A wave of diversity, innovation and experimentation is helping the global wine and spirits market pull out of the economic downturn, according to recent research.

The IWSR Insights Report 2011, published last month, notes that flavour experimentation is on the rise in the wider spirits category, with flavours as diverse as cherry, chilli and chocolate leading the way. Traditional spirits with new flavours are driving growth in many markets, the report says. Flavoured whisk(e)y is of increasing interest in the US, flavoured vodka is driving vodka growth in the UK, while flavoured rum continues to grow in various markets across the globe, driven by Captain Morgan Spiced and Sailor Jerry rum.

New flavours are also helping bring innovation and new life to the RTD category in markets like Australia, Latin America and Western Europe.

Niche categories are also discovering new flavours – chilli-flavoured sambuca is popular in the UK market, for instance, and genever is used as an alternative base for mojitos in Belgium.

The report, which is available via just-drinks, has also found that premiumisation is on the rise again, although this is being countered by cautious spending. The sparkling wine category continues to develop, while the wine culture in Asia is also growing, according to The IWSR.