Let’s face it; nearly everyone I know is a health-freak these days (myself included). Granted, this mentality from time-to-time does seem to gravitate toward and hover around particular areas of the US (and the world, for that matter). Still, no matter where you go, what seems to clench the deal is seeing fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Taco Bell making renewed efforts to provide healthier alternatives to the time-tested standards on their menus; from the inclusion of whole-wheat buns with Premium Chicken sandwiches, to Taco Bell’s “Fresco” menu, which offers low-cal alternatives to items on the regular menu, available upon request.
It isn’t surprising, therefore, that the alcohol industry poses no exception to the trend toward lower caloric intake, organic components, and even environmentally “green” standards. Beverage World recently reported that sales of premium spirits are up 92 percent in the last year, in spite of the downward trends seen in the American economy. Similarly, USA Today points out that demand for organic spirits, especially in conjunction with drinks mixed using organic fruit juices and other natural flavoring, also appears to be on the rise.
In my opinion, this indicates a couple of rather interesting things about the beverage industry: that alcohol may indeed be close to being “recession-proof”, and that even in the midst of economic turmoil, people seem to find it well worth the extra dollars (however few they can afford) to buy better quality liquors. Heck, just after Christmas, a friend of mine who stocks an ABC store near Asheville, North Carolina, described that on Christmas Eve of 2008 they had done more business than any any previous year, drawing in more money in a single day than some low-income Americans may have made in the entire year!
But does this also indicate a trend toward stuffier attitudes about where, when, and how people will enjoy their mixed beverages? Maybe not. Blogger Jennie Phipps over at the Wallet Pop describes it as such: “I prefer to believe it’s a wave of civility that substitutes a few tasty sips for wretched excess. That’s the way the world seems to be moving in general and that’s worth toasting.”
So as times change, so do people’s attitudes towards alcohol (as well as their willingness to spend hard-earned dollars on it). Go ahead… tie it all in with America’s “new direction” politically if you like, and even cite the election of President Barck Obama if you care to. So far as I’m concerned, though I don’t necessarily like to mix my drinks with a spoon that’s been dipped in the political melting-pot we’re faced with these days, I certainly don’t mind trends in the alcohol industry like these mentioned, either. If anything, it’s about time Americans straightened up a bit, and finally embraced the pleasantries of a truly fine mixed drink… let alone a healthy one! On that note, if anxieties, or even mere interest in health-related issues influence this, I say all the better!