It sucks to lose star power. It was October of 2012 when I took my first sip of Fireball whiskey.
Forty minutes before my first taste my friend had called and said, "Jordan. Stop what you're doing and go to VONS now to buy a bottle of Fireball Whiskey. You are going to taste something unbelievable." I needed a few things from the market anyway, so I followed her orders and drove off.
She was right. It was a remarkable taste. I was immediately transported back to my middle school years of playing Bobby Sox softball when Atomic Fireball jaw-breakers were every player's candy of choice. You weren't supposed to eat them on the field but since I spent most of my time in the dugout, let's just say that I ate A LOT of them.
Fireball Whisky took the world by storm and soon found its way into every bar, club, and restaurant bar. It was the drink of choice for the 21+ and millennial crowd. Then came the copy cats. In droves. You can now walk into any specialty liquor store and find Flame Thrower Cinnamon Whisky, Jim Beam Kentucky Fire Bourbon Whiskey, After Shock Cinnamon Liqueur, Dirty Tequila with cinnamon and pineapple, Jack Daniel Tennessee Fire, Not Your Moms Apple Pie cinnamon beer, Apple Pie Moonshine, Ten High Bourbon, Stillhouse Red Hot, D'USSE Cognac VSOP, 8 Second Honey Cinnamon Canadian, and the list goes on and on. Even Cinnabon, the airport pastry staple, got into the mix with a Cinnabon Cinnamon Creme Liqueur. No lie.
So here's the chicken or the egg question. Did cinnamon flavored spirits just peak? Or did the saturation of the market cause the people to tire of the trend?
Either way, there's a new "It Girl" in the house and her name is Deep Eddy Vodka. We learned about Deep Eddy early on because we met the CEO in the lobby of BevMo! when we were we there for a meeting. He could give a shit who we were, and has never returned an email, but it's been busy in Texas. Their regular vodka is nothing to write home about (don't worry Tito's), but their favored vodkas are knocking it out of the park. Here's a list of them in order of our favorites: Grapefruit, Peach, Lemon, Orange, Cranberry, and Sweet Tea. All of them land on the sweet side of the palate, but people...they are seriously good.
We can thank Fireball for ushering in a new flavored-spirits trend, but whether or not it's sustainable is to be determined. We've seen low-cal, organic, and ready-to-drink spirits all come and go. So our only advice for fledgling spirits companies is to enjoy the spotlight while you can. Take a cue from Hollywood's young starlets and recreate yourself as you age for a more mature audience. The gimmicks of flavoring will only last you so long.