Cocktails lead beer as the nation's most money making alcoholic beverage. Here's why

Cocktail or beer?

Spirits revenue surpassed beer for the first time, as the nation’s most money-making alcoholic beverage.

The findings according to The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States show that despite the tough economy, the spirits industry generated some $200 billion in U.S. economic activity last year. 

The Distilled Spirits Council also found that while vodka remains the top category by volume, premixed cocktails, tequila and whiskey are the fastest growing categories.

Experts credit several reasons for the shift: pricing, demographics, consumer preferences and company decisions like marketing or branding.

Beer boasters believe the findings aren’t necessarily tied to popularity but rather premiumization.

"Spirits has been gaining ground against beer when it comes to volume but one of the things that has driven spirits growth is people trading up to higher priced beverages and people spending more per bottle," said Chris Shepard with Beer Market’s Insights. And as far as the future, beer enthusiasts predict beer won’t remain flat forever.