Possibly Good News: Wine, Beer, and Spirits Sales Up 6%Liquor store sales for beer, wine, and spirits are up six percent for the 12 months that ended on May 31st, according to Sageworks Inc., a financial analysis firm. You may consider this good news or bad, depending on whether you habitually see your glass half full or half empty. If you see it half full, you will probably think that the economy is improving. If you see your glass as half empty, you will be convinced that the economy is worsening and driving people to drink even more.

Rather than an optimist or a pessimist, you might prefer being a rationalist, in which case you would want to see the numbers. David Ozgo, chief economist with the trade group Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying that the 2.3 percent increase in his sector in 2010 was trivial, especially since sales were flat in 1009. He points out that when the economy was stronger between 2000 and 2007, sales of spirits increased 6.5 percent a year.

But on the beer front, the stein is fairly full. Marketing firm Mintel International Group Ltd predicts that domestic beer sales will increase 19 percent between 2010 and 2015, given that the volume of craft beers increased nine percent in the first half of 2010 at the expense of imported beer. Any one who follows micro breweries in the U.S. knows how delicious those beers have become.

Wine sales, though, are leading all categories. Mintel predicts that wine sales will grow by a healthy 28 percent between 2010 and 2015. Clearly, it’s easier for someone to buy a good bottle of wine than to actually vacation in wine country, whether in Napa or Tuscany. I hope the prediction is correct for your sake and mine. I’m sure that you’d like to increase your wine budget 28 percent by 2015. And I wouldn’t mind increasing my business by as much.