Whisky Lost and Found (March 19, 2023)
1983 was a very bad year to be in the Scotch Whisky business. Sales had dried up in the face of changing consumer tastes and economic woes, and the industry was sitting on a “whisky loch” of millions of gallons of whisky no one wanted to buy. That led to the permanent or temporary closings of 14 distilleries, along with blending and bottling plants throughout Scotland. 40 years later, the industry has recovered – but have the lessons from 1983 been remembered? We’ll talk with historians Charles Maclean and Dr. Nick Morgan about the circumstances that led to mass closings back then, and what’s different today.
In the news, UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has slapped Scotch Whisky with a 10.1% increase in excise duty, and industry leaders are fighting back claiming broken promises. Kentucky state lawmakers are trying to get a bill passed in the next few days that would phase out the state’s barrel tax on maturing whiskey, and David Beckham is reported to be stepping away from his bespoke whisky brand.
The State of Scotch (March 12, 2023)
Mark Kent left the UK’s diplomatic service 14 months ago to become the new CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association, and admits he didn’t know much about Scotch when he started. With the industry in a state of flux over issues ranging from a potential marketing and advertising ban in Scotland to free trade and climate change, it’s been a busy 14 months for Kent. He’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the state of the Scotch Whisky industry and those key issues it faces. In the news, Islay distillers are scrambling to find new sources of peated malt after Diageo’s Port Ellen Maltings stopped supplying outside customers. We’ll also look at record U.S. spirits exports, even though some key markets are still recovering from the impact of trade tariffs, and on this week’s Behind the Label, we’ll look at the role enzymes play in mashing and why many distillers use a small amount of malted barley in their mashes.
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Our very first episode of WhiskyCast dropped on November 12, 2005, and thanks for joining us each week as we start our 18th year as the world’s longest-running whisky podcast series!
Each week, veteran journalist Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news, in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. Each podcast features brand-new content, and unless there’s a special occasion, we don’t do “best of” shows.
If you’re just discovering us for the first time, here’s a bit of our own story. WhiskyCast pioneered the genre of whisky-focused podcasts back in 2005, when most people had never heard of podcasting! Since then, we’ve produced hundreds of hours of original – and free – audio and video content for whisky lovers like you around the world. Our community spans the globe, and we’ve done stories on whiskies made in the far north of Scandinavia all the way to the tips of South Africa and Australia – and everywhere in between. We’ve met many of you at whisky festivals and while visiting distilleries, and hope to meet many more of you over time.
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The WhiskyCast Team