Future Trends: Spirits

Where next for whisky?

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Emerging scene: the Japanese whisky market is a serious challenger to the old world
Emerging scene: the Japanese whisky market is a serious challenger to the old world

Related tags: Scotch whisky, Distilled beverage, Whisky

The rise of products from the rest of the world market and an increased focus on personality are just two trends to look out for in the future of whisky, according to a leading spirits author.

Speaking at The Morning Advertiser​’s Future Trends: Spirits event in London today (Wednesday 4 October), Joel Harrison, from brand development firm Caskstrength Creative said that many younger whiskies from the rest of the world were on par with much older, more respected products from Scotland and America.

“The biggest area we are looking to in terms of the future of whisky is the rest of the world market,” Harrison said. “A rising tide floats all boats, but also a lot of driftwood and dead bodies, so how do we ensure that with the growth in whisky the quality remains high?”

Quality and complexity

He continued: “We’re seeing that the rest of the world is getting there in terms of quality. You look at Japan, a market that has come out of the rest of the world to stand on its own as a respected market. There’s no reason why a whisky from Taiwan or England couldn’t do that.”

“Whisky must be aged for a minimum of three years, but many are much, much older than this,” Harrison added. “A lot of these whiskies from the rest of the world have the same quality and complexity as many much older products, so we need to talk about them not in terms of their age but their flavour and personality, in the same way you would about a white spirit.”

Education with a twist

On the subject of personality in whisky, Harrison said: “This is where whisky gets really fun. Scotch is like a straightjacket in terms of legislation and much like wearing a school uniform, everybody finds a way to manipulate it to give it their own personality. It’s about education with a twist of innovation.”

Elsewhere at Future Trends: Spirits, data insight experts CGA predicted that rum would be the next big trend in the spirits category​, and would outpace gin within the next three years.

CGA commercial director Graeme Louden told delegates that golden rum would rise by 33% by 2020, with Tequilla and malt whisky also predicted to perform well.

Future Trends: Spirits was made possible thanks to headline partners Diageo and Schweppes; associate partner Pernod Ricard; and event partners Warner Edwards, Slingsby Gin and Willis Publicity

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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