just-drinks, in association with The IWSR, presents this seven-part review of the Scotch whisky category. In the penultimate part, we look at the challenges facing Scotch in the months and years ahead.

Macroeconomic factors, particularly in emerging markets such as Brazil, have arguably been the most significant cause of Scotch's recent declines. However, the flipside of this is that the category's global reach and sheer size enable it to spread market risk - if one country declines, another will usually be in growth.

A more worrying issue is the widespread consumer perception that single malts are 'better' than blends because of their provenance and character. Given that blends still account for more than 90% of volumes, the industry is keen to counteract this, with education a key part of marketing initiatives such as Johnnie Walker's newly-launched 'Joy Will Take You Further' platform.

At this time two years ago, our prospects for Scotch were supported by a very different macro-economic environment. Since that time these four well-documented factors (subdued emerging market growth, currency devaluation, socio-political instability and inventory destocking) have had an effect on our category performance.

David Gates, head of premium core spirits, Diageo

With malt Scotch, the main issue is that of supply. Few if any companies predicted current levels of demand for their products, and have therefore failed to lay in adequate stocks to cope with it.

Production has been scaled up, with a host of multi-million-pound distillery expansion projects under way, but it will take some years for supply to catch up with demand.

For the just-drinks Scotch Whisky Essentials content page, click here

All data has been sourced from just-drinks' joint report with The IWSR, Global Scotch Whisky Insights.