The New Normal – Whisky Pricing

Yes, I am piling on to complain about rising prices. I have a very small budget but a very large thirst – which makes for a very bad combination.

Over the past several years China has been extremely efficient in implementing an aggressive tactic in dealing with its territorial disputes with other countries. A bit of background: China has asserted its sovereignty (rightly or wrongly) over several islands to the dismay of neighboring countries that also claim ownership, such as Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. In asserting its sovereignty, China slowly begins to take incremental action to create a new normal. Taken individually, the actions, although provocative, do not appear overly aggressive or worthy of initiating armed conflict. But slowly and surely the actions erode the status quo and create a new normal. For example, China intermittently starts to navigate its boats into the waters of disputed territories. Then slowly these instances become more frequent. After awhile it becomes normal for Chinese boats to be entering into disputed waters. The same tactic is found with aircraft – an occasional fly through the air space of a disputed island turns into a regular airplane route over said disputed island.

So what does all of this international relations gibberish have to do with whisky? Well to me it feels like the whisky companies over the past few years have managed to create a new normal with the pricing of whiskies – or at least the regular price increases. This is not the case for all whisky companies (there are still some bargains to be found), but to me it sure feels like a whole lot of them. Prices have slowly and steadily crept up on us whisky drinkers. My $60-75 is not as significant as it used to be. Now it takes closer to $100+ for the same amount of whisky purchasing power. Although we don’t like the price increases, we are getting used to it. Besides, it’s normal now.

*Apparently Diagio was a little less tactful with their most recent pricing increase on Talisker 18 as the K&L Spirits Journal reports. They decided to forgo taking incremental steps and blitzkrieg’d directly to almost double the price.*

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