There's a World-Wide Whisky Shortage, and It Could Last 15 Years

Whisky lets you feel like a Scotsman/cowboy/pirate and apparently makes terrific cough medicine. With that knowledge, it's really no surprise that there's a shortage of this stuff. 

CNN Money reports that supplies of vintage single malt Scotch whisky are low, and while the shortage should only affect those who can afford fancy vintage single malt Scotch whisky, a whisky shortage of any kind is cause for concern.

The report cites a number of factors that contributed to the shortage, including the obvious fact that vintage Scotch whisky is rare "by design." However, a surge in worldwide popularity is noted as a major catalyst.

Back in 2013, the BBC pointed out the rising demand in Scotch as beneficial to the industry, but with demand comes additional concerns. "This is in an industry struggling to distill enough to meet global demand now, let alone its projections of where the market will be within five to 12 years when much of its output will be ready for the market," Douglas Fraser wrote.

Though this popularity certainly put things over the edge, CNN reports that other major events foreshadowed the shortage. Distilleries going out of business in the 1980's, and a lull in exports 10 years ago, both played a part in whisky running low and whisky prices running up. 

Now everyone's trying to boost production as quickly as possible, but given that this whisky needs to be aged, the shortage could potentially last 10 to 15 years. CNN quoted brand manager of Macallan Charlie Whitfield saying, "We are currently working at full capacity -- seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We just need to be patient and allow those casks to work their magic."

Is there any way to speed up magic? Sadly, no. And as Rickesh Kishnani, creator of a whisky investment firm, says, "The shortage of old and rare single malt has already started, and it's going to get worse."

Cherish your fancy whisky. Cherish it!

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Kara King is a News Writer at Thrillist and will cherish it. Send news tips to and follow her at @karatillie.