The world of whiskies is dynamic growing leaps and bounds from its very inception. In 2017, the love of whisky continues to grow as is the whisky industry itself. Innovation and creativity lying in the heart of it all, the Golden Age of whisky travels into 2017 with some interesting global trends around the brown spirit.
Bourbon and Scotch still rule the roost
Bourbon production increased by more than 50 per cent in the 10 years. Bourbon is the largest export category in all U.S. New markets for Bourbon include India, Philippines, UK, Russia, Japan and others. The rising popularity has resulted in new flavours such as Honey, Cherry, Maple, Black Cherry & Cinnamon. Bourbon cocktails is also gaining momentum with a variety of flavour combinations available. Premium Scotch has been growing and is showing strong potential in emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Scotch and Bourbon remain attracting taste buds of both experts and novices alike.
Irish Whiskey remains a favourite
The category continues to make a mark in the industry every year. The Emerald, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, and Bushmills will continue to be popular brands to look out for this year. With new distilleries and innovation plans, Irish Whiskey as a category, will roll some eyeballs in the days to come. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the sale of Irish whiskey in the United States from 2002 to 2015 grew by a whopping 642 per cent. New distilleries are also experimenting with more flavours and styles into the category. For instance, West Cork Distillers, launched an array of Irish whiskies – single malt, bourbon cask-aged, double-charred, cask strength, and different finishes in port, rum or sherry.
Blended Whisky gets respect
Gone are the days when blended whiskies were looked down upon. Now blended whiskies stand for innovation and flavour. Johnnie Walker Blue Label has been the flag bearer for some time now. With newer creations and unique mixes, the market is growing and brands such as Chivas and Monkey Shoulder are continuing to win hearts with their unique flavour and distinct style. Brands such as Monkey Shoulder and Compass Box are targeting young drinkers with new flavour profiles and edgy packaging.
Age doesn’t matter
As whisky continues to entice young drinkers, age seems to be a matter of the past. Fewer brands are releasing with age statements and this will continue in 2017. Producers such as The Macallan and Highland Park — have released new blended products like The Macallan Rare Cask and Highland Park Dark Origins, at a time of growing demand. Millennial drinkers seem to value more about the flavour rather than the age of the whisky.
Creativity Drives American Single Malts
More and more consumers are going for American Single Malts. Rather than playing by the rules of Scotch — particularly in the use of the same old malts, yeasts, and production/aging techniques — American Single Malt has embraced experimentation. For instance, Americans have taken a terrific craft beer, distilled it, and turned it into a single malt or created an elegant sipping whiskey out of only blue corn. Innovation has definitely made American Single Malts an attractive proposition.
Japanese Whisky, a popular attraction
What makes Japanese whisky so famous? The obvious is the perception that whisky is Scotland’s gift to the world. But Japanese whisky is becoming an eye catcher especially, after Jim Murray named Yamazaki’s Sherry Cask Single-Malt 2013 the best in the world in his Whisky Bible. Producers such as Suntory and Nikka have been renowned Japanese whisky producers from the 1920’s and 30’s. However, Japanese whisky has become an attraction recently, and it looks like they will continue to charm people in 2017.
Flavoured Whisky Is Here to Stay
Some may frown on this one, but flavoured whisky is here to stay. In early 2016, Fireball was the third most popular whiskey in the United States with cinnamon flavour. Wild Turkey’s American Honey has been around since the 1970s. Crown Royal Regal Apple Flavoured Whiskey held a 2.36% U.S. whiskey market share in 2016. They may not be the stuff for whisky connoisseurs, but flavoured whiskeys continue to sell very well at retail.
2016 saw prices continuing to rise across almost all categories—bourbon, scotch, and world whiskies. Pickings are slim and it will continue to get slimmer this year.
The ‘water of life’ has become one the world’s favourite spirit and this year too, it will continue to win hearts and scintillate the palate with unique flavours and styles.