American Bourbon By Nino Marchetti / June 8, 2016 Craft whiskey: it’s what’s for breakfast, particularly if you are a Millennial in search of something a little more unique than what your dad drinks. This is one of the strongest takeaways from a recent study suggesting spirits positioned as “craft” have so far accounted for one in seven new global spirit launches to date in 2016.Craft whiskies like these are leading the charge in new global spirits launches (image copyright The Whiskey Wash)The new research, according to analytics firm Mintel, found craft spirit debuts have increased by some 265% globally between 2011 and 2015. Much of this drive has been because of the surge in American craft spirits, with almost half of the debuts coming from the US, followed by Europe at 42%. A major underlying factor is a high consumer demand for so called artisanal alcoholic beverages. As noted by the researchers,over half (55%) of US alcohol drinkers agree that craft alcohol brands are of higher quality than big brands and demand is mirrored across Europe too. Around half of consumers in France (55%), Italy (53%), Germany (50%) and Poland (46%) agree that spirits from small/craft distillers are more appealing than large, mass-produced brands. While in the UK, 37% of dark spirits/liqueur drinkers are prepared to pay more for craft variants.“Craft spirit launches are growing at a rapid pace and will continue to rise in more mature markets – particularly the U.S. – as consumers continually seek out ‘special’ offerings,” said Jonny Forsyth, Global Drinks Analyst at Mintel, in a statement. “Despite being a relatively small sector of the market, craft spirits are growing in response to the huge consumer-led demand for more authentic, more distinctive, more local, less processed and more interesting spirit brands.”One population particularly taken by this belief system are Millennials, with roughly three quarters of this younger population feeling craft alcohol brands deliver higher quality experiences then big brands.“Millennials are a driving force behind the growth of craft spirits, having taken their ‘creative’ and ‘unique’ ethos into their spirits-buying habits,” added Forsyth. “Rather than wanting to affiliate themselves with bigger brands, Millennials often seek to define themselves by more niche, higher quality brands with a quirky backstory; and ideally, they are brands their peers have not even heard of.”image via MintelLeading the charge by spirit category is craft whiskey, said to account for 43% of global craft spirit launches last year. Gin is trailing not too far behind, however, coming in at 23%.