As demand for premium single malt Scotch whisky continues to grow, one new company looks set to become a leading contender in the industry, by combining both tradition and innovation. Ross Archer, Head of Operations of the Whisky Cask Company, has been successfully commercialising businesses for the past decade and is now bringing his expertise to this new business venture, along with a team of first-class whisky practitioners that he has accumulated along the way. “All businesses come down to people,” says Archer, “and the whisky industry is full of fantastic people with passion and integrity.”
“In a world of immediacy and quick fixes, only products with integrity survive in the long term. Whisky making is a craft that takes experience, patience and lots of time.” Archer shows he is well aware that single malt Scotch whisky is a highly sought after premium product, and with this in mind, the business has a twenty-year plan to capitalise on the increased demand in the market for quality and rarity. What the Whisky Cask Company plans to do differently is to bring whisky cask purchases to a global market, no longer shrouded in exclusivity, but accessible, and most importantly, an enjoyable purchase opportunity.
When choosing to buy a cask of whisky, the buyer places their trust in someone else to nurture their physical asset over time, to make sure their new make whisky becomes a high-quality single malt scotch, as profitable — and drinkable! — as possible. The Whisky Cask Company aims to use their specialist knowledge of the finer details to guide their customers from right at the beginning of the distillation process through to the type of cask and the environment it needs to be stored in to produce the perfect finish and unique taste.
Archer expresses that the idea for the Whisky Cask Company was born out of a passion for Scotch whisky, but also with an awareness that passion alone is not what drives a business venture. “When entering into a market, a real drive for innovation is necessary to reach new levels of quality and challenge the limitations of what we can do.” It is on these foundations that the Whisky Cask Company sets out on its mission to bring the ‘water of life’ to the global market.
While visiting many of Scotland’s different distilleries, the company found that around 90% of new make Scotch whisky is currently maturing in bourbon casks. It is common practice to use second-hand casks in Scotch whisky production, to impart a distinct flavour into the whisky depending on what was stored previously in the cask. What sets the Whisky Cask Company apart is their interest in a more traditional, classic finish in their premium Scotch whisky. They instead use casks made from French oak that have previously held luxury French wines, Burgundy and Bordeaux, to produce a much higher quality product that is both traditional and distinctly unique. Supply of casks of high-end single malt Scotch whisky is limited, so they plan to fill the gap in the market for higher quality, premium Scotch whisky, alongside executing their long-term vision to build a distillery in the famous whisky-making region of Campbeltown.
The growing interest in the single malt market is due to buyers realising that with single malt, the quality speaks for itself. Blended whiskies concern themselves more with branding and ensuring their entire product has a more uniform flavour, whereas single malt is unrivalled in the way it is rare, unique and has a taste that is hard to replicate. We live in a world of bubbles and fads that come out of nowhere, but whisky sales have been steadily increasing over a long period of time. Whisky cannot be reduced to just a fad because it must be planned for, matured and aged – its production is not for immediate satisfaction. Due to the time-consuming production process, single malt Scotch whisky cannot easily be mass-produced to oversupply the market, so it will continue to be seen as a luxury product.
Archer looks towards an exciting future for the Whisky Cask Company and announcing an exclusivity agreement with a distillery later this year. “With global interest in single malt Scotch whisky continuing to grow, particularly in the Asian market, and our confidence in the superior quality of our product, we look forward to the exciting future ahead for the Whisky Cask Company.”
One thing is for certain, the Whisky Cask Company looks set to become a major stakeholder in the single malt market, rivalling established brands with its traditional yet unique premium Scotch.