It's the holidays; make a toast! And while you're drinking responsibly, you might want to consider the investment possibilities of that liquid swirling around in your glass.

Cheers to premium beverages
A recent BusinessWeek story reported that the six weeks before Christmas can be a jolly good time for distillers, who see December sales surge, particularly in the premium-liquor category. Where spirit sales from January to November average 7.9% a month, it jumps to 12.7% in December, according to the Adams Liquor Handbook of liquor statistics.

Those trends ought to help premium distillers like Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B), already well-known in premium and super-premium circles for its Jack Daniels whiskey and Herradura tequila, and Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), which has bolstered its casks with Effen vodka, Monte Alban Mezcal, and Paul Masson brandy. Premium spirits, particularly during the holiday season, drive much of the extra growth in the liquor industry, as cultures around the world consider high-end spirits prestigious gifts.

A buzzing trend
While beer will always remain the alcohol of choice for some drinkers, sales at Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) have some investors thinking the company has been partying a little too hard. And even though Molson Coors has managed to grow its market share over the past year, its recent performance has been skunked.

Market researchers at The Nielsen Company report that the influential 21-to-30-year-old cohort -- what it terms "the millenials," a group nearly as large as the baby boom generation -- has been imbibing spirits in ever-greater numbers. While beer is still the most popular on a dollar and volume basis, the beverage has fallen from 59% of the group's alcoholic beverage spending to 47% over the past 10 years. Wine and spirits have been gaining at beer's expense.

As we see this trend continue, investors should find ways to profit from the shift in beverage preference. You might want to consider a fund which holds a sizable position in distillers. Below is a table which shows not only which distillers represent a significant portion of a fund's net assets, but also which funds hold a considerable portion of a company's outstanding shares.


% Net Assets



% Shares

Ariel Focus (ARFFX)


Constellation Brands

Fidelity Low-Priced Stock (FLPSX)


Van Kampen American Franchise (VAFAX)



JP Morgan Midcap Value (FLMVX)


Vice Fund (VICEX)


Diageo (NYSE:DEO)

Vanguard Windsor II (VWNFX)


Van Kampen American Franchise (VAFAX)


Fortune Brands (NYSE:FO)

American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX)


Data courtesy of

A little less frothy brew
The millennials aren't ordering the same drinks from the bar as the previous generation. The group is more inclined to pay up for premium brands and different taste experiences, whereas older generations are most likely to stick to drinking economy beer. In fact, millennials select premium and ultra-premium brands for nearly half of their vodka purchases, while the over-61 crowd only splurges 20% of the time. As the millennials grow their income over the next decade, their preference for premium spirits should only increase, creating great prospects for any distiller that supplies the upmarket beverages this group demands.

The holidays are a perfect time to share our love of premium spirits with friends and family. It may also be the time to share the distillers -- or the funds that own them -- with our portfolios.

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Vanguard Windsor II is a selection of Motley Fool Champion Funds. Get 30 days of free picks simply by clicking here. Diageo is a recommendation of Motley Fool Income Investor. Anheuser Busch has been selected by the Inside Value newsletter.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.