During the pandemic, many whisky manufacturers decided to make a substantial pivot. They were going to use their ingredients to make hand sanitiser. There were others who simply couldn’t get enough of their usual product out of the door and onto shelves as bars, restaurants and clubs remained shut. In essence, it was one of the few industries that actually got busier during lockdown.
Global sales of whisky are expected to double by 2031
, hitting a value of $108 billion. In 2020, whisky accounted for 75%
of Scottish food and drink exports. There really is no slow down predicted. Demand for the product, both domestically and internationally, continues to grow. It could even be said that the industry has come nowhere close to reaching its peak as yet.
So could whisky manufacturing and production be an industry that – no matter what is going on in the world, be it Brexit, Covid or recession – is foolproof?
It is an interesting concept – and one that makes the market even more lucrative for job hunters than it ever was. With whisky, many candidates are attracted to the glamour and luxury of the brand; the stunning distillery locations; the national pride. All of that, combined with the fact that the industry has proven it can pivot and weather the storm, makes it an increasingly enticing proposition, whether you work as an engineer, a brand marketer or a packaging technologist.
And whilst the stalwarts of the industry may have the branding and longevity that candidates seek, there are lots of challenger brands, start ups and disruptors that are also keen to make their mark. (And, on more than just whisky, too, as distilleries seek to offer alternative spirits such as gin.)
Whisky has also managed to diversify beyond a consumable product. It has now become an experience. Think of the Johnny Walker exhibit in Edinburgh, complete with tasting sessions, tours and restaurant, or Glenmorangie’s ground-breaking “innovation distillery”. As a result, 2.2 million tourists
come to Scotland every year to have their very own whisky “experience”. It means that 11,000 people in Scotland
are employed directly by the industry in a range of roles.
There has been plenty of expansion within the industry. New sites have cropped up across Scotland. There has also been lots of development and innovation – to be at the cutting edge of the market, you really do have to have the best technology and the brightest talent. So there has been a lot of investment in people, technology and product.
With burgeoning exports to new markets such as the Middle East and Asia, alongside developing markets such as Latin America, things continue to look rosy (or should that be amber) for the whisky industry and those employed by it.
As Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisk[e]y is barely enough.”
If you would like to speak to me about a career move within the FMCG industry, I’d love to be able to help. I have established relationships with some of the most familiar – and upcoming brands – on the market. Click here
to get in touch with me.