Looking into the Crystal Glass… Whisky Predictions for 2018!

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As whisky industries change and evolve, sometimes it seems hard to keep up with your favourite distiller. From new releases to new branding, new methods of distilling and new distilleries cropping up all over the UK, it’s an exciting but hectic time for whisky lovers everywhere. As we enter 2018, #TeamEV’s Ella has made some predictions as to what will become popular amongst distilleries and whisky-lovers alike, and what you can expect from your favourite drams in the New Year.

All aboard the Bourbon Bandwagon…

When you think of whisky, you might think of swirling a crystal glass by the fire, with a cigar in your other hand, and when you think of whisk(e)y, you might think of partying the night away, celebrities, and bottles of Jack Daniels in the hands of the Rolling Stones or Slash. These polar opposite sides to the spirit encourage a different crowd depending on whether you’re drinking an Irish Malt or an American Bourbon. With many bars dedicated to the American drink itself, it’s the multisensory experience of Bourbon, which includes a rich American history and (sometimes) seedy Rock & Roll fuelled past, that allows the drink to hold its position as a party favourite.

It’s often considered that consumers like one or the other, especially as Bourbon can often be met with disapproval from the more staunch Scotch drinkers, but as we enter 2018, we predict that a merge will begin to happen. Bourbon, with its sweeter honey notes, can often be a way into whiskies that require a more mature or practiced palette, and additionally, the more differing the two drams are, the more they should be respected and appreciated as two separate drinks. Maybe, then, 2018 will see many party animals on the dancefloor with a JD and coke in hand coming home to a Glengoyne by the fire.

BOURBON

The cooler, younger whisky-lover..

The preconception that whisky is a drink only enjoyed by the older gentleman has perhaps contributed to a lack of change in this area, as younger people and women may be put off by this notion. However, we’ve already seen a huge change in this number over the past few years. It may come as a surprise that approximately one third of whisky drinkers in the UK are now female, and this can only continue to rise over the next year.

A lot of this change is down to branding and marketing, which vastly contributes to the acquisition of a more diverse whisky drinker. Even down to smaller details like packaging and label design, many people do indeed judge a whisky by its label, and this is a great way for marketers to appeal to a wider demographic. After all, the flavour of the whisky speaks for itself; the main challenge for whisky brands is to entice someone to try it just once, in the hope that they’ll keep coming back. In 2018 we can expect the age and gender gap to close more drastically, especially as many brands shake ‘stuffy’ images for more interesting, engaging branding.

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Age is just a number…

As the whisky demographic gets larger and more diverse in the years to come, we can expect to see a shift in perception of what makes a good whisky. For years, an excellent whisky was considered so because of its older age label, often regardless of taste. As new drinkers arrive on the scene, distillers are struggling to meet the overwhelming demand, and have come up with NAS (No Age Statement) whiskies. The more traditionalist whisky drinker may not be thrilled with this new concept, but it allows the whisky experience to evolve, as drinkers can consider other elements of what makes a great whisky, such as taste, smell, or distillery location. Whilst this is still in its early days, it’s a testament to the whisky industry’s ability to cope with changes in demographic and demand, and we’re excited to see what comes from this phenomenon.

Climate change… no whisky business!

As climate change, and the ways in which we can do our bit to help, is at the forefront of everybody’s minds at the moment, it’s becoming more important to think about the sustainability of our favourite food and drinks brands. Luckily for whisky lovers, you can sip away with a clear moral conscience. Glengoyne Distillery has been recognised for the hard work it does to help the environment at the recent Drinks Business Green Awards, where it was awarded the Amorim Sustainability Award for Spirits. The Distillery does a plethora of wonderful things to help fight climate change, from massively reducing waste transport with use of a Pot Ale Tank, to helping the bee population in collaboration with Plan Bee. This isn’t all new, either… Glengoyne has been using exclusively renewably energy since back in 2013!

Pay a visit…

Particularly when it comes to those who have been fans of a whisky brand for years, and are looking to take their appreciation to the next level, a visit to the distillery itself will definitely be a popular day out in 2018. Distillery tours are a great way to see exactly how your favourite dram comes to be, from grain to glass! The whisky industry is becoming exceedingly more interactive as these tours create new ways to enjoy a drink, learn about the history of the brand and see it being made in action, and we expect to see this popularity continue to soar in 2018.

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Whisky lovers are guaranteed to have a great 2018, with everything that the industry has in store, and this is why #EVLoves working with brands such as Glengoyne, Tamdhu and Smokehead!

Ella Cunningham