This years World Whiskies Conference took place in Glasgow this week

This year's World Whiskies Conference took place in Glasgow this week

The whisk(e)y producers among us have been congregating in Glasgow this week for the World Whiskies Conference. The annual event has been a useful source of industry news and gossip and this year's event was no exception. As tradition dictates, here is our annual snapshot of some of the more colourful quotes from the two days.

“This is an industry that is beginning to sell its soul. Big iconic brands are being sold off cheap. We need to bring price promotions back in control – don’t undersell brands – today’s price promotion will be tomorrow’s RSP.” - Steven Sturgeon, marketing director at CL World Brands

“One of the things the industry does well is great iconic advertising.” - Sturgeon

“We’ve been a bit backward in the US. Until 2000, there was no spirits advertising on TV. Coming back on TV has made a difference. The light at the end of the recession tunnel is getting closer.” Mark Gorman, senior VP for government affairs at DISCUS

“We now have 200 to 300 craft distillers, and a lot of ‘wanabees’. They all want to make whisky and they all want to make money, but they don’t have the financial resources to age it for three to five years.” - Gorman

“Politicians see alcohol taxes as low hanging fruit.” - Gorman

“Scotch whisky has looked to progress and find new markets where the perception is that you have ‘made it in the world’ if you are given or drinking whisky.” - Nick Gray, Design Bridge

“Whisky has long been associated with status, but it has to curb overt signs of wealth in many markets.” - Gray

“I don’t think any company is really studying the psychology of consumers in the growth markets, such as the mainland Chinese and Taiwanese.” - Val Smith from IWSR 

“With all the help of new technology, how come we’ve [Scotch whisky] only managed 10.8% global growth in 35 years?” - Donald Blair from Polestar Scotland

“Scotch Whisky was more premium in 1992 than at any other time.” - Blair

"Kavalan is a good whiskey in its own right, we are not here to compete or to copy but to join the community." - Ian Chang, head of R&D and master blender at Kavalan Distillery in Taiwan

"Because of the fragmented consumer base, the consumer packaged goods business must pick its battles and markets it wants to penetrate. Visibility is key." - Sam Pyburn from Quofore

"Global brands face strong indigenous competitors with deep cultural roots." - Pyburn

"There is a great opportunity in BRIC markets, but you cannot approach retail execution in the same way  as in modern trade market due to the lack of central control." - Pyburn

"Roseisle is a considered and confident response to the current and predicted growth trends of Scotch." - Nick Morgan, Diageo's knowledge & heritage director

"Diageo is a blended whisky company. Diageo does not make single malts for me to enjoy. They do not make single malts for the aficionado to enjoy. We make single malts for our blending team." - Morgan

"Senior figures within the Scotch whisky industry – while wary of going on the record for political reasons – admit to just-drinks to having misgivings about the tightness of the current regulations, and are at least considering whether to raise the subject for further discussion at the highest level.” - Chris Brook-Carter, publisher at

"The fact that neither Red Stag or Compass Box's The Spice Tree are permitted under current SWA regulations is at the heart of this debate. Is this a sound means of protecting the identity of a hugely valuable spirits category – or a reactionary check on the sector’s innate natural creativity and dynamism?" - Brook-Carter