THAILAND: Challenging times for premium whisky
In a market already showing signs of slowdown fatigue, sales of whisky in Thailand maybe expected to reach 3m this year, but only 10% is expected to be premium brands.
As the festive season approaches sales of Thailand's premium whisky products are already expected to be 10% down on previous years at about 30%. Sales in the fourth quarter would usually account for 40% of the industry's annual sales.
A report by the Bangkok Post newspaper claims one reason for the drop in sales is the continuing shift to so-called secondary whisky products, which can be half of the price of the premium brands.
The effect of the September 11 attacks on the US and increased global tension has also resulted in a decline in the country's tourism industry, alcohol sales from pubs, bars and clubs in tourist cities have also dropped.
Arthorn Suthisomboon, marketing manager of Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine (Thailand) Co., which distributes Braemar and Ballantine's Scotch Whisky told the Bangkok Post that the falling numbers of tourists has affected industries across the board. Sales of white spirits have also declined due to lower European tourists. Whereby sales of hard liquor are expected to fall because of fewer Japanese tourists.
The situation does not look likely to improve either. By anticipating a continuing general economic slowdown it is the secondary cheaper whisky products that will continue to have the most potential. And with distributors planning bigger discount campaigns, competition is set be even fiercer.
One industry expert in Thailand told the Bangkok Post said: "We have never seen such a situation in the market."
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