What would the world be like if you couldn’t whet your whistle with whiskey? A recent bourbon-shortage scare in the States has had American alcohol admirers asking the question.
It appears that the fears of a shortage are somewhat unjustified as the big brands like Jim Beam and Wild Turkey foresee no problem meeting demand.
However, there may be a bit of a current problem on the craft end of the spectrum. American craft whisky fans have begun hoarding their favourite bottles with one man apparently keeping 700 bottles in his cellar. Overall demand for bourbon has increased sales by 36% since 2009 and exports by 50%. With people trading up mass market brands for the quality of craft, distillers seem to have a problem keeping up with demand.
Could the same thing happen with gin? Unlikely. Firstly, overall sales of gin are relatively stable or are declining slightly meaning that production capacity is not at its fullest.
But those figures include all gins across the entire industry, which brings us to our second point. The Craft Gin industry has been booming with a 40% CAGR between 2008 and 2012 and new distilleries seem to be popping up all the time with 15 micro-distilleries opening in the UK just this year. Some say we're actually in a craft gin bubble. Almost every week there seems to be a new gin brand on the market. And although many of the brands will remain small distilleries catering to local tastes, a number will produce successful brands that grow their operations relatively rapidly.
If the case of Budweiser in the States - which was surpassed this year in annual sales volumes by the craft beer market in America whose breweries have proliferated exponentially - you may see total craft gin sales surpassing those of Gordon’s in coming years as new distilleries continue to open.
That brings us back to the perceived shortage of bourbon in the States. With over 320 micro-distilleries in operation in the States in 2012 - up 650% since 2005 and predicted to keep growing - there is likely a flood of bourbon waiting to be released on the market. Bourbon takes time to produce so many of these distilleries haven’t actually begun releasing their whiskey yet.
That’s also why there will be no shortage of quality craft gin. Many of the distilleries in the US and the UK open with the ambition of producing whisk(e)y. In the meantime, they produce easier-made elixirs like gin and vodka to generate cash flow as they wait for their whisky to mature. So don’t worry. Your quality gin will be plentiful for the foreseeable future. And if all of a sudden their is a crisis? We’ve got you covered!