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Inside the Global Scotch Shortage

Oh dear, it appears that price of whiskey is climbing through the roof, mainly because the demand is high. The word “shortage” is enough to make some people panic. First it was bourbon, then other kinds of whiskey, and now the high demand has affected the supply of Scotch whisky!

Booze-loving Cassandras have been warning of Scotch and other whisky shortages for the past two years. In 2014, the main concern was bourbon; as the liquor experienced an uptick in popularity, distilleries began to struggle to keep up with demand. The problem was so severe that Buffalo Trace Distillery released a public statement outlining their efforts to address the shortage. Wood shortages for making aging barrels compounded the matter, leading some to call for legal changes to allow Tennessee whisky barrels to be re-used; this in turn alarmed Scotch distilleries, who often purchase used bourbon and whisky barrels for their aging processes. Prices for older bottles skyrocketed—according to a 2014 Esquire article, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 that went for $47 in 2007 cost a whopping $982 in 2014.

So what can be done about it? Distilleries are looking at a variety of ways to alleviate the shortages, to “ensure no glass remains empty.” Read about them, and the various reasons for the whisky shortage, at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Trollhead)


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