Updated: Mar 2
While the shifting whiskey consumer is demanding a reassessment of the category's fundamental virtues,
premiumisation in other spirits categories is putting whisky's hold on the upper echelon under threat. Premium rums and tequilas, for example, are becoming more Sippable, whether in high-profile cocktails or on their own. As a result, whisky drinkers are expanding into other categories that provide a similar drinking experience, and whisky manufacturers are responding by diversifying their offerings.
Furthermore, increased demand from a developing middle class in nations such as India, Mexico and China is putting a strain on the supply of matured whiskies for many whisky makers.
With such a rise in demand, some whisky manufacturers are questioning how whiskies are created, packaged, and promoted considering rising interest from millennial consumers, both male and female. This new consumer demography contradicts long-held beliefs that whisky is a "man's" drink, with quality determined by heritage, age declarations, or traditional distilling methods
Now, companies that want to appeal to a younger LDA audience are using social media to guide their branding strategy. Brands like Compass Box, Few Spirits, and Nikka Whisky use less typical design designs in their bottles, making them stand out more on the back bar and in retail. When it comes to gifting and buying online, packaging and aesthetics play a big influence on consumers when making their decisions, both before and after Covid-19. Meanwhile, behind the bar, the label might be crucial.
Meanwhile, as other spirits categories challenge whisky's supremacy in the sipping category, several whisky distilleries are attempting to increase the category's importance in mixed drinks. Brands are partnering with bars to highlight how its liquid works in cocktails, as bartenders increasingly use unique servings to introduce new consumers to the whisky category. In addition, the whisky highball, which is popular in Japan, is making inroads into the Western world.
As both, old world and new world whiskey producers move towards a future with a blend of traditions and flexible regulations, we just hope that it gets better with every Sip!