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Issue 41 - Heady days as drinkers seek out quality

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004


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Heady days as drinkers seek out quality

These are very special days indeed for whisky

These are very special days indeed for whisky. We might well have laughed at the marketing men in the 90s when they told us about the way consumers were moving from standard products to premium ones.

We might have jeered when they told us about ‘portfolio' and ‘repertoire' drinking – the growing habit of consumers to cling loyally to one brand and to tart themselves about instead.

And let's be honest, we never really bought in to that view that two marketing theories would come to dominate the way that we all approached purchasing decisions: one, globalisation, which drove consumers to two or three heavily marketed brands to the detriment of other also-rans; and two, ‘premiumisation', which squeezed middle brands by encouraging either top of the market quality purchases or bottom of the market quantity ones.

But that's what's been happening and the premium end of the whisky market is benefiting as a result.

Not convinced? Then watch the market behaviour of a giant such as Diageo in the coming months as it seeks to address the problems facing standard brown spirit brands such as Bell's; and ask yourself why Allied Domecq is making such a commitment to the malt whisky sector (see the Scapa feature).

Across the world industry figures show that the middle ground is being squeezed as own label brands at the bottom end and premium single malts at the top end continue to flourish.

And as each month passes it becomes clearer and clearer that this isn't a passing fad –...

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