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Craft spirits surge in popularity

Craft beers are yesterday’s news. Now it’s all about craft spirits, according to new research published by Mintel.

So far this year, 15% of new global spirit launches have been positioned as “craft”, up from just 5% five years ago. The US market has driven the surge; hardly surprising when more than half (55%) of US alcohol drinkers agree that craft brands are of higher quality than big brands.

In the UK, 37% of dark spirits and liqueur drinkers are prepared to pay more for craft variants. However, this is far less than the two thirds prepared to pay a premium for craft beers.

When it comes to the “craftiest” spirit, currently whisky reigns supreme, accounting for 43% of global craft spirit launches in 2015, up from 37% in 2011. But gin is hot on its heels, accounting for 23% of global craft spirit launches in 2015, up from 9% in 2011.

Mintel included spirits with “micro”, “craft”, “artisan” or “small” as craft products. But what craft actually means is becoming increasingly hard to define. The beer industry has been grappling with a definition for years.