By Stephen Valdivia
September 26, 2015

The bourbon boom is real. And experts say it is here to stay for decades to come.

Over the past five years, volume for U.S. bourbon and Tennessee whiskey jumped nearly 29%, according to Distilled Spirits Council of the United States data, mostly due to strong sales of the good, pricy stuff. That growth has been fueled by greater interest in brown spirits, while vodka has lost its luster. Strong export markets like Germany and Australia have also propelled the American whiskey category.

Maker’s Mark is among the U.S. distilleries benefiting from the trend. Corporate parent Beam Suntory is expecting to keep toasting strong sales, spending almost $70 million to expand Maker’s Mark’s spirits operations in Kentucky, where many other distilleries are also boosting production.

Lots of growth is also attributed to flavored whiskeys, often featuring honey or a spicy cinnamon, though Maker’s Mark has completely avoided that trend. The whiskey, with its iconic red wax top, is sticking to what it knows: caramel and vanilla notes and a woody oak aroma.

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