Imagine if you will, Scotland a peatless waste land, the sweet taste of sherry bombs a distant memory, whisky bars nowhere to be found, while America is a bourbon-less country. Even the most un-exceptional and un-inspiring whisky now only affordable to the outlandishly rich, with no hope of ever being tasted again. The apocalypse that will now haunt my dreams forever.
Now, I am most certainly being a dramatic, but there are some concerns going forward on the consistency of supply in the whisky market.
In 2018 an entire month of whisky product was lost in the highlands of Scotland due to a lack of water. A prolonged heatwave and lack of rainfall even in the typically wet and cold seasons caused springs and rivers to be lower than before. With the Spey River, which is used by some distilleries as its waters source, at stages being a staggering 97% lower than its usual minimum.
Glenfarclas who described themselves as “not the only one, but the most vocal” distillery affected stopped production for the entire month of September. Glenfarclas do not use the Spey River due to location but rather a natural spring which was dry at the time. The impact of this cease in production? Up to 300,000 litres!
Although the likes of Diageo do not feel this to be a major threat with measures to mitigate the risk already in place, experts believe this may not be a one off with similar temperatures expected to be expected this summer, with the reason being put down to climate change.
Although it isn’t panic stations yet it is a constant reminder that production, maturation and the final product, whisky, is all at the mercy of earthly factors. As we describe it as the nectar of the gods, perhaps it is even at their mercy also.