For all the growing interest and publicity surrounding single malts, blended whiskies are still the volume sellers globally and in the UK. However, it is interesting to note how brands that sell well in the UK do not necessarily repeat that success overseas and brands that sell well globally are, very often, just also-rans on the UK market.
This summer has spawned many articles and TV programmes on 1918, being the year women – or at least some of them – got the vote and the First World War ended.
Aberdeenshire, and the North-East generally, have lost many distilleries over the decades, but those which have survived are currently thriving. These include Fettercairn, Royal Lochnagar, Glengarioch, Macduff/Glen Deveron, Ardmore, Glendronach, Glenglassaugh and the quaintly-named An Cnoc.
Two distilleries in the Courier area are undergoing major changes, yet neither is making the kind of headlines one would expect.
The Scotch whisky industry will undoubtedly be seriously affected by Brexit. After all, France is the biggest export market by volume for Scotch, although exports to the US have higher value as Americans tend to buy rare and old malts whereas France buys cheap blends in bulk. Many other EU countries buy big volumes of the cratur, adding up to the biggest single market for it.
Until quite recent times, Irish whiskies came from just three sources – Midleton in County Cork, Cooley at Dundalk, Co Louth, and good old Bushmills in Co Antrim. All three belong to bigger distilling groups, respectively to Pernod-Ricard, Beam Suntory and Diageo.
Several times I’ve mentioned two globally best-selling whiskies which we hardly ever see, or have even heard of, in Britain. These are Label 5 (currently Number 9 in worldwide sales) and William Peel (Number 6).
It has often surprised — and saddened — me to hear so many people, including countless Scots, say they don’t like whisky and would never drink it.
What never fails to amaze me is the enthusiasm for Scotch whisky I see in other countries. Indeed, Scotland sometimes seems to be the one nation that is losing pride and passion for its national drink — whereas, go overseas and in many places Scotchmania rules the roost.
Distilling seems to be THE growth industry in these islands. This stems from growing global demand for spirits and to UK legal changes that encouraged the start-up of small, independent distilleries for the first time in two centuries. The new distillery list is formidable, with others being mooted and planned every month.