Whisky by Time News Round Up – February 2024


Welcome to our first news Round Up of 2024 with insights on whisky sales performance from around the globe.

In this edition we update you on a diverse range of news drawing from the sector. Highlights include; reports on the upward trajectory of rare whisky, 25 global whisky distilleries to watch in 2024, Diageo’s massive annual investment of more than €13 billion to Europe’s economy, comments from the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) on the latest inflation figures, Scotland’s whisky sales boom and we end with a heartwarming story on how a daily dose of whisky is the secret to 103 year War Veteran’s good health.

Previously we’ve kept you informed on the work of the Advertising Standard Authority in highlighting unscrupulous whisky cask brokers using mis-leading advertising. We welcome the scrutiny of the ASA and continue to urge caution around investments that sound too good to be true. Please be assured we follow the ASA’s recently launched guidelines. You can read more here

As ever, if you have any questions please get in touch of a member of the Whisky by Team. We look forward to keeping you updated on our forthcoming whisky tasting events and news.

Oliver O’ Donovan
Founder of Whisky by Time

Upward trajectory of rare whisky likely to continue through 2024

At the end of January trade publication The Drinks Business highlighted a new report from Bordeaux Index, which predicted rare whisky will continued on its upward trajectory through 2024 with prices around 13% higher than the previous year and strong demand continuing.

The report noted a natural resilience at the top end of the market, with the “must-have” dynamic of such rare, high-quality assets resulting in buyers being more resilient to cutting discretionary spending – there was also a sharpening focus at the higher end of the rare whisky spectrum, with greater “indifference” to novelty bottles such as special cask finishes, branding or no age-statements. It said the aged Scotch cask space was “especially positive” for Springbank but there was also progress for Macallan and other core Speyside whiskies such as Glendronach.

Read the full article here…

Whisky Magazine names the 25 global whisky distilleries to watch in 2024

In this insightful article Whisky Magazine name 25 distilleries to find out more about in 2024. Their recommendations include distilleries from Scotland, Ireland Asia, USA & Canada, India and Finland. Read more here

SWA comments on latest ONS inflation figures

Commenting on January’s ONS inflation figures, which show that inflation rose to 4% in December due to rising prices of alcohol and tobacco, SWA Director of Strategy and Communications Graeme Littlejohn said:

“We’re seeing the consequences of a record increase in alcohol duty last August. The ONS says alcohol prices have contributed to December’s increase in inflation and the Treasury has seen less tax revenue from spirits, including Scotch Whisky, since August. The tax hike was clearly the wrong decision, and the Chancellor was right to freeze excise duty in his autumn statement rather than introducing a second inflation-fueling tax rise on Scotch Whisky in less than six months. Today’s figures show he must go further in the Budget and cut alcohol duty to boost business, support growth and drive down inflation.”

Read more here

Diageo adds €13.2bn to Europe’s economy

Johnnie Walker maker Diageo contributes more than €13 billion (US$14bn) to Europe’s economy every year, a new report has revealed.

John Kennedy, Diageo’s Europe president, added:

“This report showcases the true extent of Diageo’s significant economic and social impact across the region and demonstrates how important the drinks and hospitality industry is to the economic success and future prosperity of Europe.

Europe has always been an important region for Diageo and is home to many of our iconic global brands such as Johnnie Walker and Guinness. As a result, we are proud to be constantly strengthening the partnerships across the region that provide outstanding value to the wider economy through our direct and indirect investment, collaboration and innovation.”

The company operates 30 distilleries in Scotland, a brewery and distillery in Dublin, and maturation and packaging facilities across the UK, and in Italy. Diageo also manages marketing and supply excellence centres in the Netherlands, and a business hub in Hungary.

Read more here.

On-trade whisky sales boom in Scotland

While the UK, on-trade spirits sales have been going through a slump recently – as CGA by NIQ’s Christmas results revealed, the value of Scotland’s whisky sales grew by 18.2% year-on-year, meaning Scotland now accounts for 15.4% of all whisky sales.

Malt whisky in particular has proven to be something of a success-story in Scotland, with the value rate of sale increasing by an astounding 35.9% from 2022 to 2023. NIQ’s senior client manager Matt Meeks argued that while it is only one night a year, the whisky-soaked celebration of Scotland’s most famous poet does play a role in getting consumers to engage with the category: “Burns Night is a great way to cement its appeal and attract new drinkers who will return to it on future occasions.”

Read more in this the drink business article

“I never overdo it…one glass is enough.”

Donald Howkins who recently celebrated his 103 birthday, credits a daily afternoon glass of whisky as the secret to his long health. Speaking to the Enfield Independent, Donald shared:

“It’s what I really enjoy. “I never overdo it…one glass is enough.” Howkins served with the 90th Middlesex Regiment of the Royal Artillery, landing at Gold Beach in Normandy in June 1944 at the age of 23 – he would serve as a motorcycle dispatch rider in the aftermath of the D-Day landings. “The whisky we had in the war was very different,” the 103-year-old explained, “but it did give me a bit of Dutch courage.”

Read more about this great man here.

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