Insights & Trends
Growth and Opportunity for New World Whisky
As the whisky landscape continues to evolve, the New World whisky segment stands out. This emerging category has a unique opportunity to blend time-honoured traditions of legacy regions like Scotland, America and Ireland with innovative production, flavours and marketing strategies
As the whisky landscape continues to evolve, the New World whisky segment stands out. This emerging category has a unique opportunity to blend time-honoured traditions of legacy regions like Scotland, America and Ireland with innovative production, flavours and marketing strategies. Let’s explore what makes this opportunity so exciting for the whisky world, including global market growth, the shift in consumer preferences, and the latest trends in storytelling and branding. These elements together are shaping a new era in whisky, appealing to both traditional connoisseurs and a new generation of enthusiasts.
Where Old World Whisky Meets New World Whisky
For whisky aficionados well-versed in the nuances and history of the spirit, the evolving whisky landscape is presenting some exciting and innovative opportunities for both makers and consumers. The revered traditions of Old World whiskies, rooted in the Scottish moors and Irish hills, are now intertwining with more exploratory innovations from New World distilleries in places like Japan, Australia, and the USA (even less mentioned places like Denmark, New Zealand, Mexico and Bolivia).
This intersection isn't so much a clash of old versus new, but rather a thoughtful blend of golden-age techniques with inventive methods and ingredients. While Old World whiskies, with their rich heritage and complex profiles, continue to captivate connoisseurs through history and tradition, New World whiskies are introducing creative approaches in both production and marketing, offering new stories and innovations and reshaping both the beverage and the business.
For seasoned and newer enthusiasts alike, this blending of Old World traditions with New World innovations is diversifying the whisky scene. The combination of classic techniques with contemporary approaches is expanding the range of flavours, reshaping the whisky culture and enhancing the whisky experience for all.
Looking Forward - Global Whisky Market Growth
The whisky industry is experiencing a significant surge, with the market anticipated to reach USD 127.53 billion by 2028 (Global Whiskey Market Overview). This growth is a testament to the global appeal of whisky, transcending regional preferences and styles. While Scotch whisky remains at the forefront of the industry with a projected growth of USD 46.3 billion by 2032 (Global Market Insights), it's part of a larger expansion trend that includes the rising popularity of flavoured whiskies. The global flavoured whiskey market, valued at $27.9 billion in 2022, is on track to reach $47.1 billion by 2030 (Vantage Market Research).
The Asia Pacific region, in particular, is emerging as a major whisky market, expected to exceed USD 54.9 billion by 2032 (Global Market Insights). Driven by increasing purchasing power and a growing appetite for premium spirits, countries like India, China, and Taiwan are becoming pivotal in the global whisky narrative.
Premiumisation is becoming increasingly significant with premium whisky segments projected to see a +4% volume CAGR from 2022 to 2027. This upscaling trend is particularly noticeable in India, where premium Indian whisky sales are expected to increase sixfold by 2027 (ISWR). The US is also witnessing substantial growth in its premium whisky categories. Changing consumer preferences, with a shift towards quality drinks at home and a rise in online alcohol sales, are reinforcing this trend. While there's still a desire to go out, consumers are becoming more selective and mindful of their alcohol consumption and spending. E-commerce in alcohol is set to be a major market contributor, expected to reach nearly US$ 40 billion by 2026 (ISWR).
Despite the growth in virtual food services and food delivery, there's still a strong global preference for on-premise experiences, which facilitate socialisation and culinary exploration. The whisky industry still thrives on-trade distribution channels with bars, pubs, and hotels playing a significant role in introducing consumers to new whiskeys as many consumers seek bartender recommendations before making at-home purchases. A 2023 forecast by the National Restaurant Association highlights this trend, revealing that 70% of consumers prefer dining out and in-restaurant experiences. This preference underscores the importance of on-premise venues in the whisky market, complementing the rise of at-home consumption and online sales.
While the social settings for drinking continue to shift with changes in lifestyle, including more time spent at home due to hybrid working policies, whisky consumption patterns are changing. According to ISWR findings, this shift is likely to lead to more premium whisky consumption both in on-trade venues and for at-home enjoyment. As consumers spend time in on-trade settings, their expectations, shaped by premium home experiences (instigated during COVID lockdowns and limited mobility) like cocktail-making and subscription services, are higher. They are now more attuned to quality and value, potentially shying away from venues and brands that offer lower-quality products or experiences. Consequently, brand owners are expected to focus more on supporting their products in high-end and active on-trade accounts, ensuring that their brands align with consumer expectations of quality and premium experiences.
3 Key New World Whisky Trends
While the New World whisky space is buzzing with numerous innovations, which you can explore in-depth through our articles and videos, we've pinpointed three key trends in storytelling and branding. These trends are shaping the narrative and appeal of New World whiskies, reflecting their unique approach to capturing the hearts of whisky enthusiasts, both old and new.
Diversity in Flavor and Story
In the realm of New World whisky, a trend towards embracing diversity is making waves both in terms of flavour and narrative. As countries traditionally known for consuming Scotch venture into producing their own whiskies, a spectrum of unique styles is emerging. This trend celebrates the individuality of each region, where terroir significantly influences the taste profile, crafting a distinct 'country style'. Such diversity in flavours is not just a trend but a testament to the global love for whisky, where each bottle tells its own story.
Parallel to this exploration of flavours is a strong emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the industry itself. This movement goes beyond just combating stereotypes of the typical whisky drinker; it's about reshaping the industry's image to reflect a broader, more inclusive audience. Distill Ventures is at the forefront of this trend supporting and promoting bands that reflect the diverse range of whisky consumers and makers. By championing diversity in both their flavours and their narrative, the New World whisky market is setting a trend that's expected to grow stronger, aligning with the values and expectations of a modern, diverse consumer base.
Appealing To The Next Generation
The New World whisky scene is thriving on experimentation, drawing in a new generation of whisky enthusiasts. This trend extends beyond production techniques to how consumers experience and interact with these spirits. Emerging distilleries in regions like Denmark, New Zealand, Mexico, and Bolivia are crafting unique styles, that resonate with consumers eager for new tastes and stories. These New World producers blend traditional methods with innovative approaches, creating a connection with consumers interested in distinctive products and experiences. This shift in market demand highlights the evolving preferences of younger consumers. By embracing digital e-commerce platforms and social media, New World whisky makers are not just selling flavours but are offering immersive experiences that align with the values and interests of a new, adventurous generation of whisky drinkers.
New Approaches to Marketing
Whisky brands and distilleries are harnessing digital media to revolutionise brand building. Social media platforms have become key tools for connecting with a younger, digitally-savvy audience. These brands are doing more than just showcasing their products; they're creating immersive experiences that extend beyond the bottle.
Through engaging content, including behind-the-scenes glimpses and virtual tastings, New World whisky makers are building communities around their brands. Social media's real-time interaction allows them to respond quickly to trends, consumer feedback, and market shifts, making it a powerful tool for marketing and brand engagement.
What sets these distilleries apart on social media is their storytelling. They're sharing narratives about local heritage, innovative production techniques, and sustainable practices, fostering a deeper connection with their audience. The approach isn't just about selling whisky; it's about inviting people into a distinct, engaging whisky culture.
By leveraging social media for brand building, New World whisky distilleries are creating loyal communities of younger, keen-to-explore enthusiasts who are changing the game in how whisky brands grow and sustain their market presence.