Whisky's reputation as the liquor of choice for refined drinkers may have just taken a hit. Last week, beverage-maker Scottish Spirits (which is actually based in Panama) introduced a blended whisky packaged in a 12 oz. can. The company is marketing the innovation as perfect for outdoor occasions and is testing out the new containers in small markets in the Caribbean and Africa, with hopes of expanding in the future. But some angry whisky aficionados are arguing that their beloved spirit has been robbed of its cachet. Will whisky in a can catch on?
Why sell whisky in cans?
To encourage drinkers to sip it in the great outdoors from an environmentally friendly container, says a Scottish Spirits spokesman, as quoted by The Daily Mail: The can is "lightweight and portable and entirely recyclable." And even though 12 ounces of whisky (the equivalent of eight shots) may seem like a lot, it's apparently the "perfect size to be shared between three people who can mix it with other things like cola."
Who is upset about this?
The Scotch Whisky Association has said it will "try to ban the cans for breaching international labelling rules," says The Daily Mail, claiming that customers might be confused as to whether the "dram in a can" is real whisky. Others are just upset that the beverage will besmirch Scotland's tradition. "I can't see it taking off here because a can would cheapen a product that Scots are rightly proud of," says expert Jim Murray, as quoted by The Scotsman. "A tin of whisky could never make your heart skip a beat like a fine Scotch."
Have whisky-makers tried gimmicky marketing before?
Yes. According to The Scotsman, recent attempts to put a "modern twist on a drink which some consider staid and traditional" include a bright pink whiskey blend and Asian whiskies which feature "dead snakes and lizards preserved in the bottle." Perhaps the most unusual variety: An American blend distilled "from the sugar-rich urine of elderly diabetics." Scottish Spirits itself is no stranger to the novelty market, says Eater. It already produces an alcohol-free whisky aimed at Muslim customers.