American Single Malts: How the west is being won


As attractive as unlimited innova- tion sounds to a young, free category, there needs to be a balance enforced between no rules at all and over restric- tion in order to create an innovative category with international quality assurance.

Dillon says: “The American single malt category does need more de ni- tion in order to compete at the same level of quality and consumer percep- tion on the international stage as com- petitors such as scotch whisky and Irish whiskey.

“You have to remember that, as one of the younger strands within wider whisk(e)y, it will take time to get to a place where American single malt is the darling of the masses instead of the treasure of American whiskey geeks and alpha consumers.

“I sincerely hope [American single malts] does prompt more nations to create single malt expressions and to experiment with new ways of doing things in order to expand their nation’s whisky o ering.

“But, like everything, they must do so according to global traditions and seek the highest quality output possi- ble in order to maintain the reputation of their product, their brand and what might become their national spirit.”

It is an exciting and crucial time for American single malts. Once the ASMWC gets its Standard of Identity approved, then and only then can it really start to be recognised as a com- petitive category.

But if single malt scotch, among others, fails to make room for innova- tion, the new laws sketched out by the ASMWC could take it to a new level within the global whisk(e)y industry. Then cowboy boots and single malts might be more linked.