As the economy continues to expand, premium and super-premium distilled spirits are coming back stronger than ever, according to the Beverage Information & Insights Group’s “2014 Liquor Handbook.” The Norwalk, Conn.-based company reports that this premiumization trend means that consumers are drinking less but drinking “better,” which resulted in slower case sales growth of 2.2 percent, reaching 210 million 9-liter cases in 2013.

Although the category overall experienced diminished growth following this premiumization trend, most of the distilled spirits segments experienced upticks, with a few exceptions. For example, unlike straight whiskey, blended whiskey has dealt with declining sales and marketers focusing on categories with higher potential. Gin also lost volume because high-end offerings, which make up the majority of the category's growth, were not large enough to make up for the deficit overall. Finally, pressure on the prepared cocktails segment to create new products, combined with the slowing of Beam Suntory Inc.’s Skinnygirl brand, resulted in the category losing 9.1 percent, the Beverage Information & Insights Group reports.

Consumer spending habits continue to evolve in restaurants and bars as well, resulting in a decrease in volume and a modest increase in dollar sales, it says.

"Although the on-premise volume fell 1.8 percent, dollars increased 2 percent due to consumers drinking less but making the most of their occasions by drinking better products," said Adam Rogers, manager of information for the Beverage Information & Insights Group, in a statement. "Suppliers continue to focus on millennials because they are responsible for establishing the trends that have spurred growth in the premium-and-above price points."

For more information or to purchase the “2014 Liquor Handbook,” visit