• Diageo and other alcohol giants think the future is bright for the whisky market
  • Investors who want to profit from the rising demand can also invest directly in the spirit

It’s been called Disneyland for whisky lovers. At the end of Princes Street, Edinburgh’s central thoroughfare, is the new home of Johnnie Walker, the world’s most famous brand of Scotch whisky. Inside an eight-storey building – formerly home to a House of Fraser department store – visitors are taken on a “full-sensory adventure” through the history of the 200-year-old company now owned by drinks giant Diageo (DGE).

Complete with a cocktail bar and cask cellar, and opening as part of Diageo’s £185m investment in “Scotch tourism”, the attraction is a towering sign that the FTSE 100 company thinks there is a highly profitable opportunity in whisky.

“Around the world, there is a higher degree of interest in the more premium [whiskies],” says Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo’s chief marketing officer. “We believe that the future is bright for Scotch.”

Diageo, where net sales of Scotch grew 8 per cent in the year to June, is not alone: from Scotland to Japan, a number of alcohol businesses worldwide are betting big on whisky. Even individual investors are now buying bottles and casks in the hope that growing demand for the spirit will produce giddy returns. 

For retail investors keen to add a wee dram to their portfolio, the market is overflowing with…

Read more…