Ideas and trends swarm around the whiskey industry early in the year, suggesting what will be "popular" (or not) in the coming year. They range from who will drink whiskey to how they will drink it. What topics will be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and what topics will be hard to swallow?
We look at what may be influencing your whiskey choices below.
Festivals may seem like an obvious choice, and before 2020, whiskey festivals across the globe were doing great trade with a lot of footfall. Between 2020 and the end of 2022, there were restrictions on people coming together, and some whiskey festivals transferred to being online or were cancelled completely. From 2022, while we could start going back to festivals, confidence in attendance from producers and consumers was lower than before. However, festivals experienced better attendance by the end of 2023, and we predict this will continue improving in 2024. Not only will there be more people attending events, but there will also be more events to attend.
Some events this coming year include:
If you would like to know more about festivals in general, take a look at our article on whiskey festivals here: Wonderful world of Whiskey & Bourbon Festivals - Barrel Global
RTD (Ready to Drink)
Again, the global pandemic stopped us from going into bars and clubs for a while, and when they were able to meet, some turned to experimenting with home bars, making cocktails, and exploring different drinks. A great way to drink whiskey and bourbon is, of course, in a cocktail. Innovators within the spirits industry are tapping into this and creating a wide range of convenient and tasty “cocktails in a can,” ranging from a simple bourbon and cola to a classic Espresso Martini.
Sustainability in the whiskey industry
While the environment and climate have been part of production considerations for a long time, global awareness has increased, and many companies are looking more closely at how to reduce their impact on the environment during their production and distribution processes. From using local ingredients and reducing carbon footprint in production to reviewing and revising packaging materials, we expect more focus on sustainability across the industry in the future. Not only will legislation influence this, but consumers will also become more conscious of their input on climate issues.
For more information on how some companies are adapting, check this article: Sustainable Development Initiatives in the US for Whiskey Production (d4pack.com)
The demise of the social media whiskey influencer
Over the last few years, and again, likely in response to the global pandemic, the whiskey "influencer" has held our attention via Instagram, podcasts, and blogs. Drammers were a captive audience for a couple of years, and while we couldn’t go to bars and clubs, the industry quickly pivoted to selling us their wares via online tastings, whiskey mail (subscriptions where samples could be sent you at home), and virtual "pubs.”
What easier way for distilleries to get their products to us than having influencers receive some free samples or bottles to tell us about? Content creators could utilize every social media platform, and it worked. However, the bubble is bursting; being a content maker or influencer takes time and money to invest in a good kit, and of course, a captive audience helps. Real-life interactions and jobs now replace free time. The loose promise of fame and financial gain rarely comes in the form of actual cash, and bottles of whiskey don't pay the rent.
Companies are back on the road with in-person events, and the brand ambassador is back.
An increase in product transparency
Whiskey drinkers are becoming increasingly interested in the products they choose, from production methods to where the ingredients originate to how long the liquid has spent in each barrel if not a single cask. If a dram is a blend, they want to know what is in it. They want technical information, fermentation times, still sizes, and more. While much of this can be obtained from visiting a distillery, we will see more information on labeling either in writing or via a QR code system.
Rise of whiskey fraud
Wherever there is an increased interest in a product with perceived high-level value, there will be those who will take advantage of people who wish to invest in that product, whether it be art, jewelry, or whiskey. There has been an increase in the number of companies purporting to sell high-end rare bottles of whisky, whiskey, and bourbon, as well as those selling cask investments. Of course, with Barrel Global, you are welcome to contact our team to discuss your current or prospective investment, and we will gladly discuss your options.
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