What are Consumers Drinking, and Where?

Washington, D.C. – March 27, 2009 – As the stock market rides a rollercoaster, consumers are adjusting their spending habits in ways unseen in years. According to a survey released today, consumers are enjoying spirits as they take a break from the nightly news, and 88 percent of respondents see spirits as an affordable luxury.  

More than 50 percent of respondents said people are hosting friends at home more often, but many bartenders also noted that their consumers are first hosting friends at home before heading out to bars and restaurants later in the evening. When they go out, consumers are tipping less compared to one year ago, according to 62 percent of the bartenders surveyed and a quarter of the respondents stated that whiskey is the next big category for mixing. 

The survey was issued today by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. [Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO)], the leading American spirits company, in collaboration with Clarus Research Group. Approximately 100 hospitality industry personnel, including bartenders and liquor store owners, were surveyed at the 2009 Nightclub & Bar Show held in Las Vegas earlier this month.  

“In spite of the economy, consumers are still enjoying their spirits both at home and out in bars and restaurants,” stated Bobby “G” Gleason, master mixologist for Beam Global Spirits & Wine. “It’s clear from the survey results that my fellow bartenders echo my same optimism for the health and future of the spirits industry.”

When toasting at home this spring, Bobby “G” recommends a few American cocktails:
The Big Apple
2 Parts VOX ® APPLE Vodka
1 Part DeKuyper® Red Apple Schnapps
3 Parts Lemonade or Fresh Sour Mix
Top with Lemon-Lime soda
Shake all ingredients except the soda with ice and pour into a highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and a cherry.
Black Cherry
2 Parts Jim Beam Black® Bourbon
1 Part Cruzan® Black Cherry Rum
Lemon-Lime Soda
Pour over ice and fill rocks glass with soda.  Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Kentucky Sweet Tea
2 Parts Jim Beam Black® Bourbon
1 Part DeKuyper® Peachtree® Schnapps
3 Parts Sweet Tea
Pour all ingredients over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a wedge of lemon.
The full survey questions and results include:

·       In these economic times, do you consider spirits to be an affordable luxury or extravagant expense?
o       88% said affordable luxury, 8% extravagant expense.
·       Which category do you think will be the next big main ingredient when it comes to mixing cocktails?
o       36% said Vodka, followed by 25% Whiskey (including Bourbon), 23% Rum and 16% Tequila.
·       Do you think that consumers in general are tipping more or less than they did one year ago?
o       62% said less, and 38% said the same or more.
·       Compared to one year ago, do you think consumers are hosting friends at home more often or are they still going to bars and restaurants?
o       57 % said hosting friends at home more often and 41% said still going to bars and restaurants
·       Which would you say is the biggest reason why people are enjoying their spirits these days?
o       35% said as they take a break from the nightly news, followed by 29% to spend quality time with friends and family, 17% to celebrate and 15% to network.
·       Lastly, looking ahead one year from today – what do you think bartenders and wait staff will be saying?
o       59% said happy times are here again and 39% said better luck next year.
Beam Global reminds legal purchase age consumers to drink responsibly after casting their vote.  Through its drink smart® responsibility platform, Beam Global educates consumers on how to make responsible decisions about alcohol and reminds them of these six basic principles:
·       Respect Others.
·       Obey the Law.
·       Take Responsibility.
·       Drink in Moderation.
·       Be a Responsible Host.
·       Drive Safe. 

To learn more tips, visit www.drinksmart.com.

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