Scotch Whisky: Is A Change Gonna Come?

Yes. If Diageo has its way. According to documents, they’re looking at ways to create “more innovative products”.

Given the amount of money scotch sales, and exports in particular, are worth to the Scottish economy, it could be very interesting to see what happens next. Scotch used to make up roughly 60% of the world whisky market. That has now dropped to 50%.

Which makes me wonder whether the Scotch Whisky Association, which exists to police innovation, will react as strongly as it has in the past.

Readers may recall how quickly the SWA reacted to stop Manx Spirit from calling itself Manx White Whisky. (By recalling this story, I am in no way recommending Manx Spirit, which I had the misfortune to taste a long time ago, and might as well have kept the White in the middle of its name, for all its rough lack of deliciousness.)

With the onslaught of craft gins following hard on the heels of vodka premiumisation, it must be hard for the brown spirits to feel they can compete. After all, it takes a good three years to take a new whisky from still to bottle. Consumers frequently search for novelty over tradition.

What leaps out at me from this article in The Herald is its story of the SWA’s stopping Eden Mill Gin adding a chocolate component to its malting for their first whisky, which launches this year. The idea sounds fascinating.

Perhaps the SWA will realise that, sometimes, the best way to preserve what you have is to allow it to change.

(h/t @girl_whisky)