The surge in spirits sales in the US has been further highlighted by new government data revealing the category significantly outpacing wine and beer sales. 

Figures released by the US Census Bureau yesterday (1 July) show that sales of spirits by US wholesalers rose by 30% between 2007 and 2012. By contrast, wine sales climbed by 16.5%, while beer sales rose by 9.6%. 

However, the beer industry still has plenty to celebrate: The number of US breweries more than doubled - from 398 to 869 -  in the five-year period, the data shows. The figures back up Brewers Association data from 2012 showing the number of US breweries had hit a 125-year high. However the trade body's data showed the US had 2,126 breweries. It is not immediately clear how the Census Bureau has classified a brewery.

Brewers also reported $28.3bn in shipments in 2012, an increase of nearly 33.6% since 2007 – partly due to the boom in craft beer sales.

Beer sales in cans also increased 32% in the period to $14.3bn, the figures reveal.