Comment - Spirits - What Will (Not) Happen in 2012
This week is prediction week on just-drinks. On Thursday, Chris Losh will give us his annual, tongue-in-cheek forecasts for the coming year. Today, however, Ian Buxton, consider what might happen in brown spirits in 2012.
For this first column of 2012, I determined to seek out the views of senior and influential industry leaders on the prospects for brown spirits in the coming year and publish a range of informed and authoritative views on what the future holds for all of us.
Then, I thought: ‘Sod it, that’s a lot of work and they’ve no more idea than I have.’ So here, in a spirit of frivolity entirely unsuited to the impending economic apocalypse that’s about to engulf the known universe, are the predictions to be found in Old Buxton’s Almanack (price several large ones at a PR junket, sorry ‘media briefing’, near you).
The following article contains forward-looking views and opinions. just-drinks accepts no liability for any decisions taken on the basis of this 'information'.
January: In the drinks industry’s most remarkable reverse take-over seen to date, Beam Inc acquires Diageo. In a comment on this stunning and audacious move, Beam CEO Matt Shattock says: “We’re looking at Bacardi now.”
February: Whyte and Mackay releases the world’s first GBP1m bottle of whisky, Dalmore Supremitas, which contains spirit from before God was born. “Ironic retro austerity is the new luxury,” announces UB Group's head, Vijay Mallya, at the launch of the 1.5-litre PET bottle, with its distinctive ROPP closure.
March: Not to be outdone, the folks at Bruichladdich reveal the ultimate peated whisky, The Peat Behemoth. Distilled by their peat master, Peter ‘Peaty’ Peterson, in peat-fired stills and aged in casks buried in a peat bog, each bottle contains a peat widget that releases a concentrated burst of phenols when the bottle is opened. Also available in herring barrel finish. Sorry, "ace’d" (additional cask enhancement) in herring barrels.
April: Latest Macallan Masters of Photography released. The unlabelled bottle comes with a Photo-Me booth token and you stick your own picture on the front. “Ironic retro austerity is the new luxury,” says Edrington Group's malts director, Ken Grier.
May: First Minister Alex Salmond declares Scottish independence and reveals ‘Resource Tax’ on distillery water supplies.
June: Chivas Brothers announces GBP100m investment in new Carlisle distillery. SWA commences legal action against US country music singer Glen Campbell for ‘passing off’ (and really naff Greatest Hits album).
July: Greece leaves the Euro. The New Drachma immediately devalues 50%. Greek whisky market collapses.
August: Nothing happens in August. Everyone is on holiday in Greece. Greek whisky market recovers.
September: Jim Murray awards The Peat Behemoth 2013 World Whisky of the Year. Unfortunately, all stock has been sold before his book is published. Dalmore launches GBP5m Ridicularius; only bottle bought by Geneva-based whisky investment fund Fleece, Ewe & Runne.
October: Following the success of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Jim Beam Red Stag, and inspired by TV’s Mad Men, a grateful market receives Hooters Whiskey-Flavored Bourbon. “Hooters Flavored Bourbon really is unique,” pants an enthusiastic PR. “Flavour is the new taste.” US vodka sales continue double-digit growth.
November: Diageo re-opens Rosebank, St Magdalene and Port Ellen distilleries in a move to “restore authenticity to single malt”. Leaked internal email reads “Have you seen what they’ll pay for this stuff?”
December: Geneva-based whisky investment fund Fleece, Ewe & Runne files bankruptcy papers. Dalmore launches GBP100m Absurditas. The first buyer will have his or her bottle personally delivered by a Kingfisher Airlines 747. “If you can fill it, you can keep it,” quips Mallya.
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