Chileans dessert wines for spirits, beer

Much of the world knows Chile for its wines, but beer and spirits are doing much better with Chilean consumers.

According to the leading newspaper, La Tercera, "Domestic pisco and wine consumption fell by 10 and 8 percent, respectively, in 2006. The dip marks the first decrease in either industry since 2002. Beer and hard liquor sales, traditionally a small market factor, saw dramatic increases."

Specifically, liquor sales rose 25% and beer sales 15% . Non-alcoholic beverages also saw a sharp market jump. Purified water grew by 60 percent and energy drinks, though a fraction of the market, grew by 124 percent. Chilean companies specializing in other drinks, says La Tercera, have begun taking advantage of the liquor trend by importing and distilling their own liquors, primarily rum.

Non-alcoholic beverages also have seen an increase in sales -- soft drinks by 5%, purified water 60% percent and energy drinks, though a fraction of the market, 124%.

Pisco continues to be claimed by both Chile and Peru as the national drink. It is a style of brandy: i.e., a liquor distilled from grapes and most widely consumed in Chile, Peru and Bolivia.

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