NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 24: General view as Belvedere Vodka x Janelle Monae Celebrate The Launch Of "A Beautiful Future" Limited Edition Bottle at The Tisch Skylights at The Shed on June 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Belvedere Vodka)
Is Vodka Still The Most Valuable Spirit In America?
By Carly Weaver
Vodka's 50-year reign as America's top-selling spirit might be coming to an end even though it's the most affordable option at a liquor store and the spirit of choice in iconic drinks like a bloody mary and a martini. You would think that America's most popular spirit, whiskey, would take over vodka's reign, but tequila is the rising star in the liquor industry.
Tequila didn't just overtake whiskey as the second most-purchased alcohol in the U.S., as it's also expected to surpass vodka in 2023, making it the alcohol industry's value leader. According to the IWSR 2022 report of U.S. alcohol sales, agave spirits — aka tequila and mezcal — were responsible for $1.6 billion in sales in 2022, accounting for "65% of overall value growth of total U.S. spirits."
One crucial factor for tequila's rise in sales is its appeal to a wide variety of consumers, with demographics evenly spanning across age and gender. Whether it's flavored, spicy, blanco, reposado, or añejo, tequila can be enjoyed in many variations, and there's also been an emergence of high-end brands that are meant to be sipped slowly rather than poured into shots or margaritas.