Wednesday may be National Scotch Day, but the American spirit is taking over. Sales of U.S. made whiskeys — things like Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey — are outpacing other types, including Scotch. So whisky makers in Scotland (where they spell it without the "e") are trying to get themselves off the rocks.
"Everybody's trying to do something a little different to increase the number of 'expressions' on the shelf for their brand," said Ray Pearson, a brand ambassador for various Scotch whiskys.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the overall spirits market is growing, with sales growing 4 percent last year to $72 billion. Hard liquor continues to take market share from beer. The most interesting news is that the biggest growth is high-end sales. Bottles over $20 now account for a fifth of total liquor volume in the United States.
While whiskey had another good year, it was due in large part to sales of "brown spirits" like bourbon, which grew much faster than Scotch whisky. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are catching on overseas, as exports topped $1 billion for the third year in a row. Irish whiskey "continues to explode."