It must be serious when Smithson writes about it. How did this happen and why?
A couple or three decades ago, the spirits people were really glum. Spirits sales were flat because the drink of the moment was wine and wine consumption soared. The wine drinkers had kids who, naturally, didn’t want to drink what their parents drank so they found vodka. Vodka sales soared. The brown spirits folk remained glum. Since everything goes in cycles, it is now brown spirits’ turn. Glumness gone.
But increased consumption means a looming shortage. Whiskey and bourbon can’t be made overnight, especially the good stuff which takes years of aging. Overall, sales are up around 5% but the premium category is up 20%. Not only that, but there’s a shortage of barrels for aging. The barrels are made of American oak and that’s in short supply as a result of the last winter’s harshness.
What to do? Lay in a supply now so you won’t have to suffer whiskey deprivation anxiety. It lasts forever, if you don’t drink it (the whiskey, not the anxiety).