Saturday, 2 October 2010

#387 - Whisky Disneyfication

Perhaps I'm becoming just as selective about my memories as I am about my whiskies (or perhaps it's just because I'm growing older), but it really seems to me that malt whisky marketing has suffered from "disneyfication" in recent years. 

At the end of the 20th century, single malt whiskies were hardly 'marketed' - at least not compared to well known blends like Ballantine's and Johnnie Walker. This situation was caused mostly by the fact that the single malt whisky category was a small niche market that represented only a fraction of the value of the blended Scotch whisky market. The focus of PR and advertising for single malts was mostly on product and heritage.

However, these days the marketeers use a much wider range of tools. I receive press releases about whisky festivals, competitions and charity events on a daily basis. I also receive regular press releases about 'Donald Trump whiskies' - like a new 50yo Highland Park that's supposed to fetch the nice round sum of 10,000 GBP per bottle. In the various articles that have been written about the launch of this whisky, most of the attention was reserved for the sterling silver casing that comes with the bottle and the Manhattan jeweller that produced them. 

I'm suffering from a progressive case of oldfashioned-ness, so it's entirely possible that the next generation has no problems with the growing gap between the actual product and the image or "extended experience" of the whisky brand. However, my body has already reached middle age - and now my brain is rapidly catching up. As a penny-pinching Dutchman I'm having problem with this growing gap. The Dutch phrase for hollow, meaningless boasting is "gebakken lucht" - which means something like 'fried air'. One of the problems with fried air is the fact that it isn't free. In fact, sometimes you have to pay dearly for it.

That's why I'm extra happy to report that we've received plenty of entries in the 'Daily Drams' category) priced below 50 Euro´s a bottle' of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2010. In fact, the total number of entries was a whopping 260 bottles of whisky - and it would have been even higher if half a dozen bottles hadn't broken during transit. The record number of bottles means that the members of the awards jury will have to put their personal lives in sleep mode until December 1. 

Oh, the pain we endure for the sake of good whisky ;-) 

Sweet drams,