I think Jim and I getting together 3 Times in one year, twice in the US, also is a contributing factor.
US Alcohol Sales Rise 2.7 Percent in 2011
(NewsCore) - A strong uptick in the sales of booze last year is painting one of the surest signs yet of a return to the pre-recession boom days, according to new data.
US shipments of scotch, vodka, rum and other spirits in 2011 increased 2.7 percent over the previous year -- the strongest increase in five years, according to industry data.
"We are back to pre-recession growth levels," said David Ozgo, an economist with the Distilled Spirits Council of the US, referring to the industry's sales by volume.
Indeed, the sales jump last year was close to the 2.9 percent annual average increase prior to the 2008 economic collapse, Ozgo said Monday at a New York meeting with Wall Street analysts and reporters.
By comparison, spirits sales by volume grew by just two percent in 2010 and 1.4 percent in 2009.
In another example of Americans showing a more bullish outlook, the increases were even greater in higher-priced booze.
Sales of "high-end" brands were up 5.3 percent last year, in line with the pre-recession average of 5.8 percent.
By comparison, sales of high-end brands were up just 3.3 percent in 2010 and in 2009 they dropped 3.5 percent, the data shows.
"This is the classic pattern that we see during a recovery," Ozgo said the switch from so-called "value" brands to the premium brands.
So-called "super premium" brands were up nine percent, down slightly from 10.6 percent in 2010. Still, sales of this group by volume are well above a recession-time drop of 5.1 percent in 2009 and a slim rise of 1.7 percent in 2008, the data shows.
Of course, not every indicator is having a pre-recession party. However, even the laggards are showing signs of improvement.
Revenues, for example, were up four percent last year to $19.9 billion. That's short of the pre-recession annual average of 6.5 percent, but still better than the 2.3 percent rate posted in 2010, and the big, fat zero rate of growth the industry rang up in 2009.
Ozgo cited growing consumer confidence about an improving jobs market.
While unemployment is still high -- at 8.5 percent nationwide as of December -- it's been coming down. This has eased tensions among the employed that they're the next to be axed, Ozgo said.