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The South African market

New stats from the Scotch Whisky Association reveal that for the 1st half of 2010 Scotch whisky exports to South Africa were up 44% by value, yet down 17% by volume. This is a clear indication that South Africans are trading up, despite the economic recession. Going on my own impressions from the recent Whiskylive Festivals in Cape Town and Johannesburg there is growing interest in premium and super-premium offerings, but more importantly, consumers are becoming educated and wanting to know more about their favourite tipple. There was a huge interest in Japanese whisky, possibly just curiosity; but sadly very little was available for tasting. The festival itself was very well attended, showing record figures for both venues. The Scotch Whisky Association held a seminar in Cape Town, highlighting the labeling changes being called for over the next few months. In its ongoing efforts to maintain the image of Scotch whisky worldwide, the association is imposing stricter measures on the industry regarding the labeling and packaging of all Scotch whisky. It is believed that consumers are being confused by current labeling, and in some cases even mislead, and to this end producers have until November 2011 to change their packaging/labeling in line with the association’s guidelines. Like it or not, wouldn’t it be great if all whisk(e)y producing countries adopted some similar form of regulation?