As Fireball’s popularity grows, drinkers may be wondering where the cinnamon whiskey came from and how it came to be the phenomenon it is now. Thrillist sheds some light on the origins of this on-trend spirit, which has resulted in imitations from bars, kitchens and big whiskey labels like Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam, shout-outs in pop and country songs, and an official drinking game app called “Dragons, Dice & Dares.”
It may come as a surprise that the whiskey has been around since the ’80s as part of a line of flavored schnapps, when it was known as “Dr. McGillicuddy’s Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.”
The Sazerac Company subsequently bought the brand and decided to revamp it in 2007, implementing intensive grassroots marketing campaigns that first targeted Nashville, then college campuses.
Though official brand reps are an integral part of Sazerac’s outreach, Fireball has since picked up unofficial evangelists like Chris Pratt, who attempted to teach an acting lesson for GQ while drunk off the stuff.
Possibly the most mind-blowing fact, however, is that sales of Fireball have jumped from $1.9 million to a staggering $61 million dollars in the past two years — and that number that doesn’t even include sales at bars.