One Shortage Actually Worth Worrying About: High-Quality Whiskey
"Whiskey of all kinds has become a fetish object of the young, urban, and image-conscious," explains Esquire. Unfortunately, distillers can't keep up with demand.
Originally published by First We Feast
There’s been a bit of panicky media hype lately about food shortages; we’re sure you heard about the impending “shortages” of foods like Velveeta, Sriracha, chicken wings, and knishes.
But one shortage that you should pay attention to, and worry about, is high-quality whiskey. According to Ian Buxton, the whisky expert and author of 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die, “The dirty little secret of the Scotch industry is they’ve become addicted to high prices, but they’ve run out of old whisky.“
Why are we running out of whiskey? Esquire explains,
“Whiskey of all kinds has become a fetish object of the young, urban, and image-conscious. Sales volumes have increased pretty much across the board, but it’s the expensive stuff—juice that was put in a barrel years and years ago, while the whiskey category was still in a downturn—that’s seeing the steepest action of all. Sales of single-malt Scotches, which tend age for a minimum of 12 years, have doubled in the past ten years.“
This severe increase in demand means that whiskey distillers are running low on their supply of high-quality, aged whiskey. They’re now wishing they could travel back to the ’90s and lay down more stock.
Distillers are seriously feeling the struggle—last year, Maker’s Mark tried to water down their bourbon, and Buffalo Trace warned of potential shortages.
David King, the C.E.O. of Anchor Distilling, which owns distilleries like BenRiach and The Glenrothes, tells Esquire,
“Inevitably what happens and what historically has happened in the whiskey market is that as demand goes up, quality goes down, and then the consumer gets disenchanted by the category and switches to other types of drink.”
So what should you do? Stick with established brands that won’t screw you over, open your mind and palate to younger and cheaper whiskey brands, and start hoarding like a crazy alcoholic.
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