I live in Glasgow and I grew up in Edinburgh and I’ve lived in Aberdeen and Stirling so I think I know a little bit about Scotland and I’ve come to the conclusion that Scots don’t really like whisky all that much.
For starters there are only three whisky shops in Glasgow and one of them is tiny and aimed at tourists so really only two, in Glasgow a city of over half a million people, there are also a couple of excellent whisky bars but step inside most pubs as I did tonight and you’ll see a depressing range of whisky on sale.
You’ll see Grouse, Bell’s and Grant’s, you’ll Glenfiddich and you’ll see Glenmorangie maybe but outside of that you’ll get cheap American stuff and perhaps a little Irish, so basically nothing in virtually every bar in Glasgow and the same is true for everywhere else in Scotland.
I got thinking about this when I did a straw poll of the people I work with and by straw poll I mean I look at their faces when I start talking about whisky and found that less than handful out of twenty or so staff remotely like whisky why?
I put it down to two reasons, the first is that in all fairness whisky isn’t easy to pick up and drink and most people’s first experience of whisky is likely to be something cheap and with no one around to explain to them the variety on offer the other reason is price.
Pricing in the UK takes the piss it really does, nearly eighty percent of the price of a bottle is tax, only smokers get hit harder than whisky drinkers so if you think about it a cheap whisky under twenty quid only contains a couple of pounds worth, if that, of whisky so it’s no wonder people are turned off.
I think it’s sad such a wonderful resource is shipped abroad like most of our fish goes to France or Spain most of our whisky ends up in Germany or the States.
The irony of this is that if someone is trying to wind me up they call me Scotch or from Scotchland and sadly they couldn’t be further from the truth.