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How can Scotch keep the party going? 

Scotch is seemingly going from strength to strength in the UK market, but it needs to ensure it keeps chasing the right consumers, writes Dominic Burke.

Scotch-Whiskey-930x524The Scotch Whisky Association recently released HM Revenue & Customs data showing a ‘modest’ 2% increase in UK Scotch Whisky sales, with 84.9 million bottles were available for purchase in the UK in 2015, up from 83.3 million the previous year.

Although a small increase, this is still welcome news for the market, presenting an opportunity for further growth that manufacturers and marketers will want to seize with both hands.

So what’s causing the uplift? The quick answer seems to be that the target market is growing and diversifying.

Once the territory of tradition and an association with older males, the Scotch market (and the Whisky market in general) is now beginning to attract a much more diverse audience.

Younger millennial drinkers are discovering Scotch thanks to their interest in vintage and traditional products and a number of blogs have popped up over recent years from ‘women who drink whisky’, indicating that the drink’s gender stereotypes are also disappearing.

Another factor is the increasing number of channels and customer touchpoints through which Scotch brands can now target and interact with consumers.

Sectors such as travel retail, which is also popular with millennials, are ideal for brands seeking out new audiences, as sales are driven more by experience and packaging design than price.

These extra chances for brands to attract, impress and talk to consumers have all made their mark on the success of the category.

The lesson here is for Scotch brands, and all drinks brands, to make brand design and strategy an integral part of their overall growth plan.

By widening their target base, to investing in innovative pack design and experiential activity, they can ride the wave of success that is beginning to wash over their market and seize the chance to enjoy further growth and better results.

Dominic Burke is the managing director of Webb deVlam

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