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How will climate change affect your whisky?


There has been a lot of talk on climate change and whisky recently. Did you know that in the next 50-100 years could threaten to change the flavour profile of Scottish whisky? Researchers from University College London found that global warming and drought could drastically impact the three main ingredients of whisky, water, barley and yeast. Moreover, since all processes of whisky production have been developed based on the temperate maritime climate of the designated areas of distilleries. Potentially warmer air and water temperatures could lead to challenges in conserving the consistency and quality of traditional distilleries. It was even stated by the Independent that temperature change could halt whisky production in Scotland by 2080.

It’s not all doom and gloom… The increased temperatures across the UK does mean that the barley crops will remain steady, and yields may actually rise. SEPA reports that Scotland has already begun to see its growing season start earlier and last 30 days longer than in previous years. The whisky industry as a whole has come together to reduce its carbon footprint in a number of ways, such as finding more efficient methods of dealing with waste, reducing water usage, and engaging in a variety of laudable water and ecosystem conservation projects.

The Scottish Whisky Association has committed to achieve NetZero emissions by 2040 and is exploring alternative options for generating heat for distillation. This will reduce their carbon footprint by 40%, adapting existing and new technologies such as anaerobic digestion, biomass, hydrogen, and high temperature heat pumps. Since 2010, the SWA has released an Environmental Strategy roughly every two years, which details the commitments made by its members, who represent 95% of the distilleries in Scotland. There is nothing else like it for any other sort of Scottish industry.

The results have been encouraging. In 2015, emissions per unit of energy had fallen 13% since 2008, with 1% overall reduction in total emissions despite increased production levels. Fossil fuel use has fallen, with 17% of total energy coming from non-fossil fuel sources, an increase of 3% from 2008 and a positive step towards the 20% target by 2020. Water use has also decreased by 14% compared to 2008 levels. Conservation Projects The industry is also involved with a number of interesting conservation projects. Glenmorangie has committed to help regenerate oyster and mussel beds in the Dornoch Firth. Knockdhu has built a wildlife-friendly wetlands area to manage waste by using plants that can process the materials present in the waste.

Biologists survey the new Dornoch Firth oysters.

Meanwhile, Diageo provides financial support to the Spey Catchment Initiative, a project for the River Spey that enhances the river’s resilience against the effects of climate change and reduces pollution – for example by finding alternative grazing areas for livestock that were previously polluting the river.

The industry is inarguably making concerted efforts to combat the effects of climate change while ensuring the production of Scotland’s golden liquid continues for many years to come. But, what does that mean for your whisky investments?

A study from market research firm Fact MR states that the global whisky market will increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 6% between 2021 and 2031. Thus, in addition to the increase of whisky demand alongside the higher production costs, it is very likely that quality whisky will be worth a lot more than it is now. More relevantly, this means a whisky cask investment at the moment when guided by professional specialists will continue to yield a great return with well-suited and effective exit strategies.

Contact our professional team to learn more about our casks at

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