With its sale quadrupling the previous record held for a first bottle from a new entrant at auction, Nc’nean Distillery’s success mirrors a wider global interest in the sector.
Could whisky be the new Marmite? Just maybe. As drinks go it’s one that massively divides opinion with everyone seemingly either loving or hating it. While some call it ‘the water of life’ owing to its claimed medicinal powers, the mention of a ‘wee dram’ to others is often enough to turn them green.
But whatever your opinion on the drink often lauded as Scotland’s finest export, one thing’s for sure, it remains big business, often writing its own headlines as people go to great lengths to preserve its legacy.
Consider the stance taken by Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who pledged to fight US tariffs against ‘a jewel in our national crown’ in a piece penned for the Telegraph. This followed criticism from the Scotch Whisky Association’s CEO, Karen Bets, who suggested the government had been ‘inexplicably slow’ following the US imposing tariffs on billions of pounds of EU goods including wine, spirits and liqueurs.
At the same time, the government announced that whisky and spirit lovers around the world will soon be able to enjoy a glass knowing that they are doing their bit to help cut carbon emissions following a £10m fund designed to help UK distilleries go green. By switching to low carbon fuels such as hydrogen, it is hoped that the funding will help to prevent pollution equivalent to emissions from around 100,000 cars, or half a million tonnes of CO2, from entering the atmosphere. With the UK distilleries industry growing by 20% in just the last year, their is clearly a growing appetite for the spirit.
Further evidence of that reached us when it was announced that Highland distillery Nc’nean had broken a world record after the sale of bottle number one of its inaugural whisky, Ainnir, quadrupled the previous record and sold for £41,004 at auction.
Only 1,320 bottles of the organic ‘unseated, smooth and elegant’ whisky were released and these sold out within 36 hours.
But Nc’nean stands out for other reasons too. Its distillery already runs on renewable energy and its first releases are certified organic, with even the botanicals being foraged, as Felipe Schrieberg reports for Forbes.