View Full Version : Whisk(e)y and it's associated generations...

05-13-2006, 06:13
I thought I would write something informative for a change:bigeyes:

I have been thinking it would be an idea to let people know what the preference of whisk(e)y is among generations in Australia...

Generally speaking the consumer at 50+ yrs has a preference towards the Scotch and Irish whiskies, this part the fact that majority of this generation has actually moved here direct from the UK and surrounds so they are more familiar with these whiskies. Thus not a lot of sales of bourbon are in this age bracket...

40+...here we start getting a few more consumers of bourbon. This generation, if bourbon drinkers, generally know of only most of the Beam products and the other whiskey - Jack Daniels...

From 18+(legal drinking age in Oz)...this consumer age bracket LOVES bourbon!! Between the Scotch blends and Vodka, this age bracket is the highest consumer of bourbon in Oz.

Today I was chatting with an associate and we were discussing products not 'previously':cool: available in Oz, both no longer produced and current, when I was going over some of the bourbons, ie. Stagg, PVW and a few products that KBD produce, the gentleman had not heard of any of these(he runs a cigar/whisk(e)y lounge) nor had he heard of such names as A.H. Hirsch and a few other items. His son on the other hand had heard of a few of the bourbons that I was 'discussing' with them.
The owner was probably around 55+ and his son was in his early 30's.

It would be good to here trends and so forth from other countries....
Let us know what you think:icon_pidu:

05-13-2006, 10:26

Very interesting post.

I'm wondering if you could tell us what is the status of whiskey making in Australia? I would guess that since Australia was originally settled heavilly by the British and Irish, whiskey making would have naturally taken place from the beginning of it's history, like the US and Canada. I've never run accross any Aussie whiskey here in the states and am curious about what is being produced in your part of the world and if you have any recommendations about Australian Whiskies that are worth seeking out.

Thanks in advance.


Hedmans Brorsa
05-14-2006, 02:56
Generally speaking the consumer at 50+ yrs has a preference towards the Scotch and Irish whiskies, this part the fact that majority of this generation has actually moved here direct from the UK and surrounds so they are more familiar with these whiskies. Thus not a lot of sales of bourbon are in this age bracket...

Wow! You mean that the majority of 50 plussers were not born in Australia? I am aware of the fact that Australia is an immigration country in extremis but this means that the population must have been sparse in pre-WW 2, then?

The current trend in Sweden spells Single Malt Scotch. I don´t remember the source but I read somewhere some two years ago that Sweden, in proportional terms, is the leading consumer of SMS.

This is good in the sense that we have an amazing selection of malts to choose by. The negative thing is that other forms of whisk(e)y tend to be overshadowed and forgotten.

But who knows? The fact that there are so many Swedes (there´s only 8 millions of us) on this forum could point to the fact that there´s a silent revolution on the verge of brimming over. Here´s hoping! :)

05-14-2006, 14:58
Wow! You mean that the majority of 50 plussers were not born in Australia? I am aware of the fact that Australia is an immigration country in extremis but this means that the population must have been sparse in pre-WW 2, then?

It's an interesting statement. I know Troy lives in or near Melbourne which has a high percentage of first, second or third generation Ethnic Australians, so maybe that is an influence (I make that statement based on observed out of town opinion, not known fact)
Here in Brisbane, some 2000+ km north, I'm not so sure.
A recent get-together at my parents house of 11 couples all aged over 50 had no first generation immigrants present. However several had parents who immigrated from other countries..
To add diversification, the team of 13 that I work with ranges in age from 23 to 57. Of these 13, two are first generation immigrants from England and USA.

Anyway, back to Troy's statements about borubon knowledge in Australia....
It is sadly lacking in the average Australian bourbon drinker. Most know brands like Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Early Times. A few will recognise brands like Bulleit and Woodford Reserve. These same few might have had exposure to Bookers or Bakers. Even fewer know that they can get Evan Williams or Elijah Craig on our shores (if they've heard of them at all)
Ask these same people if they've heard of Heaven Hill or Buffalo Trace and you will get a very blank stare. Mention brands like Stagg, Sazerac, Van Winkle or Buffalo Trace and the stares get even more empty.
Unfortunately, the average Aussie bourbon drinker still seems to think that bourbon starts and finishes with Jim Beam White and cola pre-mix cans....

