March 5, 2017

The Changing Face Of The Global Scotch Market: 2017’s Trends

This weekend global malt whisky exports eclipsed £1 billion for the first time in history. This news is very encouraging and calls for celebration following uninspiring troughs in 2014 & 2015.

Single malt growth

Single malt has now grown to represent 10% of global scotch exports by volume and 25% by value. This increased global demand has now provoked interesting responses. The conglomerates have something to say, whilst this opens up opportunities for the smaller micro-distilleries. The invisible hand is ruling strong.  In the article below we take a look at some interesting trends you can expect through 2017:

Age Is Just A Number

2016 saw a wave of new, younger expressions on the market.  Both mainstream and micro-distillers even started dropping age statements in favour of brand personas.

In the bourbon market we witnessed Elijah Craig dropping their age statement in favour of the new Elijah Craig Small Batch release.

Keeping it in the the Family! #elijahcraig #elijahcraigsmallbatch #bourbon #whiskey #thirstythursday

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It’s exciting to be witnessing a range of new, disruptive products on the mainstream market.  Products such as Caol Ila’s ‘’Hepburn’s Choice’’- ages 6 years and finished in red wine casks. Or Bruichladdich’s 6th edition of the much loved Octomore.

As demand for these younger expressions continues to increase, it will be an interesting area to watch.  Will scotch take notes from our American counterparts by using proprietary yeast strains to impact flavour more heavily?

Less Nosing, More Mixing

We’ve moved past the days of being scowled at for adding a dash of ginger ale or a dash of cola to our whisky. Almost all of the conglomerates and industry are unanimous that.

Although the spirit is one of complexity, anyone should be able to enjoy it however they wish.

This has also given way to a more open approach to single malt in the world of cocktails, and rightly so.  Single malt deserves its place on the cocktail list.

In episode 3 of the BBC’s recent Scotch: The Story of Whisky we see evidence of this.  Presenter and self professed whisky snob, David Hayman, admits that his cocktail, made at the world renowned Dandelyan, is “actually quite refreshing”. This can only serve as a positive way of introducing people to, what is otherwise, an intimidating category.

Bottom line, enjoy your whisky… It’s only going to get better.  All the best for 2017

Written by Andrew Dempster