The spirits industry has seen steady growth in sales over the past decade, according to alcoholic beverage advisory firm Parkstreet, and Alexander’s Highland Market has responded with a spirits department makeover that added some 80 liquor products.

“We’ve added glassed shelves, lighting, and expertise behind the counter — everything needed to serve customers quickly and completely,” says owner Lathan Alexander.

Though the 1200 stocked items include all liquors, including brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey, the latter accounts for about 80 percent of offerings — and the liquor market nationwide. And between 2014 and 2019, whiskey sales grew 5.3 percent.

“There’s been a bit of a ‘Bourbon Comeback,”” says Alexander, “fueled by single-barrel and small-batch brands. It’s all part of the artisanal wine and food movement we’ve seen in the grocery industry: People want to know where their food and drink come from. The smaller, more exclusive, more local and innovative, the better, and the more stories attached to a product’s crafting or naming, better still.”

Indeed, industry experts note that the growing market has become increasingly fragmented by consumers’ preference for smaller brands. “The non-top 5 brands gained up to 12 percentage points over a 20 year period and up to 6 percentage points in the last 5 years,” Parkstreet notes in its most recent report, attributing the growth to “shortening life cycles of brands in general, entrepreneurial innovation wave, liberalization and de-concentration of marketing avenues (e.g., Internet), premiumization, desire of consumers to differentiate themselves.”

 

 

News | April 16th, 2021