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Issue 41 - Headydaysasdrinkersseekoutquality

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004

 

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Headydaysasdrinkersseekoutquality

Theseareveryspecialdaysindeedforwhisky

Theseareveryspecialdaysindeedforwhisky.Wemightwellhavelaughedatthemarketingmeninthe90swhentheytoldusaboutthewayconsumersweremovingfromstandardproductstopremiumones.

Wemighthavejeeredwhentheytoldusabout‘portfolio'and‘repertoire'drinking–thegrowinghabitofconsumerstoclingloyallytoonebrandandtotartthemselvesaboutinstead.

Andlet'sbehonest,weneverreallyboughtintothatviewthattwomarketingtheorieswouldcometodominatethewaythatweallapproachedpurchasingdecisions:one,globalisation,whichdroveconsumerstotwoorthreeheavilymarketedbrandstothedetrimentofotheralso-rans;andtwo,‘premiumisation',whichsqueezedmiddlebrandsbyencouragingeithertopofthemarketqualitypurchasesorbottomofthemarketquantityones.

Butthat'swhat'sbeenhappeningandthepremiumendofthewhiskymarketisbenefitingasaresult.

Notconvinced?ThenwatchthemarketbehaviourofagiantsuchasDiageointhecomingmonthsasitseekstoaddresstheproblemsfacingstandardbrownspiritbrandssuchasBell's;andaskyourselfwhyAlliedDomecqismakingsuchacommitmenttothemaltwhiskysector(seetheScapafeature).

Acrosstheworldindustryfiguresshowthatthemiddlegroundisbeingsqueezedasownlabelbrandsatthebottomendandpremiumsinglemaltsatthetopendcontinuetoflourish.

Andaseachmonthpassesitbecomesclearerandclearerthatthisisn'tapassingfad–it'spartofaconsciouschangeinthewaydrinkersmakedecisionsabouttheirpurchases.

It'scertainlythecaseinEurope,butincreasinglyit'sthecaseinAmerica,too.AndforthebourbonmarketthecontinuinginterestinpremiumbourbonsisfuellinganinterestinAmericanwhiskeythatw...

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