LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- When COVID-19 shuttered much of the economy in 2020, Bill Thomas sold off his whiskey inventories to keep his Washington, D.C., whiskey bar afloat.
By the next year, he was replenishing inventories.
Thomas' restocked supplies reflect the start of a comeback for on-premise spirits sales at U.S. restaurants and bars.
It's an important segment for spirits makers. On-premise sales volumes rose 53% in 2021, following pandemic-related restaurant and bar closures and restrictions in 2020.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States issued the report Thursday. Industrywide, it says sales and volumes grew for U.S. distilled spirits suppliers in 2021.