Booze Blues

Amid humdrum liquor sales, the annual bar trade show in Las Vegas pushes crazy colors and flavors

It turns out that the old saw about people drinking their troubles away in bad times--and boosting bar business--isn't true. Liquor sales lately have moved in step with the economy, which explains why so many attendees are driven to drink here at the annual bar-industry trade show in Las Vegas. With business stagnant at nightclubs, taverns, and restaurant and hotel bars, this is an industry thirsty for a new sensation.

Next Big Things come and go--remember dry beer, "malternative" beverages and low-cal cream liqueurs?--but the industry has very high hopes for one ongoing craze: from chocolate vodka to tequila-and-lime-spiked rum to...

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