There's no denying that whiskey has been on a tear as of late, but the fastest-growing segment of the category tends not to get as much attention as its Scottish and Kentuckian cousins.
Overall, whiskey already accounts for more spirits revenue than vodka and it's poised to overtake it in volume soon enough. That's due in large part to the surge in demand for high-end, straight American whiskeys—including the bourbon, rye and Tennessee segments—as well as the top price tier of the Scotch segment, single malt.
However, the real MVP, in terms of percent growth, has been Irish whiskey, which has been growing in the mid teens to low 20% range for the past several years. Irish represents about 2.5 million 9-liter case equivalents, or just under 5% of total U.S. whiskey volume, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). In revenue terms, Irish accounts for about $500 million of the $7 billion whiskey category, or about 7% of total dollars. For 2014, Irish volume increased 9.1%, while revenue increased 10.7% to $553 million, according to Nielsen.
Segment leader Jameson has had a great deal to do with Irish whiskey's overall trajectory, as brand owner Pernod Ricard reported its revenue growth in the U.S. market slightly outpaced that of the brand's overall global business, surging 13%. Those numbers seem even more impressive when considering the fact that Jameson commands nearly two-thirds of the global market for Irish whiskey. Read more>>
Contrary to the saying "There's nothing new under sun," there is always room for novelty behind the bar. Mixologists experiment with various liquids constantly, creating brand new combinations in the process.
And sometimes the creative edge is at its sharpest when calling on the simplest tools. Syrups—both simple and flavor infused—have been at bartenders' reach for as long as there have been bars. And not only are today's syrups arguably more intense and undoubtedly more diverse than ever, they dovetail perfectly with the rising trend of low-alcohol cocktails.
Truth is, because contemporary gourmet syrups are so concentrated with flavor, a little goes a long way. Here are
a few examples from suppliers of two excellent lines of syrups, 1883 by Francebased Maison Routin; and certified organic Purely Syrups from Northern California.