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Bourbon NZ’s Favourite Spirit

Media release
24 January 2005

Bourbon NZ’s Favourite Spirit

Experiencing a surge in popularity, Bourbon has overtaken Gin as New Zealand’s favourite spirit.

Supplier level domestic sales data, compiled by the Distilled Spirits Association of New Zealand*, reveals that Bourbon sales increased 7% from 150,000 cases to 161,000 cases in the 2004 calendar year.

Gin, New Zealand’s former drink of choice, saw sales of 156,000 cases in 2004 compared with almost 158,000 cases the year previous.

The top 3 selling categories of spirits by volume in 2004 were Bourbon with an 18% share of the market, Gin with 17% and Scotch with 15%.

Chief executive, Thomas Chin, from the Association puts its enormous success down to the proliferation of modern American imagery, which is considered fashionable and is heartily embraced in cultures across the world.

“RTDs (ready-to-drink beverages) have also undoubtedly played a role in the growth of Bourbon consumption. RTDs offer a convenient way to consume spirits, and Bourbon mixed with cola or dry are firm favourites.”

“Bourbon’s popularity and versatility lends itself to being used in a variety of other ways including cocktails, long or short drinks, with water and of course neat for purists.”

Virtually all Bourbon hails from the State of Kentucky in the United States with more than 90% of all bourbons being produced there today by just a handful of distilleries. Under US law, all bourbon must be distilled in the USA, at a proof not exceeding 160 proof (80% alcohol by volume) and comprise at least 51% corn.


* The Distilled Spirits Association is the national trade organisation representing New Zealand’s leading producers and marketers of spirits and liqueurs. Our members include: Anchor Ethanol Limited, Bacardi Martini Asia Pacific Ltd, Brown Forman Beverages Worldwide, Diageo (New Zealand) Ltd, Federal*Geo, Fosters International (New Zealand) Ltd, Heaven Hill Distilleries NZ Ltd, Lion Nathan Wines and Spirits Ltd, Maxxium NZ Ltd, Orlando Wyndham New Zealand Limited, The Rum Company (New Zealand) Ltd, and Vintage Wines and Spirits Ltd.

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