An Inconvenient Truth: Growing Thirst for Whiskey Now Exceeds Global Supply

Stock up while you can
by The Drink Nation on May 14, 2014 in Culture
An Inconvenient Truth: Growing Thirst for Whiskey Now Exceeds Global Supply

It’s no secret that bourbon consumption has grown exponentially in recent years. So much so, that supplies of the once unfashionable all-American brown water are becoming increasingly scarce.

The first signs of trouble came last year when Beam Inc. announced that it was going to literally water-down its premium flagship, Makers Mark, cutting the bourbon from 90 proof to 84 proof in order to continue meeting the rising demand. When it became obvious that whiskey drinkers were anything but pleased to hear this news, the company aborted the plan. But shortly thereafter, Buffalo Trace warned that supplies of its whiskeys were also dwindling.

Some scoffed at the notion, chalking it all up as a clever marketing gimmick to justify raising prices on the precious potable potions. But this week the investment wonks at Motley Fool joined the growing chorus of media outlets heralding the inconvenient truth that like Antarctica's Western Ice Sheet’s unstoppable collapse, bourbon producers’ inability to continue to meet demand and rapidly shrinking inventories are a very real concern.

Further complicating matters is the fact that whiskey — the good ones, anyway — take decades to properly age, and since drinking bourbon was anything but hip in the 80s and 90s, production was scaled back, which means that in spite distillers efforts now to increase production, current inventories are very limited.

And it’s not just bourbon either. Esquire reports that all whiskeys — from Irish to Scotch — produced worldwide are in increasingly short supply. In fact, some single-malt Scotch producers are now releasing their whiskies without a statement of age as a workaround for diminishing stocks.

But what can a whiskey drinker do? Stock up on the good stuff while you can afford to. The shortages will likely continue for years to come. Aside from hoarding whiskey — or heaven forbid, go without it — all you can really do is pray for the angels to pour you a dram from their share.

Photo: Bourbon & Branch


Tags: Bourbon, News, Spirits, Whiskey
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