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Issue 91 - Changing times

Whisky Magazine Issue 91
October 2010


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Changing times

Dave muses about where we are and where we are going

I've been wondering for a few years now whether every issue of this august title should carry a strip on the cover similar to that on a packet of cigarettes, something along the lines of “REMEMBER 92 PER CENT OF THE SCOTCH WHISKY SOLD IN THE WORLD IS BLENDED”. I fully realise that block capitals are bad netiquette, as they suggest that the writer is shouting at you but sometimes shouting is necessary. It is this statistic which explains where we are, why we are where we are and where we are going (sorry, just been to the Gauguin exhibition in London).

It was this statistic which echoed around my head last week as I wandered around the newest and undoubtedly hottest distillery in Scotland, Roseisle. Yes.. that Roseisle, which isn't nearly as scary as many believed it would be, but I'll leave Mr Ridley to explain more about that.

That 92 per cent is why Roseisle exists. It's why Diageo has increased capacity at its other malt plants by a total of 10m litres, why it's expanded Cameronbridge; it's why Ailsa Bay was built; why peaty whiskies are being made across the estates of other firms who also have a vested interest in blending. Roseisle isn't sucking up capacity, it's part of a massive industry-wide expansion in capacity. Why? Because blends are motoring in new, large, emerging markets: China, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam (and, in time, India?) and projections are that this global rise in blended Scotch will continue. In simple terms, distillers need more juice.

Good news,...

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