OnTrend Concepts
Spirits Sales + Marketing Digest

February 8, 2022

Nick Cook, Publisher

The past week was a busy one, so here is a summary of the latest spirits sales & marketing news.


In top news about spirits trends, tequila continues to explode. For tequila importers, this is fantastic news. For those not importing tequila, the question becomes how to take advantage of an evolving consumer. Is it by becoming a tequila importer (difficult), or perhaps adding an agave-based spirits product to your line (sotol, etc.)? Not to fear too much though because whiskey sales continue to surge in on-premise as well.


In the world of alcohol legislation, Mississippi gets closer to privatization of the liquor industry – but there is a battle in the state house and senate. If it manages to get past the senate, the decreased red tape could lead to more competition and availability for spirits brands throughout the state. Maine and Virginia extend cocktails-to-go until March ’25 and July ’24 respectively. While this pits restaurants and bars against liquor stores, the ability to get spirits brands in front of customers through different avenues allows for more innovation and sales for those who know how to accomplish it.


For M&A and press releases, this week includes some heavy hitters with Samson & Surrey bought by Heaven Hill and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana Tequila is acquired by Jagermeister. Two very different paths of growth between the two brands: organic growth & acquisitions vs. celebrity-backing. If you’re thinking about growing a brand so that you can eventually sell it, you need to know the steps that companies like these took to get there.


And now, the news…

Issue #7

Spirits Sales are Up for 12th Consecutive Year, Led by High-End Tequila

Among the key categories driving sales were vodka, with revenues up 4.9% to $7.3 billion; tequila and mezcal, which surged a whopping 30.1% to $5.2 billion; American whiskey, gaining 6.7% to $4.6 billion; and brandy and Cognac, up 13.1% to $3.5 billion.

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Tequila could overtake vodka as America's favorite liquor as sales boom

Agave-based spirits saw sales climb 30.1% compared with the prior year to $5.2 billion, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.

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Whiskey sales start comeback in bars, restaurants

On-premise sales volumes — representing about one-fifth of the US spirits market — rose 53% in 2021, following pandemic-related restaurant and bar closures and restrictions nationwide in 2020.

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Mississippi House, Senate offer competing solutions to state's liquor distribution issues

Lawmakers are at odds over Mississippi's liquor distribution woes, with the House wanting to privatize everything and the Senate looking to build a new warehouse and contract out distribution services.

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Maine Committee Unanimously Passes Bill Extending Cocktails To-Go Until March 2025

The Maine Joint Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs unanimously passed LD 1751, a bill amended to extend cocktails to-go until March 31, 2025, in an effort to support hospitality businesses struggling to cope with the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19.

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Idaho liquor sales grow, more stores and employee pay bump proposed

As the state’s population swells, Idaho state liquor sales have been booming, even with per-capita consumption rates well below the national average.

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Virginia House Passes Bill Extending Cocktails To-Go Until July 2024

The Virginia House passed HB 426, a bill to extend cocktails to-go until July 1, 2024, in an effort to support hospitality businesses struggling to cope with the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19.

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Distillers want to expand number of tasting rooms in Nebraska

State lawmakers gave craft breweries the ability to operate up to five tasting rooms under a single liquor license in a sweeping change to Nebraska's liquor laws in 2016. A bill before the Legislature this year aims to provide the same opportunities to the makers of whiskey, bourbon, vodka and other hard alcohols.

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TTB Newsletter for February 4, 2022

Included: “Do I Need a Formula? Speed Up Label Approval by Knowing the Answer”

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Evanston’s FEW Spirits bought by Heaven Hill Brands: ‘It should be business as usual,’ founder says

The Samson & Surrey portfolio has grown 60% annually, doing $40 million in sales across more than 30 markets globally, according to a news release.

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Dwayne Johnson’s Teremana Tequila eyes global expansion with Mast-Jagermeister deal

Cofounded by Johnson along liquor industry veterans Jenna Fagnan and Ken Austin as well as bodybuilder Dany Garcia, the company first launched in March 2020 with an initial rollout in the United States, followed by sales in Canada and Mexico.

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Two Black-Owned Spirit Brands Made One Epic Rum for Black History Month

Ten to One, a rum brand, tapped Uncle Nearest, a whiskey brand, to create Bourbon Cask Finish Rum.

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New Liberty Distilling to revive Faber liquor brand after buying Bucks County company for $1.4M

The acquisition dramatically increases New Liberty's production as it looks to expand its presence throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

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Spirits brand uses NFTs to change face of fundraising; partners with Humane Society

Satellite Spirits has partnered with the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe and NFTY Markets to launch PreMEMEium Vodka. Every bottle comes with its own unique NFT, and $10 of every bottle goes directly to the Humane Society.

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Lucas Bols completes acquisition of Tequila Partida

Dutch spirits producer Lucas Bols has completed the acquisition of Tequila Partida from the Shansby Trust and Edrington USA.

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Sechey brings alternative spirits to retail

One of Charleston’s most unique cocktail spots opens this month on King Street – it’s all non-alcoholic.

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Meet New York’s First Non-Alcoholic Spirits Distributor

Earlier this month, non-alcoholic distributor Proof No More launched in New York, after a group of beverage industry vets saw an increasingly attractive white space in the distribution market.

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Alan Bishop: Preserving Indiana's distilling history while charting new directions

Today he works as the head distiller at Spirits of French Lick, where he is leading a revolution in the craft distilling world by using historic yeast strains to bolster the flavor profiles of beverages he and his colleagues produce.

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Cantilever Distillery + Hotel ushers in new era for Koochiching County

Distillery near the US-Canadian border and Voyageurs National Park attracts visitors to bolster tourism in the area.

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Republic National Distributing Company Appoints Nicholas Mehall as President and CEO

Mehall served as RNDC’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since 2017 and has successfully strengthened the company’s financial position, significantly improved RNDC’s investment in technology and led the recent expansion into new markets.

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Ultra Pure Announces Partnership With nwPURE for Exclusive Canadian Whiskey Supply for USA

Ultra Pure, one of the largest bulk alcohol suppliers in the United States, announces a partnership with nwPURE, a top distiller of premium neutral wheat, corn and rye spirits, for exclusive Canadian Whiskey supply for USA.

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Forbidden Spirits Hires New Chief Revenue Manager

Forbidden Spirits is pleased to announce the hiring of David Klemchuk in the new role of Chief Revenue Manager.

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