10 July 2007

Whiskey Makes the World go 'Round

Andrew Leonard, who maintains the excellent How the World Works blog at Salon, writes today on the global whisky market:

Today, Indian consumes more whisky than any other country, and United Breweries is owned by an Indian tycoon, Vijay Mallya. In May, Mallya flipped the reverse-imperialism switch, and purchased one of Scotland's largest breweries, Whyte & MacKay.

Here's the best part. Scotland may be the largest exporter of whisky in the world and India the largest consumer, but the flow of Scotch whisky to India is constrained by huge (550 percent!) tariffs in India, and the flow of Indian whisky to the European Union is forbidden because the E.U.'s definition of "whisky" does not include liquor made from molasses.

So both sides are accusing each other of being protectionist.


How the World Works would never be able to tell, by tasting, whether a whisky was made from molasses or barley. But we like what Neelakanta R. Jagdale, a managing director at Amrut Distilleries Ltd of Bangalore, India, said when questioned about the controversy.

Cross-culture insemination is the fundamental theme of globalization. This means whisky as produced in different ways in different countries should be freely competing against each other.

Cross-culture insemination! You can't stop it. You can't even hope to contain it.

Quite. And while Piedmont Review of Food has never had Indian whisky (though anyone with a spare flask can feel free to send it my way), I don't think I'd have much difficulty distinguishing it from Scotch, which to my barbarian American palette tastes most like moss. In a good way, but still - for me, the most superior whiskey is your sweet, sour, deliciously-like-gasoline corn mash.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I just came across your blog and have found it such a interesting read. I am a big fan of whiskey and have started brewing it myself, i have designed my own whiskey labels for the bottles, they look so good.