“Anytime you see an economic challenge I think Americans have a tendency to look homeward,” says Bill Newlands, president of North America for Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc., Deerfield, Ill., in this month’s Up Close With article.

Newlands attributes part of Beam Global’s success in 2010 to the upswing in its bourbon business, which includes Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and several small batch bourbon collections. In addition to aligning with an overall spirits category trend toward more flavors, Newlands suggests that the resurgence of bourbon might be due in part to its domestic roots, he says, calling bourbon “America’s native spirit.”

Spirits barely edged out beer as the most popular alcohol category enjoyed by consumers in the past two years, according to Mintel International, Chicago. The research group reports that 33 percent of all legal beer drinkers indicated that they drink more domestic craft beer now than in previous years.

At the end of 2010, the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo., redefined the term “craft brewer” to include any independent brewery that produces up to 6 million barrels of traditional beer. The revised definition stays in step with the continued growth of craft breweries. This month’s Cover Story feature, The Boston Beer Co., is the first of the craft brewers projected to surpass its previous limit of 2 million barrels, the Brewers Association says.

Both of these domestic products aim to continue their expansion. In the next year, Beam Global plans invest in the marketing of its bourbon brands, Newlands says. And the mission of the Brewers Association is to help the country’s craft brewers increase its approximate 5 percent market share to more than 5 percent by 2013. BI