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Page added on May 19, 2014

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Peak Whiskey: supplies are running low

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Bourbon lovers, you’d better stock up. A day of reckoning is quickly approaching, warns Buffalo Trace, one of the oldest distilleries in the country. A whiskey shortage may soon be upon us.

While bourbon producers have seen this problem coming for more than a year, its impacts are just now beginning to hit the market and will likely only worsen. Here’s Buffalo Trace with more on the problem:

Despite the increase in distillation over the past few years, bourbon demand still outpaces supply. The overall bourbon category is experiencing 5% growth, but premium brands are up nearly 20% from last year. Bourbon must be matured in new oak barrels and Buffalo Trace ages many of its barrels for eight to ten years, and some over two decades. That’s a long time to wait for a bottle of bourbon. Not to mention, with the amount of bourbon lost to evaporation over time, barrels are half empty after ten years. The increase in sales, coupled with the aging process and evaporation loss, leads to a shortage with no end in sight.

A shortage of wood necessary to create whiskey barrels, the Spirits Business adds, also seems to be exacerbating the problem.

As Esquire points out, this surge in demand ultimately reflects a change of societal taste. “Ten years ago everybody drank vodka, and Scotch was something you kept around for when your dad visited,” Esquire writes. “Now, whiskey of all kinds has become a fetish object of the young, urban, and image-conscious.” Sales data show that most coveted whiskey of all is now the high-end, decade-plus aged varieties. Unfortunately, whiskey brewers preparing today’s stocks 10 or more years ago did not see that coming.

In other words, now might be a good time to get into gin.

SmithsonianMag

While bourbon producers have seen this problem coming for more than a year, its impacts are just now beginning to hit the market and will likely only worsen. Here’s Buffalo Trace with more on the problem:

Despite the increase in distillation over the past few years, bourbon demand still outpaces supply. The overall bourbon category is experiencing 5% growth, but premium brands are up nearly 20% from last year. Bourbon must be matured in new oak barrels and Buffalo Trace ages many of its barrels for eight to ten years, and some over two decades. That’s a long time to wait for a bottle of bourbon. Not to mention, with the amount of bourbon lost to evaporation over time, barrels are half empty after ten years. The increase in sales, coupled with the aging process and evaporation loss, leads to a shortage with no end in sight.

A shortage of wood necessary to create whiskey barrels, the Spirits Business adds, also seems to be exacerbating the problem.

As Esquire points out, this surge in demand ultimately reflects a change of societal taste. “Ten years ago everybody drank vodka, and Scotch was something you kept around for when your dad visited,” Esquire writes. “Now, whiskey of all kinds has become a fetish object of the young, urban, and image-conscious.” Sales data show that most coveted whiskey of all is now the high-end, decade-plus aged varieties. Unfortunately, whiskey brewers preparing today’s stocks 10 or more years ago did not see that coming.

In other words, now might be a good time to get into gin.


SmithsonianMag



9 Comments on "Peak Whiskey: supplies are running low"

  1. TIKIMAN on Tue, 20th May 2014 6:09 am 

    “Despite the increase in distillation over the past few years, bourbon demand still outpaces supply”

    LOL yeah ok. Must be why I have always seen full shelves of it. What kind of shit is that?

    When there is a vodka shortage, that’s when there will be a real crisis.

  2. forbin on Tue, 20th May 2014 9:00 am 

    yo! no worries over here , the Scots have plenty of the stuff

    wanner buy some ?

    I hear there’s going to be a salt shortage next week ……

    maybe we should just google wine shortage and check some facts instead

    Jack D , is on promotional offer here in the UK – down to 30$ per 70cl bottle as I type

    Like Oil I guess as the price goes up the market will be well supplied to those who can afford it

  3. J-Gav on Tue, 20th May 2014 9:22 am 

    Oh no! Now they’re comin after my whiskey? Take my I-phone (which I don’t have), take my TV (which I don’t watch) but please leave me my whiskey – even if I only occasionally drink it.

  4. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 20th May 2014 9:30 am 

    Gav, cost-co has the big knob creek big bottles cheap. I collect Kentucky bourbon. I have a great collection. I don’t drink but I am stocking up on it for trade, barter, and medicine

  5. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 20th May 2014 9:34 am 

    damn, Gav, forgot you are across the pond.

  6. GregT on Tue, 20th May 2014 9:41 am 

    There must be a lot of bourbon drinkers down in the States, because other than a couple of occasions in my entire life, I have never seen or heard about anyone drinking the stuff here.

    Or, maybe I just hang out in the wrong crowds?

  7. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 20th May 2014 9:47 am 

    Canadian brands are more popular here especially blends like Crown Royal but Bourbons are for connoisseurs in the heartland

  8. J-Gav on Tue, 20th May 2014 10:08 am 

    True, Davy, I mostly go for Scottish single malts and luckily, there seems to be no shortage of that here yet – though a good one is quite pricey.

  9. rollin on Wed, 21st May 2014 12:33 pm 

    Here is where the omni-holics reign. They drink anything. Adaptability and resilience that is the key.
    Moonshiners will rake in the profits.

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