The changing face of whisky, but is it real?

Okay, so here I am sitting having a dram and looking over Facebook and Twitter and doing my usual late evening browse of all the people who write about and enjoy whisky, as you do.

Now, I know this is a bit of a jump but stick with me through this, I consider myself a feminist, and I follow several feminist writers and last night I watched with horror as so called feminists attempted to humiliate women who work in the sex industry, it was appalling and after a while I got too depressed to see any more so ended up retreating to my safe place of the whisky pages online to chat about whisky with men, because it’s almost always men who are involved at every level in whisky, in fact I think it might be the most male dominated arena I can think of.
I know there are excellent women bloggers and writers and I count Whisky Lassie as a personal friend but why aren’t there more? I see women on the forums but then I also see men referring to “the wife” when their wife buys a bottle or moans at them for spending too much on whisky. I see whisky bottles, a new range, covered in half naked women and when people suggest this might not be the best way to sell whisky they are told to “calm down” or the posts promoting these bottles are just deleted to avoid any sort of debate because heaven forbid the whisky community actually has a grown up debate on anything, and let’s not get into the porn whisky, just let’s not.
I also know there are women working in the industry but Scotland is pretty much a fifty fifty women to men split in population and what do you think the percentage is of women working in the industry? Judging by the tours I’ve done, the twitter feeds I follow and all the articles and the fact someone sent me some information on the subject we have around 20%  of staff at distilleries or people in the industry at large are women, and most of these women certainly aren’t public figures, most of the time it’s only in the distillery shop you’ll see women, this can’t be right can it? And why are the ambassadors more often that not such pretty faces, do we still need good looking young women to sell the product to big bellied middle aged men? Are we Formula 1 is disguise?
My final point on this is even more tedious, why does some whisky need to be different to be marketed towards women specifically? We’ve all seen it, we all know what I’m talking about, no product should be aimed at women any more than a product should be aimed at wee boys or wee girls, this is another pet hate of mine, trying to buy my little girl a t shirt without a fucking Princess on it, I mean she likes those but not every time, whisky should be aimed at everyone without the need for products for women, sweet stuff or in pink bottles or any of that shit, it’s misogynistic bullshit.
To conclude this piece which I know won’t be popular I’m going to say it’s up to us punters to start the change, women shouldn’t be made to feel awkward drinking or discussing whisky by the sort of Real Ale bores and sexists that dominate whisky, it’s old it’s boring and it’s not welcome and eventually it will kill our drink, look at Gin and Tequila, you want to know why there are their sales are up? It’s because they are marketing to everyone and not just us chaps, Gin bars aren’t stuffy old places full of men in jumpers moaning about the cricket, well not the Gin bars I’ve been in but that to be fair is limited to three but still, you know what I mean.

It’s time we moved into the 21st century and made whisky a drink for everyone without any exceptions.

The Captain.


  1. Thanks John – I agree with you on many of your points. It's a sadly male-dominated category, to the point where marketers still haven't figured out how to market these products to women. If a distillery chooses to market it's product to men, I have no problem with that, until it is done in a way that is demeaning to women (as Dewar's so famously did, which was changed party by the efforts of Whisky Lassie, who's also a personal friend of mine!) But more damaging than the attitudes of the industry are the attitudes of many consumers. I've had many online arguments on FB's Malt Maniacs & Friends page, as well as in person with men who refer disparagingly to “the wife”, or if they think women should drink whisky at all, think it should be light and fruity (nonsense – most female whisky connoisseurs I know, including my girlfriend, are all about the big peat). On the positive side, I think things are slowly changing, for the better. Thanks for the post.


  2. These issues are complex and don't lend themselves well to 3 paragraph blogs / 1 paragraph replies in Comments but I don't accept it is “mysogonistic bullshit” to market a product towards men. It might be short sighted and under valuing your market but that act in itself is not “anti women”. It can be if done in demeaning way but lets assume that isn't the case in most /nearly all cases.


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