Sales of Fireball Whisky soar as it becomes go-to shot of Millennials

Fireball Whisky is now one of America's most popular alcohol brands.

Fireball Whisky is now one of America's most popular alcohol brands.  (Fireball Whisky)

It’s the cinnamon flavored, syrupy-sweet liquor that lives up to its moniker “Tastes like Heaven. Burns like Hell.”

Fireball Whisky is one of the fastest growing alcohol brands in decades and, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, there are several savvy marketing techniques behind the brand’s success.

In 2011, the brand sold a paltry $1.9 million in stores, gas stations and supermarkets, according to Businessweek. But by 2013, retail sales soared to $61 million – putting Fireball ahead of popular brands like Jameson Irish Whiskey and Patron tequila. The $61 million figure does not even account for bar sales of the sweet liquor.

So what’s the secret?  The drink, which tastes exactly like the Atomic Fireball candy, doesn’t resonate with cocktail snobs, but it has become the go-to shot for Millennials and is “synonymous with fun for young hedonists throughout the U.S.,” writes Businessweek.

Fireball has been targeting college towns like Nashville, Tenn. and Austin, Tex. by giving away free shots at bars and throwing contests in an effort to build up  following with young consumers. The brand has also enlisted the help of celebrities with large social media followings like Josh Harris of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” to promote the liquor.

The brand is even creeping up on sales of Jägermeister, a frat party favorite of previous generations. The 80 year old German digestive saw $81 million in sales last year but it not growing in the same clip as its cinnamon-flavored competition. 

One Austin bartender even declared, "Jäger is dead.”