I had a really interesting conversation during the week about how the pandemic has changed our drinking habits.
Lockdowns which forced pubs and clubs to shut meant we had no option but to drink at home. With extra money in the hip pocket as a result, we’ve become more discerning, happier to spend a bit more on quality.
This trend has been noted by premium spirit specialist Scott Christie, who has seen our habits change in the past two years. And it’s a trend he doesn’t see slowing down.
Scott says ‘’premiumisation’’ has started at home, more people are collecting spirits, with higher-end and limited release whiskeys and tequilas becoming very popular.
“Two years in and, even though venues are back open, people’s habits have definitely changed,’’ Scott says.
“Rather than go to the pub on a Friday night, people are choosing to invite a few friends over, get a couple of bottles of whisky and have a nice meal. It’s a better experience than simply going to the pub and getting trashed.
“People are reaching outside their comfort zones and are more willing to try something different and open their taste buds to new experiences. We’re drinking more for the experience and enjoyment than effect.’’
The spinoff from this is better brands will come to Australia, there will be more premium products on the market and it creates a more competitive and fun space.
Scott uses tequila to highlight his point.
“Tequila is one of those products that’s been hard to supply around the world the last few years. But it’s growing more and more, to the point we’re not just seeing people buying blanco or white tequilas and shotting them but buying $300, $400, even $500 sipping tequilas.
“Some really great bottles come over from Mexico, hand painted, with great family stories behind them. It’s great to see more and more products like that being embraced.’’
It’s a similar story with American whisky, which Scott says is overperforming in Australia.
Go back 10 years and people would pay around $50 for the average bottle of bourbon. That is now climbing towards the $100 mark.
“There are some bourbons in Australia that cost thousands of dollars and more and more people are getting into that quality of product,’’ Scott says.
*Back on the topic of high-end whisky, The Macallan is in good supply and has been selling well. An obsession with quality has been the hallmark of The Macallan since its founding by Alexander Reid on a plateau above the river Spey in north-east Scotland.
The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Year Old forms part of our Sherry Oak range, which features a series of single malt whiskies matured exclusively in hand-picked sherry seasoned oak casks from Jerez for richness and complexity. A matured character, the 12 Year Old delivers rich wood spice and dried fruits and a natural rich gold colour. RRP - $127.99
The Macallan Triple Cask Matured 12 Year Old forms part of our Triple Cask Matured range; a series of single malt whiskies crafted in a triple cask combination of European and American sherry seasoned oak casks and American ex-bourbon oak casks. This complex combination of oak casks delivers an extraordinarily smooth and delicate character, full of citrus fruits, vanilla and fresh oak. RRP - $118.99