There has been a big surge in Scotch Whisky exports over the past year, according to buoyant figures issued some weeks ago by the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association). For the first time annual figures have topped the £5.5 billion mark, which is quite a boost on the £4-plus billion not long ago.
Having described the effects of US Prohibition, both on America and the wider world, it is only proper to say the temperance movement a century ago was not solely a US phenomenon. In December 1920 Scotland held local referendums on outlawing alcohol and many places voted “dry” and closed their pubs and off-licences, many for decades.
If there is one name that has scaled the heights and plumbed the depths of post-war car-making in Britain, it is Rover. However, like so many other great marques of the past, it was sucked into British Leyland and, along with countless others, is no more. One can say it was a quirk of history that made it the longest-surviving name (bar Mini) in the BL portfolio. Of course, the Land Rover name lives on.
In the annals of car-making, Edsel holds a unique place. It was no little operation started in a backstreet workshop by two underfunded petrolheads.
Although Scotch whisky is doing exceptionally well at the moment, it is always worth looking a year or even several into the future to see where the industry is heading and where it might be a decade or so from now.
Many distilleries claim to be historical—the oldest in Scotland, the first licensed distillery, or whatever. However, a Fife distillery that opens this week/month stands on the site where whisky distilling was first recorded in Scotland.
During a recent long wait at Heathrow airport, I spent a considerable time touring the duty-free shop and the nearby World of Whiskies outlet. It was not an uplifting experience.
Recent archaeological discoveries in the Middle East have revealed that homo sapiens started tippling several thousand years earlier than originally thought.
New whisky distilleries are not just a Scottish phenomenon, they are springing up in England, too, even in London. So far there are six south of the Border, and all are keen to make their mark.
Some years ago, I mentioned one of the great, if now largely forgotten, names in the history of Scotch whisky, that of Charles Doig. Born on a farm near Lintrathen and originally employed in an architect’s office in Meigle, he eventually moved to Elgin and became the greatest distillery architect of all time.