just-drinks authors and correspondents

Neil Ridley

Neil RidleyBiography

Neil has been writing professionally in the spirits industry for over a decade. His book, Distilled, co-authored by Joel Harrison, is now the biggest selling pan-spirits book globally, translated into 14 languages.

He hosts talks and seminars on the current state of the industry, as well as appearing regularly on Channel 4’s flagship food and drink show, Sunday Brunch, in the UK.

Columns by Neil Ridley

Comment - Spirits (Brown) - Last Orders with Neil RidleyComment - Spirits (Brown) - Last Orders with Neil Ridley

Brown spirits aficionado Neil Ridley casts his eye over the latest goings-on in whisk(e)y, Cognac, dark rum et al.

Articles by Neil Ridley

Why post-COVID spirits consumers will be 'living in the moment' - comment 14 May 2020

As lockdown restrictions slowly start to ease in some markets, Neil Ridley considers how the post-COVID landscape is taking shape for spirits brand owners.


How the spirits category can ride out the coronavirus storm - comment 16 April 2020

With most of the world on lockdown, Neil Ridley explores how the spirits category can continue to support itself once the coronavirus pandemic eases.


Pernod Ricard and Bacardi have recently unveiled Scotch whiskies finished in Tequila and mezcal casks, respectivelyIs Scotch whisky ditching evolution for revolution? - comment 10 March 2020

Following the emergence of two new Mexican spirit-influenced blended Scotch whiskies last week, our dark spirits columnist, Neil Ridley looks at how continued innovation can potentially bring new consumers into a weary category.


Sweetness may have been successful in the past, but rum producers have much more to offer consumers, argues Neil RidleyWhy rum producers should ignore their past to win in the future - comment 17 February 2020

In this month's outing, just-drinks' dark spirits commentator, Neil Ridley, tells us how it took a trip to the most unlikely of locations to truly discover the potential of premium rum - and why he feels the category needs to shake off its sickly-sweet persona.


What does 2020 have in store for the dark spirits industry?What's coming up in dark spirits in 2020? - Predictions for the Year Ahead - comment 14 January 2020

The dawning of a new decade will bring plenty of surprises, creativity and optimism. As we welcome 2020, then, what will be the first likely trends in dark spirits? Category commentator Neil Ridley takes a look.


What does rum need to do to recognise its potential? - Comment 12 November 2019

The much-touted 'demise' of gin is surely music to the rum category's collective ears. However, spirits commentator Neil Ridley argues the spirit must first find its way out of the Wild West and lose its 'sweet-toothed' perception before making a play for the hearts and throats of today's consumers.


The Glenlivet cocktail capsules caused uproar among single malt's puristsWhy single malt Scotch must ignore its core consumer - Comment 17 October 2019

Despite drawing criticism from certain quarters, the single malt Scotch whisky category must continue to strive for greater inspiration and innovation if it is to maintain its current trajectory, argues Neil Ridley.


Pernod Ricard's Emeishan distillery could be the start of a whole new category in malt whiskyPernod Ricard breaks new boundaries with Chinese malt whisky distillery - Comment 12 September 2019

The recent unveiling of Pernod Ricard Asia's plans to produce China's first domestically-sourced single malt whisky is undoubtedly a landmark moment in brown spirits. Category commentator Neil Ridley considers whether Chinese whisky could become a contender to the other 'world whiskies'.


Why rye whisky is set to go global - Comment 15 August 2019

With its distinctly peppery, spicy flavour profile, rye whisky presents a challenge to the average consumer's palate, thinks Neil Ridley, but one that a new breed of whisky consumers appears keen to explore in more detail. So, why is the UK craft distilling scene getting excited for such an innovative, yet relatively extreme, spirit?


Scotch whisky producers are now allowed to use a wider array of cask types in the maturation processWhy the next chapter for Scotch whisky has its challenges - Comment 18 July 2019

The recent rule changes in Scotch maturation introduced by the Scotch Whisky Association go some way to appealing to the creativity of today's forward-thinking distillers. However, is the general public ready for Scotch 2.0 or, for that matter, does the consumer even want it? Neil Ridley delves into the casks to see what's slumbering away.




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