Thousands of Iowans likely hoisted an alcoholic drink to toast the New Year, and chances are those drinks were part of a new trend. Lynn Walding, director of Iowa’s Alcoholic Beverages Division, says flavored vodkas have driven an increase in alcohol sales. He says they see everything from citrus to peach to cherry flavored vodkas, and he says the sale of rum is up, too — also driven by flavors. Walding says new drinkers are the Iowans who’re pushing the trend. He says young people ages 21 to 29 are drawn to the flavors, as he says those drinks are now advertised on cable. He says young adults are starting with those flavored drinks instead of starting out with beer and moving on to spirits. Walding says that 21 to 29-year-old group is the single largest category of alcohol drinkers and it’s expanding. He says as that category grows by two percent a year between now and 2010, it is considerably increasing the number of consumers and the number who consume alcohol. Walding says single malt scotch is another area that’s shown an increase. He says it’s not a huge category, but it was up 15-percent. He says what they’re seeing is a major shift in consumer demand in the category, particularily in high-end brands. He says people are typically drinking bottles that cost $40 or more. Walding says the demand for scotch has made some brands hard to come by and part of the problem is getting enough of the product in to the state warehouse. He says the producers of scotch are looking at producing flavored scotches to meet some of the demand. He says it’s a good thing for scotch producers, but not a good thing for consumers as the price of has gone up with demand. Walding says alcohol sales in 2004 were running about 12-percent above last year.
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