Macallan has just released a new 12 year old, flying in the face of the unrelenting negativity that has plagued the 1825 color-led series. Bowmore has just released a new age-stated range for Travel Retail. Neato. Usually Travel Retail is the launch pad for all sorts of NASty stuff. Ardbeg hit us with a 21 y.o. last year. Several ambassadors and distillers who have visited our local whisky club and our parade of festivals have said they will stick with age-statements, barring an oddball here and there. Refreshing.
Is this maybe a response to the chorus of voices that have rung out from Serge, Ralfy, Tab, myself, Dom and untold others? I’m honestly not sure. And far from confident enough to make an assertion like that, but I can say that many of the industry folks with whom I’ve spoken are well aware of consumer opinion and do, in fact, read the blogs and such.
As I’ve said, I think the industry is setting itself up for another crash. Global markets are not what they were forecast to be (China never delivered on ‘promise’, France seems to be on the wane, North America is moving to rye and bourbon, etc), and the economy – as heavily-reliant on fossil fuels as it is – has been in the tanks for a long time now. Factor in the uncertainty of NAFTA, Brexit and the over-sized Oompa Loompa with the combover down south and, well…things are shaky. Whisky makers jumped on the last decade’s rampant demand and resorted with logical (if maybe shortsighted) actions: ramp up! We’ve already seen some (Diageo) pull back on some planned initiatives. It looks to be an interesting decade. If we can keep our skin in the game, that is.
Keep fighting, Jedis. There will come a time in the not too distant future when things will be better. I feel it.