05-14-2006, 16:47
In every country I know about where bourbon has been growing in popularity, it is exactly as Troy describes in Australia. The older generation drinks scotch (Australia is the only country outside the U.S. and Ireland itself that drinks much Irish) and the younger generation, not wanting to drink what their parents drank, drinks bourbon. I'm sure they drink other things too, such as vodka, but it seems to take a whiskey-drinking culture for bourbon to become established. I don't know of any country where a lot of bourbon is sold that scotch didn't get to first.

I'll be very curious to see if this repeats itself in India, where scotch consumption has been increasing with the country's new propserity (along with locally made scotch-like whiskey, as in Japan). It will be interesting to see if the younger generation there starts to reject scotch in favor of bourbon.

In the U.S., of course, something like the opposite happened a generation ago. For people of my generation, bourbon was what our parents drank. We rejected it and bourbon consumption dropped by about half. For today's 20-somethings, bourbon is at least acceptable because their parents didn't drink it and they don't have any idea what their grandparents drank.

These are broad generalizations, but that's what trends are.

05-14-2006, 17:59
Some anecdotal Canadian data may be of interest. When I grew up in the late 50's and 60's (in a sub-set of the middle class in Montreal), Canadian whisky was the norm for those who drank. (One must recall that in that time, many people did not drink spirits or anything alcoholic and fewer women than men did). Beer was (and is) consumed by all social classes but was not a staple drink except amongst less well off and some middle classes. Scotch whisky had the cachet. If you were better off, that is what you drank. And also, gin. Rum was a regional drink in Canada enjoying popularity in the Maritime Provinces and British Columbia, both influenced by a British seafaring tradition (commercial, naval or both).

I think this pattern was true in French Quebec too, i.e., Canadian whisky was the norm for spirits consumption and the better off drank Scotch, gin, and some French brandy. Quebec was a niche market for genever gin (perhaps coming back into fashion as I see from a cocktail recipe in today's NYT). As recently as 15 years ago one could find 6 or 7 kinds of genever gin in Quebec (the original heavy Hollands gin style, most was imported but some was made locally). Now there is only one genever left, a licensed version of the estimable Dutch de Kuyper. It is sold in plastic bottles in Quebec and I fear genever may not enjoy many more years in that market although I hope I am wrong. This was the "gros gin" - big gin - of the Quebec countryside and an inheritance of old seafaring days when it was brought as ballast in ships to be exchanged for stone or lumber; it was popular elsewhere in North America too but hung on for some reason in Quebec, one of those unusual survivals one runs into, like burgoo (from burghul, a British/Colonial grain gruel) in Owensboro, KY.... Unfortunately such things are often regarded as "old-fashioned" and are replaced with drinks which often aren't as good and certainly not as interesting, but "c'est la vie"!

But today Canadian whisky is less popular than it was. In Quebec it seems sales have fallen off more than in English Canada, the Quebecois want French wine, cognac, good beer and other drinks. In English Canada, Canadian whisky has dropped in popularity too mostly in favour of vodka although Canadian "rye" still enjoys a decent sale in most parts of the country, at least in the centre and out West. (The Maritimes still plump for rum). The young hip crowd and some older folk, the ones who always drank scotch certainly, have taken to malt whisky but only in part: vodka, coolers, tequila, and craft and imported beer attract this crowd too.

Oh I forgot bourbon. :) It has only a small sale in Canada. Jack Daniels is popular amongst some younger people and other sub-cultures and has been since the 1970's. True bourbon has a small sale in Toronto and probably in the other big English-speaking cities. There seems despite the proximity of the U.S. a lack of understanding here about what bourbon is. Many people who know enough about whisk(e)y to know there is such a thing will say, almost always disapprovingly, that bourbon is "sweeter" than Canadian whisky or scotch (one of my pet peeves since that alone should not settle the question of its suitability for spirituous refreshment).


