Working in the liquor industry for six years I can see how much has changed even within such a short time frame. Areas of specialization, premiumisation, and finding a niche market to play in and build. For The Premium Selection we are a online and bricks and mortar store (Liquor Barons Lesmurdie) that does specialize in premium scotch and spirits, and also back vintage wines.
The other day we were doing some research about age statements on scotch, particularly, what is happening in the wider world, as we have been hearing that age statements will be fazed out, and not used by distilleries, namely the Japanese market (eg: Hibiki, Hakushu, Nikka, Yamazaki), possibly due to minimal liquid volumes of particular age statements, hence the Hibiki Harmony, and others.
This got us thinking at The Premium Selection, what is happening out there with regards to age statements being on scotch and other spirits. It looks like 2017 is going to be a year in the EU where it will be a necessity, but it also looks like a lot of distilleries are looking to jump the ocean and move to China, Japan, and Asia, to negate the legislation in the EU.
So what will this mean for the rest of the world in retail outlets, and also to the consumer? Will prices be driven up, or stay the same? Will we start to see less and less age statements, or will we be seeing more?
If the need for more transparency from the distilleries is required with labeling in the liquor industry as well as the food industry across the world, why then would certain distilleries be looking to move out of the EU? and into other countries? This also goes to question that its becoming harder to find age statement scotches in Australia such as Glendronach 15, Hibiki 12, Hibiki 17 and more. Does this come down to distilleries running out of the aged liquid, or reducing the availability to certain countries to push the price upwards for the consumer??
The question we are struggling with is Why? Why is it an issue for distilleries to have the required labeling on their products? As it is required for the food industry to follow food labeling requirements, why shouldn’t the liquor industry follow suit and be transparent to the consumer??
One minute we are told age statements could be a thing of the past, and then with this… “The Whisky Exchange has learned of a startling development that could turn the whisky industry on its head – within 12 months, every spirit produced in the EU will need to declare its age on the label. The new directive comes into force in spring 2017, and is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the industry. The new ruling is the result of lobbying from consumer groups for greater transparency in food-and-drink labelling.” Which way are we to turn.
Does this ultimately mean prices for age statement whisky will increase exponentially in price, or will non age statements whisky become a sort after product? and reset the pricing on whisky across the world?? Or do we look at the distilleries to see if they are the ones pushing the high rise of pricing, as they are the starting point for price in the market?
Reading the information out on the net, it will be interesting to follow and see what the distilleries do over the coming year, to whether they move, and where the prices will sit in the world market.
Till next time….