Okay so that heading is perhaps a bit hysterical but it comes from reading three recent news stories in Scotchland which I’m now claiming is a valid word although usually just used by people wanting to take the piss out of Scotland.
In no particular order we have Whisky owners such as Dieago and Suntory looking to increase production, companies claiming that non age statement whiskies are due to a shortage in product and now the head of the Scotch Whisky Association has said in a recent interview that whisky is in danger from global economic forces.
The last bit is as obvious as a pitch fork in the face, the vast majority of Scotch is sold abroad, around ninety percent in fact, so it stands to reason that a global crisis would hurt whisky.
This has happened before of course and could easily happen again, the Eurozone crisis could get worse if Greece defaults on its debt but both Spain and Portugal are in real trouble and they both love Scotch and a combination of job losses meaning less money to buy the stuff or Governments imposing stricter taxes on Scotch which brings me to another point. What happens if say China or India which are both huge markets for Scotch decided to increase the tax on Scotch by say another fifteen percent? The answer to that is the arse would fall out of the industry and the global giants who own the distilleries, or most of them, would shut production down and bottling in an instant which leads rather nicely to my next point.
The big players seem to be taking an awful risk with our beloved spirit, if they do indeed increase production and storage we could see barrel after barrel of whisky sitting redundant if the market causes whisky to become too expensive which would again lead to a two tier whisky drinker, those with money who will always be able to afford decent whisky and the rest of us who will see costs soar as, and here’s the irony, availability becomes lessens because of increased production but falling sales abroad causes the owners to hold back bottling and storing the whisky for the day the foreign market picks up again.
I worry about the industry because it’s my hobby and my passion but the Global companies who own the brands we love don’t care about style or effort and if we’re honest most of them aren’t too bothered about offering value for money either it’s all about punting Scotch which makes them the biggest profit.
I hope I’m wrong but I have a bad feeling about where the industry is heading.