05-14-2006, 20:09
Great to see I raised some interest here...

I should make note however, regarding my statement
majority of this generation has actually moved here direct from the UK and surrounds... - I should have said majority has direct links, be it they haved moved here themselves or their parents moved here...

Thankyou Cam for adding the other brands, I often forget about these as again there really isn't the marketing/brand awareness here for some of these brands.
Also, and I take nothing away from the prestigue of the 'Top Shelf', - having these bottles stuck all the way up near the ceiling and not to mention behind the counter, doesn't do much for brand and product knowledge. My personal opinion only, is that majority of these particular bottles, ie. Booker's, Baker's even Elijah Craig and Evan Williams SB(of which I had my first few pours the other night - WOW!!:yum: ) are sold purely on price and their shelf position. By this I mean most consumers only buy it because they believe that if the price is that high it must be good...

Just quickly on the EWSB...when this has the proper marketing that it deserves, I am of the opinion that sales in Oz are going to go through the roof??!!
The problem with the current distributer/retailer is they are a supermarket and not your friendly neighbourhood supermarket either. Their company policies are get the customer's money as quickly as possible while at the same time spending as little time with that customer as possible - Great if your buying a can of Baked Beans.

This is the main reason behing the lack of knowledge of certain products, distributerships have been given to companies that have forgotten they need to, for want of a better phrase...change with the times!!

Chuck it really is an honour when someone of your stature in the industry is interested in what I have to write...Cheers!

Hedmans Brorsa
05-15-2006, 00:20
But today Canadian whisky is less popular than it was.


The odd Lot 40 bottling apart, do you see any signs of the Canadian whisky industry fighting this downspiralling trend with, for instance, more emphasis on premium bottlings, which seems to be the prevailing trend in the western world?

With this I mean, not only bringing out extra-aged posh bottlings but actually changing the distilling methods themselves, to get rid of that "brown Vodka" image.

As for Bourbon : could this be a Commonwealth thing, i.e. Canada identifying itself more with the U.K.?

05-15-2006, 03:46
Well, Lot 40 is still available here. I was told some years ago by a Corby representative that it had been withdrawn but the company evidently changed its mind because it has been intermittently available since. I can't tell if these are recently bottled stocks or from the original bottling of about 6-8 years ago. Also, Barrel Select from Forty Creek seems to be selling more and more in some markets. Those two whiskeys are more full-flavored than the traditional Canadian taste. We also have the recently issued Wiser's Reserve (also marked Special Edition), an excellent 43% abv Canadian whisky from Hiram Walker that in my view is one of the best of the traditional-tasting Canadian whiskies, maybe the best. Danfield's Private Reserve and Centennial 10 year old Canadian Rye Whisky are two other recent releases which offer a richer palate than normal. They are made however in a traditional way (as far as I know) but are blended for a richer taste. It is hard to tell if these are taking off, I don't think they have made a big splash (or not yet). This may be because they are not that different from the regular Canadian taste. The industry here tends to be conservative and I don't see any evidence that a push is being made to introduce a straight-type whisky in this market. Lot 40 was the main one, and also Barrel Select which I would term a quasi-straight: it seems that is to have elements of both the traditional Canadian taste and fuller-bodied straight whisky.

I think Canadian whisky will retain its popularity, even though down in market share from what it was, for a long time. There is so much good malt whisky, and good bourbon for those who know where to look, that I can't see the big distillers here making a concerted effort to change the Canadian taste.


05-15-2006, 10:47
Re "super premium" Canadian whiskey, I recently received this press release:

Crown Royal, the celebrated Canadian whisky, brings new meaning to the phrase “extra rare” with the release of Crown Royal XR, an ultra-premium Canadian whisky crafted from the last remaining batch of whiskies from the legendary Waterloo Distillery. Crown Royal XR is the newest and rarest addition to the beloved Crown Royal family, which includes Crown Royal and the exceptional Crown Royal Special Reserve.

