It’s costs more to buy top label liquor in the U.S., but consumers don’t seem to care.
Global distiller Diageo (DGE) generated about one-third of sales in the U.S. during its most recent quarter. However, the U.S. accounted for 40% of the company’s earnings. Though the company has raised the price of its premium scotch by 9% and even hiked the prices of bottom-label gins and vodkas, sales volumes remain steady, BusinessWeek notes.
Diageo also reported strong sales of its pricey Bulleit Bourbon and Johnnie Walker Blue Label whiskey. The latter can cost as much as $200 a bottle.
Beer prices are rising, too. Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) saw North American revenue rise 1.5%, even as sales fell 2%. Earnings also climbed 3% due to higher beer prices.
Liquor prices have risen high enough that some restaurants find it profitable to cheat. In May, New Jersey regulators raided 29 bars and restaurants across the state, finding that the venues had deceived customers into believing they were paying high prices for premium liquor when they were in fact getting cheaper substitutes, including dirty water and rubbing alcohol.
Shares of Anheuser-Busch rose 2% in Thursday afternoon trading, while Diageo edged modestly higher.