Speaking at this week's Spirits Summit in London, organised by the Publican's Morning Advertiser, Beale said innovation and the growth of new flavours and styles in the category would broaden spirits’ appeal to a wider demographic, bringing in more men and younger drinkers into the category.
"Consumers are becoming more interested and informed," he said. "Spirits should be a serious consideration for all pubs."
He also pointed to the rise of craft distilling as a signal of the resurgence of the category, claiming that the number of new distilleries opening in 2014 would be greater than the previous five years combined.
This potential is being undermined by the UK’s duty rate, Beale warned. UK consumers currently pay about 40% of the entire level of alcohol duty across the whole European Union.
The WSTA successfully campaigned for a freeze in spirits duty in this year’s Budget, and is calling for a “modest cut” from the Chancellor next year. A dedicated website will be launched which will allow licensees to email their local MP to raise awareness of the contribution the spirits industry makes, and Beale urged pubs to support the campaign.