The market encourages innovation in the whisky industry

As reported by IWSR, changing market forces are encouraging whisky producers to change the way they brand or advertise their products.

Increased demand from a rising middle class in markets such as India and China is straining the supply of high-aged whisky. This is a factor prompting producers to change their traditional thinking and look for new ways to define the quality of whisky. Due to the shortage of casks of the appropriate age, its declarations on the label give way to features such as unique production methods or innovative packaging and brand values. Opening up to new markets such as India and China also necessitates a shift in the traditional way of communicating whisky as a product.

Both branding strategies and channels to reach consumers have changed. Brands such as Compass Box, Few Spirits and Nikka take inspiration from less traditional designs in their bottles and will therefore be more likely to stand out at the back bar and in retail. With the rise of e-commerce both before and after Covid-19, packaging aesthetics play a big role for consumers when making choices. Growing interest from younger consumers - both men and women - made brands look for new, creative ways to reach new customer groups and diversify their offer.

While this uniqueness may only apply to the brand or packaging, it may also be the result of innovation in the production process and flavor profile. Brands are increasingly experimenting with different cask types, ingredients and limited aging, forced to do so by a limited supply of aged casks.

The market situation indicates that in the near future we can expect enormous creativity of whisky producers in their attempts to reach new consumer groups. In the absence of a sufficient number of casks of a certain age, they will have to put more emphasis on other characteristics of whisky than age.


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