GLOBAL BRAND AMBASSADOR, STRUAN GRANT RALPH, WILLIAM GRANT & SONS BRANDS LTD.
In the last five years, tastes have changed significantly, especially as the millennial generation begins to make its mark. What are your thoughts?
I’d say whisky tastes have become a lot more refined, with the generation of whisky drinkers being better informed and more educated on whisky than at any time before. For us, that has meant being able to experiment more with cask finishes and new products to appeal to this empowered generation of whisky drinkers.
What marketing strategies have the global whisky brands employed to distinguish themselves and what sets them apart?
Glenfiddich launched the Experimental series in both the UAE and Lebanon over the last two years and has seen great results in both markets, with an existing community of whisky drinkers welcoming the initiative. We did this by telling new stories about an old traditional whisky-making culture and creating new products, which were both high quality and exciting, and by hosting launch parties in both markets.
What do you think the ‘Next Big Thing’ is going to be in whisky in the coming year and why?
I think continued innovation and experimentation will be big in the coming years. I also think whisky producers will start to address changes in our climate and how to contend with increasingly volatile weather.
The modern consumer has acquired a diverse palate, while the cocktail culture has played a significant role in developing this trend. What are your thoughts on this topic?
The heyday of the cocktail was arguably 100 years ago, when the era of classic cocktails gave consumers a taste for spirits. The modern trend is an extension of that, with modern consumers enjoying drinks that were created years ago.