If you love craft beer but also have a taste for hard stuff, a new study has some good news for you.
The U.S. spirits market is finally experiencing its very own “craft” movement in bars and liquor stores across the nation, according to a study backed by the American Craft Spirits Association.
The study, billed as the first of its kind, found that the craft spirits industry reportedly achieved $2.4-billion in retail sales in 2015, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 27.4 percent in volume. The market share for craft spirits reached 2.2 percent in volume last year, a dramatic surge from 0.8 percent in 2010. There are currently 1,315 active craft distillers in the U.S. (compared to the 4,200-plus craft breweries.)
These states lead the way
A vast portion of the craft spirits industry’s growth is concentrated in a handful of states, with California, New York, Washington, Colorado and Texas taking the lead. These states have also proven popular among craft brewers.
This surge corresponds to a greater shift in the beverage world toward selling more craft items that would be considered premium (not mass produced, typically made locally and with restricted scale and distribution.) While this movement is clearly more advanced within the beer world, other beverage categories like spirits, soda and coffee are quickly catching up.
Taking a page from the Brewers Association, the American Craft Spirits Association is attempting to set certain standards for its own products. For examples, it defines craft as distillers that produce no more than 750,000 proof gallons every year and aren’t openly controlled by a large supplier.
Projections from craft spirits advocates suggest volume could increase from 4.9 million cases in 2015 to 25.6 million cases by 2020.