Adventurous Customers–Owing to the previous two years of on and off lockdowns,seasoned whisky drinkers have a newfound sense of adventure and exploration when it comes to their spirit of choice, single malt drinkers have veered into Blends whereas fans of Blends are now looking at super premium single malts to get a taste of something different. During this time whisky cocktails have also become somewhat of a household concept as more and more customers started experimenting at home.The rise in experimentation has also led to a rising demand of cocktail equipment, mixers and ice makers. Cautious Customers will still prefer to drink at home due to the ever-present pandemic and also the cost factor, but as customers have become more educated and adventurous we will see a rise in sales of whisky cocktails across bars.
The Malt Millennial – Millennials are the largest rising category of drinkers when it comes to whisky. Due to the rise of entrepreneurship and global business heads becoming younger by the year we have seen the rise of this new demographic of whisky drinkers. The millenials have started to admire blended whiskies for their smoother finishes and affordable price Segments. They will no doubt graduate to super premium blends and single malts very soon.
Emerging Regions – Historically, we all know that Whisky comes from a few select regions of the world like Ireland, Scotland and Japan but in the coming years we will see a rise in lesser known regions of the world that produce whisky. Countries like India, China, Switzerland, France, Australia, Taiwan and Israel. These new regions are showing great promise when it comes to manufacturing whisky. India, Israel, Taiwan and Australia have drier climates allowing whiskies to mature and age faster, and in turn having a much more efficient yield. On the other hand France, historically known for wine and cognac has numerous whisky distilleries as well and with consumers wanting to try something different and a little off track from earlier generations France is a key region to watch. Moving eastwards we have China, which is now home to Diageo’s newest single malt distillery situated in the Yunnan province. Located over 2100 meters above sea level this distillery was created due to the temperate climate, and availability of natural spring water from the second largest highland lake in Yunnan – the Erhai Lake. This distillery may also be one to pay close attention to as new clean technology will be implemented to insure the natural biodiversity of the area is not disturbed along with being a zero waste site.
The Blended Boom -Far gone are the days of blended whiskies being looked at as being inferior to single malts, now we are seeing a rise in consumption of blended whiskies as younger drinkers take charge. There have also been some very interesting innovations in the technology, processes and technique behind creating blended whiskies that has led to it gaining popularity. Global blends are made from many whiskies from around the world, bringing together different grains and even whiskies aged in different regions or in different barrels are being blended together to create a whole new range of blended whiskies.
Innovation in Barreling -Barreling has been exploding with creativity since 2021. Initially thought to hold a near infinite number of possibilities in terms of flavours, notes and finishes, distilleries have now gained a more focused approach to creative barreling that has helped innovate and pioneer new flavours without sacrificing the soul of the whisky.Adding simple changes like different varieties of char, varied seasoning lengths, etc. are resulting in bold new flavours.
Same brands, New approach – whisky has long been looked at as a drink reserved for only the upper echelon of society, whisky brands and drinkers were considered elitist and pretentious. This mentality is changing as we are seeing a shift in how whisky brands are marketing themselves, becoming more approachable and less of a daunting space to enter. This is all owing to the boom of social media and whisky brands finally finding their sea legs on this new age platform. As a whole tsunami of new drinkers approaches whisky brands have also taken to innovation and creative manufacturing in order to maintain their appeal to experienced drinkers and brand loyalists.
Cask Strength Calling – Cask strength means whiskies that are taken straight from the cask, not diluted with water and bottled right away. These whiskies have a higher alcoholic content anywhere from 40% to 60%. Although some countries do not allow sale of spirits with such high alcohol content, some of the most premium and beloved whiskies are bottled as cask strength.
Women and Whiskies – Again owing to higher Purchasing power and an increase in the global mentality of gender equality, women have entered and found a comfortable place in the so far male dominated world of whiskies. Whiskies are an artful and beautifully complex spirit, which requires an equally complex nose and a deep understanding of aromas and flavour nuances which women possess in a greater capacity to men. This leads to a better appreciation of the spirit along with ways to innovate and create new combinations, home blends and food pairings.