The World Wants More Whiskey, Less Vodka

Racks of bourbon whiskey barrels at the Woodford Reserve Distillery.
Racks of bourbon whiskey barrels at the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Richard Cummins / Getty Images

Evolving tastes in bars and liquor stores around the world are demanding more whiskey, as vodka sales struggle. On a global scale, whiskey consumption increased by over 16 percent in the past four years, while vodka saw a 2 percent drop. More recently, and closer to home, U.S. vodka sales decreased 0.3 percent last year, while the likes of American-made rye, bourbon, and Tennessee whiskey led the spirits pack, up 7.4 percent. The findings come amid a recent report on the struggles of international spirits producer Pernod Ricard, which has relatively few whiskies among its 37 international brands that include Absolut, Kahlua, and Chivas.

Unfortunately for Pernod Ricard, the whiskey brands it does own aren't American, which are what's pushing the trend. Demand for Scotch, like Chivas, has begun dropping in the last year, while American rye whiskey, for example, posted its first spike in sales popularity since Prohibition. According to NBC, many whiskey experts are contributing the resurgence to the distinct flavor in rye-based spirits. "Rye is a gloriously spicy grain," said Dave Pickerell, formerly a master distiller for Maker's Mark, in the report. "It's big and full bodied. It's what you want to graduate to if you're an American whiskey drinker." Bourbon and American craft spirits are riding the same wave of newfound appreciation for more flavorful spirits, and we, quite frankly, are thankful. Good job everyone.