A few years ago, in 2009, us whisky fanatics were thrilled by the opportunity to buy bottles of whisky from the first new distillery in quite a while. Not ages, since there was Arran about a decade before, Glengyle, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich and some others, but still it was something new for many of us.
Without flinching we paid sizeable bucks for a three year old Kilchoman, mostly because there was the sympathy vote. A new independent distillery, in a crisis, without cash to spare. We all gladly chipped in to help out.
This doesn’t work for any distillery. Bruichladdich made it because they could charge regular prices for regularly aged whiskies from old stock. Glengyle/Kilkerran can hold its own mostly because of the Springbank and Longrow profits (plus, it only runs a few weeks per year).
Last year Glenglassaugh released their first three year old and I don’t know many people who bought it. Enough peope did probably, but they also have old stock that’s being sold off at premium prices.
I am just wondering what will happen in 2016/2017. There’s a new batch of distilleries being (re)built now or soon. In the second half of this decade we will probably see the first releases of Wolfburn, Falkirk, Annandale, Kingsbarns, The London Distilling Co., Ardnamurchan and Barra. There are probably a few more but these are the ones I can think of from the top of my head.
I can’t help but worry for the people taking the risks of building a distillery and getting loans to do it. I wonder if people are still willing to pay anywhere up from € 50 for a three year old whisky because it’s new, if it’s the fifth in a year. I worry because I am willing to spend money on whisky, quite a lot if you ask my wife, but I hardly ever buy anything from the new kids on the block at this moment. I have some Kilchomans but haven’t bought any in two years. The same goes for Glengyle. I skipped the Glenglassaugh. I can’t remember anyone being thrilled by Abhainn Dearg.
Let’s just hope people have thought this through properly and are not just trying to hop on the bandwagon of whisky before the boom goes bust! (Or putting all their eggs in the collector’s basket, for that matter).