A few years ago Compass Box issued a manifest on making whisky more transparent. It was immediately backed up by Bruichladdich but 6 months later they had to back up as SWA came strong. During my conversations in the last years, customer base wants more transparency for sure. A considerable number of whisky makers whom I have spoken about this issue do also express their interest in more transparency. It feels like in 2020, this movement will get more support from other distilleries as the new regulations for world whiskies (Japanese & Indian whiskies) are coming out slowly.
However, Scotch whisky is not the only whisky to face transparency issues. Japanese whisky has been struggling with transparency topics over the years. You can find my opinion on this in this article on the Whiskey Wash.
In 2019, Japan Whisky Research Center has finally introduced some requirements which at least put the definition of Japanese whisky on the paper. Nomunication summarized these requirements in a good way below
With more transparency required in the industry, we might see whisky brands introducing more information on their bottles, production standards. Brand managers and ambassadors will also be eager to share more information on their brands.
Indian Whisky Taking Off
Considering India being the most whisky consuming country of the world it has been a late move from the country to join the single malt madness. Brands like Paul John and Amrut have been making world-class single malts over a decade. However, whisky culture in India is not just about them.
Indian brands like Original Choice, Officers’ Choice have been producing best selling blended whiskies in the world. Officers’ Choice has been selling more than Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and Jack Daniel’s all this time.
On December 18th, Beam Suntory announced a bold move to get into the Indian whisky market with their new whisky Oaksmith. It won’t be an Indian whisky for sure, it will be a different version of their AO whisky at a lower end price for the market but even this shows how the Indian whisky market is rising.
Paul John Single Malt Whisky is reported to release an exciting single malt whisky named Nirvana at a stunning $29.99 retail price in March and 3 other expressions in 2020. Amrut is also getting ready to release new and exciting whiskies in the world market. Keeping in mind that the tariffs are not effective for Indian single malt whiskies, it sounds like a promising year for the Indian distillers.
Ready To Drink Spirits
In 2019, we have seen different ready to drink cocktail cans, wines taking shelf space and becoming popular fast. Hard seltzer brands White Claw has experienced incredible peak moments in the year.
In 2020, TTB records show that there will be drinks like Wyld, which will try to reach whisky drinkers as an alternative drink. With its fancy packaging, it already created a fan base.
Slow & Low Rock and Rye was a hit in California last year. However, this brand is not new. They only passed to a mini-sized can and became a hit in no time. Our friends at Whisky Advocate have summarized popular canned whisky cocktails on their website too.
These were my assumptions for some major things that might take place in 2020 in the whisky world. Though what matters is to enjoy any kind of whisky with good people responsibly. Don’t forget, sharing is caring!