Spirits: The Next White Hope

For people who are interested in American drinking habits—and enjoy arguments about statistics—the latest edition of the liquor industry's Handbook brought some more or less momentous information. The bourbons still reign over all (two to one over Scotch), but vodka, the biggest new "white liquor," passed gin last year, 12.9 million to 12.4 million cases. The Handbook's charts show that vodka hasn't a chance until 1973, if then. Then there's rum. Terrific growth—up 54% in the past five years.

Since rum, vodka and gin are all so big, maybe there's a new "white hope" coming along? Some liquor companies think...

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