Less of this …

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Germans are abandoning their schnapps und dunkelweisen in favor of bourbon at an increasing rate.

Their economy may be on the skids, and Germans are drinking less as a whole. Yet, bourbon consumption is up dramatically, according to the WSJ.

Bourbon only garners about 3 percent of total spirits sales. But bourbon and other U.S. whiskeys are forecast to grow by a compounded 7.2 percent annually in Germany between 2011 and 2016, according to Euromonitor International, the market research analysis firm.

and more of this.

WSJ reporter Simon Zekaria, who covers the global booze beat, writes that Chicago-based Beam, the No. 1 bourbon brand by sales, rates Germany as its third-largest market in the world after the United States and Australia … and nearly as important as emerging economies such as China in building global sales.

From the WSJ piece:

“Germany is our third-largest market today, but it’s contributing 27% of our growth. Going forward, Germany is going to [contribute] a third of our growth and emerging markets about 40%,” said Albert Baladi, Beam’s head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Europe’s largest economy is a market duopoly for America’s giants. Beam’s flagship brand Jim Beam had a 44.7% category market share by volume in Germany in 2011, records Euromonitor. Brown-Forman BFB +0.21% Corp’s Jack Daniel’s, which the company prefers to call a “Tennessee whiskey,” had 34.4%. Brown-Forman, the world’s No. 3 spirits group by sales, says its top line and volumes in Germany, one of its top 10 markets, grew by “healthy double-digit rates” in the fiscal year ended April 30. And, like rival Beam, it controls its route to market. “We established our own distribution company in Germany a couple of years ago and that organization has helped increase our sales,” said Phil Lynch, the company’s director of corporate communications.

Lynch says later in the story that 27 percent of BF sales come from Europe!

Wild Turkey, owned by Campari in Milan, also is selling well in Germany, according to the piece.

With the money flowing, all the spirits brands – which all connect back to Kentucky – are in the acquisition mode.

Beam spent about $600 million last year on several brands including an Irish whiskey, and Brown-Forman bought Poland’s Maximus vodka as we told you last year.

Another solid WSJ piece with sales numbers the big boys don’t typically reveal.