Trends in alcohol come and go like seasons. Rum had a run in the 1980s, Vodka had its time to shine before going too far with flavors, and whiskey is currently enjoying its time in the spotlight. So what’s next? If the most recent data on beverage consumption is to be believed, it’s tequila.
Total tequila volume sold in the U.S. grew 7.4 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to IWSR, a U.S. beverage alcohol review publication. More than 16 million cases of tequila were sold, equating a 7.5 percent of all liquor, which is the most ever sold in the country.
The growth comes at the same time total alcohol consumption decreased. Spirits, however, have been on the rise. Total spirit volume increase 2.6 percent, with bourbon increasing 6.4 percent, and imported whisky — including Scotch whisky, Japanese whisky, and Irish whiskey — growing 3.4 percent.
It was tequila that led the way, though, and not just the stuff you try not to taste by shooting with salt and lime. Premium brands like Don Julio, Ocho, Espolon, and Tapatio were all among the top selling tequilas in bars. Just like how consumers are flocking to premium craft beer and whiskey, they are choosing premium tequila and seeing what the spirit can really do.
Tequila’s time to shine isn’t coming out of the blue. The spirit also posted record gains in 2015, and from 2009 to 2013, premium tequila sales’ compound annual growth rate was 13.5 percent.