With restaurants and liquor retailers being shut down for months at a time due to the spread of COVID-19, it is no question that the global alcohol industry has taken an insurmountable hit in terms of production, distribution, and sales. But, despite the restricted circumstances complicating the accessibility of alcohol, the spirits industry has shown an increase in demand since March of 2020.
Although the International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) has predicted that global alcohol consumption for 2020 will decrease in the double-digits, “premium-and-above spirits are forecasted to increase their global volume market share to 13% by 2024 as consumers continue to favor quality over quantity.”
Karl J. Schoen, the founder and president of an independent bottling company specializing in single-malt scotch whisky, feels confident that his company will continue to prevail in this difficult time. He’s also relieved to know the experts’ numbers back him up.
Considerably a fairly new independent bottler, The Perfect Fifth prides itself in selecting and bottling the most unique, high-quality single malt scotch from the finest distilleries in Scotland. Some of the largest well-known whisky companies in the industry tend to sell their bottles from blended casks, while Schoen’s company exclusively bottles single-cask whisky. The difference between the two types varies not only in quality, but also in rarity. Blended casks can virtually fill an unlimited number of bottles, but single-casks can only produce a certain quantity, depending on the barrel’s size.
“We source the finest high-end whisky we can find, sample them, make sure they meet our criteria, and bottle them,” Karl states. “We only make a limited amount of bottles per cask, which makes each one sort of like a collector’s item. Once they’re all gone, you’ll likely never find a bottle like that again.”
In situations like that of a pandemic, his company is lucky to remain, for the most part, fully intact and unaffected. Schoen explains that his company works solely off resources and the supply of liquor they have at hand. Because his repertoire is based off of limited edition products and quality vs. quantity, production has managed to remain unphased by the consequences of COVID-19. His supply chains, however, tell a different story.
“Our supply chains and production lines in Scotland are very backed up due to a high volume of workers being furloughed,” Karl says. “In that case, we’ve had to be more patient. But since we are a smaller company, we’re still able to move forward with our projected plans for the rest of the year.”
The Perfect Fifth plans on releasing five more bottles by the end of 2020, including two exclusively for the holiday season. Each bottle will contain 750mL, and prices will range from $800-3,000 each. For more information, visit ThePerfectFifth.com or follow them on Instagram at @perfectfifthspirits.
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