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Issue 63 - Boom time

Whisky Magazine Issue 63
April 2007

 

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Boom time

Two new distilleries announced in as many months...are we on the brink of a golden time for whisky? Ian Buxton finds out

Things are stirring in the world of Scotch whisky. With growing affluence in the so called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) the demand for luxury whisky is growing rapidly.

Sales of premium blends and malts, both single and blended, are moving ahead rapidly with double-digit growth recorded in many markets.

For the first time in years, there's real pressure on stocks and the forward sales forecasts for some brands have the accountants rubbing their hands with glee. But it's also causing headaches in the production department. Where is all this whisky to come from?

With Scotch on the brink of a new golden age the answer is ‘new distilleries.' We're poised at the beginning of what may be the greatest construction boom since the 1890s as distilling capacity is expanded to meet this anticipated demand.

Of course, there have been some new distilleries built recently. But these are mainly small farmhouse operations, such as Kilchoman, with boutique ambitions, or relative tiddlers, like Arran, with strictly limited capacity. The last really significant construction was Grant's Kininvie – a 4.4 million litre plant that dates back to 1990.

Things are about to change. First to announce its plans was Diageo, with a stunning multi-million pound investment in warehousing, bottling and distilling in Scotland. There will be an expansion of grain whisky distilling at Cameronbridge and a brand new single malt distillery at Roseisle, with 14 stills.

These are substantia...

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