Whiskey cocktail

A taste for whiskey, cocktail culture and selling Colorado spirits Hooch Goose Colorado

Colorado doesn’t say how much of each type of spirits sells for, but ask around and people are saying right now it’s the whiskey that’s hot.

American whiskey alone accounted for $ 3.4 billion in sales in the United States in 2017, which helped generate record exports, prompting the Distilled Spirits Council to proclaim American whiskey “the toast of the world cocktail scene ”.

“You know vodka crushed all the ’80s and’ 90s, they destroyed it,” said Ryan Negley, representative of Vapor Distillery and president of the Denver Whiskey Club. “It’s someone else’s turn now, that’s what it is.”

The tastes of alcoholic beverages follow one another in somewhat spectacular fashion. What’s big now is unlikely to be King of the Mountain 10 years from now. But it’s more than just a trend. For whiskey connoisseurs, there is now a dazzling array of brands to choose from.

“Whiskey is a really big adventure, and it’s, ‘I had that one, now I got to have that one, and that one, and that one,” said Negley.

The whiskey renaissance comes at a time when customers want a variety of craft and local brands in general – the same impulses that are driving demand for small, local beers.

Ben Markus / CPR News
Ron Vaughn, co-owner and COO of Argonaut Wine and Liquor, stands by the liquor shelves in the store.

Negley is a shameless whiskey evangelist. But Ron Vaughn, co-owner and COO of Argonaut Wine and Liquor in Denver, takes a more sober view. Whiskey is important in Colorado right now “because we have so many distilleries,” he said.

There are now over 90 distilleries in Colorado, strong growth since Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey was established in 2004. Vaughn has been in the liquor business for a long time and says the switch to whiskey has been spectacular.

“Ten, 12 years ago you couldn’t give brown spirits and then people started to taste them and understand their uniqueness,” Vaughn said.

He credits the explosion of restaurants in Denver, many of which feature cocktails that people want to recreate. So Vaughn started packing whole drink kits for classics like the Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.

Whiskey has taken off, but given the cyclical nature of alcohol tastes, could it be on the decline soon? As president of the Denver Whiskey Club, Ryan Negley doesn’t see it that way.

“Whiskey is still on the rise, so we are still a long way from reaching the top. “

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