Crown Royal XR’s distinguished character can be traced to the Waterloo distillates at the heart of the whisky. These special whiskies were saved from the venerable Waterloo Distillery, a longtime Crown Royal distillery, before it closed long ago. Shortly after closing, a devastating fire destroyed everything at this legendary site. These rare whiskies provide a very creamy, full-bodied, remarkably smooth liquid with hints of vanilla, toffee and spice that set Crown Royal XR apart from Crown Royal and Crown Royal Special Reserve.

Starting in July, Crown Royal XR will be available in very limited supply at select retailers across the country. The 750ml bottle will retail for approximately $149.99.

05-15-2006, 11:08
I wonder where the 2000 barrels of Stitzel Weller Distillate that they own will be used. I would guess in the standard Crown but who knows? :shithappens::hot:

05-15-2006, 11:17
Thanks for this, I remember when that fire occurred. This is a rare example of a special release from a Canadian distiller. For years Seagram/Diageo has contented itself with Crown Royal, Crown Royal Special Reserve and Limited Edition, all good whiskies but not IMO that different from each other (Limited Edition seems more rye-like to a degree). Hiram Walker puts out variations on a theme such as the different age expressions of Canadian Club. There was also the CC Sherry Cask, Gooderham & Worts and Pike's Creek releases (now seemingly defunct) but these were not IMO that different in character from regular Canadian whisky. To my knowledge, neither of these two major players has released a straight whiskey in Canada in over 50 years with the possible exception of Lot 40 which unfortunately, again IMO, is not that great-tasting neat (I use it to advantage in blending though).

I know Koji toured some of our Canadian distilleries recently. Koji, did you get any insights on whether Canadian distillers (especially Hiram Walker) are planning to release any straight-type whisky? Did you get to taste any such products when doing the tours by which I mean products made in-house to flavor largely neutral spirits? If so what do they taste like?

I mentioned earlier in the thread other recent new releases, e.g., Danfield's Private Reserve. This group (3 or 4 in total) were the first new brands or extensions I had seen in some time. Again except to a degree for the Wiser's I mentioned I find them not all that different from the standard Canadian whisky type. But I recognise too, "it is what it is". It isn't fair to say that something should be turned into its opposite. Even with reduced market share the Canadians have done very well with Canadian whisky, so probably they don't see any real incentive to innovate. Who would they take share away from..? Scotch drinkers, maybe, but that is not a huge market here, not the single malt part of it and I doubt they would take away much share from the blends. They won't take away share from the vodka drinkers, or bourbon drinkers (not enough of them). Also, all the big Canadian distilleries are internationally owned now. The impetus to create or revive a truly local product does not I think arise in the same way as when a factory is locally owned. E.g. it took Forty Creek, which is locally owned, to do something new in Canadian whisky by releasing Barrel Select and 3 Grain.


05-15-2006, 12:13
Dang it, Chuck!

The description of the Crown Royal XR had my mouth watering. It reminded me of the few drinks of CR I had as a poor Airman Second Class back in the early 60's, when I presume it was a much different product than today.

However, upon seeing the price my mouth dried quickly.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

05-15-2006, 13:06
Crown Royal was indeed very good back then. It used to have whiskies as old as 30 years in it. The brand was created in 1939 so in the 60's it would have incorporated whiskies distilled during the Second World War. Crown Royal is still pretty good though. You can improve it, in my view, by adding dashes of aged whiskeys such as, say Hirsch 16 and other aged whiskeys many of us have (ORVW 13 year old, or Kentucky XO). You won't get it exactly like it was then but it may end up very good and maybe better. I do this in the glass. E.g. if I had some CR now I might pour 3 ounces and add a dash of ORVW 13 year old and maybe some older bourbon of some kind (EC 18 maybe). I might add another aged Canadian whisky too. You can make minor adjustments that might produce the kind of blend the master blenders at Seagram used to produce.

Sam Bronfman of Seagram said, "Distilling is a science, blending an art". Never were truer words spoken.