distillery has started producing a limited-edition batch of vodka that they are making from San Francisco fog! The vodka has been aptly named Fog Point and one bottle is priced around $125. The distillery works with a non-profit called FogQuest, which collects water from fog and redistributes it to remote communities around the world to use as a water supply.

Small-batch spirits like these are likely to keep growing in popularity. Mintel reports that millennials are the driving force behind the growth of craft spirits—and that demographic is willing to shell out some serious cash in order to get unique, hard-to-find flavors and varieties of spirits.

Craft Distilling Expo

The Craft Distilling Expo and Conference is proof of how popular craft spirits have become. It’s taking place in London in October 2016 and will be the 4th annual Expo to showcase this newly expanding industry. Workshops, discussions, competitions, and displays will provide insight into the burgeoning beverage alcohol industry. Similarly, the American Craft Spirit Awards is a recent institution that popped up in order to honor distinctive craft distilleries. They have awards for Best of Class in a wide variety of categories and hundreds of distilleries are judged every year!

Why Data Collection?

The number of craft spirits will certainly continue to grow. As such, suppliers and distributors must optimize displays, POS execution, menu presence, and more. Off- and on-premise data collection increases visibility and transparency to ensure that instructions are carried out and strategy perfected.

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