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Bourbon Sells, and Pricey Bourbon Sells Even Better

Bourbon Sells and Pricey Bourbon Sells Even Better Businessweek


In the liquor industry, one of the only things hotter than Kentucky bourbon is super-expensive Kentucky bourbon. The market for the high-end brown stuff has exploded in recent years, with sales at the upper reaches of the market surpassing even those of the questionably flavored bourbons.

From a certain perspective, the two trends seem to work in concert: Maple, cinnamon, and honey bourbons help ease first-timers into the customer base, and the small-batch exclusivity of aged bourbons await those who cultivate a more refined taste and can afford to spend money on it. “There’s very little of this stuff available,” says Larry Kass, a spokesman for Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Ky., of the upper-end bourbons. 

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Alcohol is high margin because perception of brand is so powerful.

It's even more apparent in the vodka market: vodka by definition is flavorless so high end vodka in theory tastes the same as low end vodka. In practice there are additives and extra distillings to make the high end seem high. But that's mostly perception.

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