Blog: Which spirits category is the next big thing?
Lucy Britner | 13 May 2016
Drinks companies spend a lot of money on trying to predict trends. At last night's Worshipful Company of Distillers City debate, any strategists in the audience got a bit of forecasting for free.
The panel, which was made up of Nomura analyst Ian Shackleton, Craft Distilling Expo founder David T Smith, Chivas Bros CEO Laurent Lacassagne, Brown-Forman's chief brands & strategy officer Lawson Whiting and Adnams distiller John McCarthy, told the audience what they thought would be the "next big thing".
Unsurprisingly, Adnams' McCarthy (who makes lots of gin, among other things) plumped for gin, which he hopes will continue to grow for "several more years".
Next to answer, Whiting said that apart from whisk(e)y, "gin has the most potential in the US market", where it "hasn't been a great category". A gin purchase on the cards for B-F, perhaps?
Meanwhile, sticking to home turf, Smith said: "I think that we'll see four or five English whiskies come online in 2018. I think there will certainly be a bit of buzz around English whisky around then."
Also unsurprisingly, whisky was on the Chivas Bros' CEO's mind, though probably not English whisky.
"Whisky is a very strong trend," he said. "All emerging markets are whisky markets - India, Africa, South America, Asia."
Ian Shackleton, however, plumped for rum. His reason? The potential for Cuban brands when the embargo with America is lifted.
Poor old vodka didn't even get a mention.
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