Global sales of Scotch whisky ended four years of decline with a slight increase in 2017, and the category is poised for a bright future thanks to a blends resurgence, according to new research.
The Global Scotch Whisky Insights report from just-drinks and The IWSR, which is published today, highlights a 1% rebound in total sales of Scotch last year, reaching just under 93m nine-litre cases in the process. However, 2017 was another mixed year for the category, with leading markets France and the US both declining, and sales falls in nine out of its top 20 markets.
Scotch owed its improving fortunes to a welcome recovery in a number of emerging markets, including Russia, Brazil, Poland and China – the first growth seen in the latter market for six years.
The joint-report says it expects these trends to continue in the next five years, with France and the US set to decline further, while the prognosis is much more positive in emerging markets, especially in Brazil, Mexico, Russia, India and Poland.
Although still dwarfed by blends, single malts will continue to expand ahead of the wider category, enjoying all but ubiquitous growth.
For malts, the issue continues to be managing supply and demand while waiting for stocks to build. Meanwhile, blends face an ongoing challenge in mature markets to engage with younger consumers in particular.