Bourbon or Scotch: Which is More Popular in the U.S.?

What’s more popular? Bourbon or Scotch??

That’s the age old question, and although both are whiskey, they do have their differences. It would be a different survey result, if you spoke to people in Scotland, versus talking to people in Kentucky. Two people, who are best friends, and who do not mind sharing a flask with one another, can actually have a taste test, where they fill one flask with Bourbon, and the other with Scotch, and they can each have a few drinks throughout the afternoon or night, from both, and see which they like better.

Regarding which drink is more popular, however, it’s really quite location-specific. There are places in the world, specifically in the U.S., where Bourbon is preferred. However, there are also many places in the U.S. where scotch is preferred. In general, each region of the world has their own popular national drink. In Russia – vodka, in Moldova – boza, and in China – baijiu. So regarding which drink is more popular, first we need to determine what global region we’re speaking about. For all intents and purposes, let’s stick to focusing on the U.S.A.

Bourbon Bottle by Sam Ley

Photo Credit: Sam Ley

In general, spirits and wine consumption in the U.S. has increased, while beer consumption has decreased. Vodka dominated the spirits market in 2012 with 34.1% of total spirits sales in the U.S. Rum came in second with 13.1% and American Whiskey (the category which includes Bourbon) came in third with 10.4% of market sales (a 3.4% growth from the previous year). Scotch Whisky conquered only 4.2% of the market in 2012 (a meager 0.2% increase from 2011). Jack Daniels and Jim Beam both appear in the top 10 selling spirits from 2012, while not a single scotch whisky brand made it into the top 25.

So just by taking a close look at the data, it’s apparent that Bourbon is a far more popular drink in the U.S. than Scotch Whisky.

Data in this article was referenced from the Mike Ginley’s presentation on Alcohol Trends at the U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum and the Beverage Information Group. Click here for more information.

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