Some Final Thoughts
I pulled out the stock market trader analogy at dinner again last night: the idea of buying when the market is low and selling when the market is high. Scottish single malt whisky is like Apple stock right now – you want in? You'll be paying a premium price per share. American whiskey is relatively inexpensive, but there's no stock available. French brandy, on the other hand, with backwoods Armagnac producers selling off 20+ year old barrels for American whisky prices, is where you want to buy in. If you don't like brandy and you only prefer to drink Scotch, well.....we don't have good news for you. Our first round of pricing came back for some of the casks we tasted and they're not cheap. With the Pound/Dollar ratio in the toilet and the scarcity of quality mature whisky where it is, don't expect many deals with this year's crop. We're looking into a few strategies, but the price is the price. These are the moments when I always tell drinkers to diversify their portfoio if they want value. Try developing some new tastes for different spirits. There are plenty of new adventures out there. Look at what we've been tasting over the last week, for God's sake!
With whisky bottlers dipping into their younger stocks and realizing there are some tasty selections available to them, it's clear that necessity is the mother of invention. The world wants more booze and producers are looking to give it to them. But you don't have to settle for less. That's the whole point of us being here right now – to find out the truth behind what's being said. Is there really not much mature whisky available? It seems so – at least for us to purchase. But so much of what people "want" to drink is based on what they've been told is good. Old whisky is better than young whisky. Grand Champagne Cognac is better than Bon Bois. Grand Cru Montrachet is better than Premier Cru Chablis. These aren't so much truths as they are simplifications, as in most of the time these generalizations are correct (according to the experts). But who's going to question them? Who's going to actually taste through all the examples to see if the rule holds true? Who's going to do side-by-side comparisons to look for the exceptions? Because if Bon Bois Cognac isn't as good as Grand Champagne then it shouldn't cost as much (wink wink).
One thing that's clear to me after the past two weeks is that the wine and spirits industry is still dominated by a classism that is hardly ever checked. It's that built-in reputation for quality, right or wrong, that allows shitty Grand Champagne producers to sell their shitty Cognac for $100, while the Borderies guy with great juice is forced to settle for less. The branded names of whisky's pantheon can skate by with mediocre booze that no one questions because, hey, they're supposed to be the best! Who are you to say otherwise? Who am I? I'm just a loud-mouthed guy who works in a liquor store. What do I know? I know that you can drink good booze for great prices if you're willing to look outside the box, so ultimately I'm fine with these classist beliefs.
The longer people keep thinking they're drinking the best, the more we can keep flying under the radar, providing you – our customers – with great stuff at great prices.
That's it. We're off to the airport. See you later.