WILL the whisky market take a hammering and lose its spot of significance?
It well could, if it doesn’t continue to innovate, stresses 50-year veteran of the industry, Richard Paterson.
Paterson is Master Distiller at The Dalmore, and he caps off his half decade at Dalmore’s Highland distillery with the introduction of the Dalmore 50 — a fine single malt matured in American white oak and finished in Domaine Henri Giraud Champagne casks.
That milestone behind him, he’s looking to “stimulate the market”.
“We cannot be complacent in this industry, the consumers of today are knowledgeable, demanding, and need to be enticed to pay that extra dollar,” he explains.
The ongoing disruptions have also forced fresh ideas into what could easily have been a languid industry that rested on its traditions.
Paterson credits whisky festivals, which have gained global popularity over the last two decades, for creating an increased awareness and demand for his products. “With the variation, range, and versatility it brings to the market, single malts have taken over the space where cognac once was,” he observes.
New Spirit Of Adventure
Paterson has continued to evolve the art of multi-cask maturation and finishing. He uses wine, bourbon, sherry, and even champagne casks to create many layers of flavours that bring fresh and unique facets to the drinking experience and to add to the DNA of Dalmore.
This form of maturation features in many of his signature drinks — like the Dalmore King Alexander III which is the world’s first single malt to be available in six different cask finishes, or the Dalmore 50, which has spent five decades aging in five different types of casks to achieve its distinct flavour.
While whiskies — fine single malts in particular — are enjoying their heyday, Paterson is fully aware that the spirit industry can be ruthless and highly competitive. “It’s a real minefield of competition out there,” he explains, with a variety of gins, vodkas, cognacs, and rums all bringing their own innovations to the fore.
The emergence of these will surely erode the whisky market in coming years.
To capture different markets and different trends, Paterson and Dalmore have set their sights on emerging markets in the Far East like China, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. With backing from Filipino owners Emperador, Inc. Paterson hopes to leverage their knowledge and experience of Asian markets to secure a strong foothold in the region.
Paterson asserts that education on the brand and the product will be the most essential step in creating and capturing a discerning whisky consumer in Asia. Real appreciation of the product’s value can only come once consumers understand what’s behind the drink.