Whisky Magazine Issue 97
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Mark Gillespie is the host and executive producer of WhsikyCast, the online whisky community featuring cask-strength conversation on whiskies from around the world. WhiskyCast
Bourbon is the whiskey that makes the world go ‘round. That statement is bound to be a bit controversial, considering that Scotch whisky is the largest-selling type of whisky in the world. However, please allow me to back up my claim with a couple of key points.
Without the millions of barrels generated by the Bourbon industry each year, the rest of the world's distillers would have a hard time finding enough barrels to age their spirit. Every single distillery in Scotland, and a good many in other parts of the world, depends on Bourbon barrels and the subtle influence they provide to maturing spirit. Also Scotch whisky may be the largest-selling type of whisky worldwide, but the growth in Bourbon exports is outpacing Scotch exports.
Let's examine the most recent available data on exports. The Scotch Whisky Association's data for 2010 shows a 10 per cent annual increase in exports over 2009. However, U.S. government Customs data shows a 28 per cent year-over-year increase in Bourbon exports for the first quarter of 2011 (January-March). While the time periods aren't exactly the same, they give us a good idea of where the market is heading.
This reflects increased bulk shipments to countries such as Australia, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, and Japan, where bulk shipments in the first quarter of 2011 doubled those of the previous year. Bulk shipments grew significantly in South Korea, despite a 20 per cent tariff on imported spirits. Case shipments more than doubled in Poland...