Consumers last year continued to flock to more expensive premium and flavoured products, according to the recently published Adams Liquor Handbook 2007.

The recent offering from the Adams Beverage Group, the Adams Liquor Handbook 2007 said: "Total spirits consumption rose 3.7% last year to 176.7m 9-litre cases, marking the ninth consecutive year of such strong increases."

Adams Beverage Group vice president and group publisher Charles Forman added: "Virtually without exception, consumers are responding positively to the range of quality products for sale in every spirit category. The cocktail craze is certainly fueling much of this growth, and now people are taking inspiration from what they are served at bars and restaurants and making those drinks at home with high-end spirits, pleasing both on- and off-premise retailers."    

The publication claimed that vodka, rum and Tequila continued to lead spirit sales growth last year, up more than 4.8m cases together. Vodka grew 6.8% to hit 49.4m cases, rum 3.8% to 22.9m cases and tequila 10.8% to 10.0m cases. Irish whiskey, off a much smaller base, grew the most of all, up 19.0% last year to 732,000 cases, according to the handbook.

Whisky rose with total sales of all whisky categories up 1.2% to reach 45.0m cases. Cordials and liqueurs, the third best-selling category, also posted substantial gains, up 3.2%, more than 665,000 cases, to reach 21.4m cases.

The book indicated that results showed how that, in all categories, consumers continue to drink within their favoured beverage, but opt for the higher priced super-premium brands.

As young adult consumers mature, they are fueling this trend, seeking both flavour appeal and status symbol associations. Increased marketing and advertising initiatives for these luxury products should continue to build on this positioning, according to the guide.