Whisky Advocate

How has this recession affected your relationship with whisky?

February 5th, 2009

Are you still buying whisky? Are you still buying “the good stuff” but buying fewer bottles? Maybe you looking for lower-priced bottles (i.e. better values). Or maybe you’re still spending the same amount on whisky but cutting back somewhere else in your budget.

Please share your strategy in these challenging times.

23 Responses to “How has this recession affected your relationship with whisky?”

  1. Don Mowat says:

    I look at what’s marked down on the shelves, first. For example, I recently bought a Macallan 12 yr old (750ml) for $5.00 off and the package also contained a 50ml bottle of Macallan 18 yr old. Needless to say, If I hadn’t found this bargain, I’d have probably bought something at full price. But, reduced prices for good product do draw attention and money first before others are considered.

  2. Colin says:

    In an odd way, the recession has been good to my whisky habits. I lost my job a few months back, and moved from Canada to the USA for a new job. As alcohol taxes are much lower here, I buy more expensive whisky than I did before.

    It’s nice to have that silver lining though this economic storm :-)

  3. Brian says:

    Economists are pretty clear – if you are not directly impacted by a downturn, you really shouldn’t alter your spending habits. Granted that assumes you aren’t making bad decisions like buying consumables on credit. But if you’ve kept your nose clean and you aren’t over-extended, you really should keep buying and saving at the same level as before.

    So, having said that, the recession didn’t alter my buying habits… it was the price spikes that preceded it. Less Scotch, more Bourbon and Canadian; and a heavier reliance on good spirits in classically dogged classes, like gin and rum.

  4. Greg Gilbert says:

    The benefit of having a nice sized bunker is that during these types of economic times, I have plenty of good stuff to enjoy. I’ve cut way back on my purchases and have only bought a couple of things over the last number of months.

  5. sam k says:

    I’ve always been a pretty budget-conscious whiskey buyer, especially with the limited selection we have here in the Keystone State, but whenever I’m fortunate enough to travel elsewhere, I look for reasonably priced (always under $50) bottles I can’t get at home.

    I’m an American whiskey enthusiast, so there’s more available within my budget nearly anywhere versus scotch, and even $40 or less will buy me an exceptional bottle of booze, though my favorite is Wild Turkey Rare Breed at about $30, even in PA. Tough to beat a barrel proof whiskey at that price.

    And again, I ordered a case of Rittenhouse BIB rye through the PLCB for $150 a case. A fella can drink for a long time on that investment!

  6. Bryan C says:

    I have found myself buying bottles in the $30 range now whereas I was in the $65+ range 6 months ago. It makes me feel a little more responsible with my hobby as I watching the financial chaos in the world unfold. Although one thing I am strongly considering is ordering some bottles from the UK that I cannot get in the US. Normally the shipping and exchange rate make that a bad idea but with the USD/GBP rate at about 1.5 (lowest since the last downturn in 2002) these sites are all of a sudden getting to be reasonable and I almost feel like I am crazy to not stock up while the $ prices are cheaper. I am seeing some Ardbeg Ren in my future!!

  7. Leither says:

    As sam says, I too have always been a budget-conscious buyer, and the majority of my purchases are discounted lines. Furthermore, I stocked up on WT Rare Breed at $30 a bottle whilst over in the US last year, a great buy.

    Across in the UK we are probably a wee bit behind in terms of how deep the recession is, but it has already affected my purchases and plans. I must state tho that my new strategy is in part due to the stock I have built up in the last few years, to tide me thro any rainy days.

    Anyway, I have set a monthly budget from January of approx £50 with the aim of buying one high quality bottle each month. Plus probably half a dozen or so specials during the course of this year. Ultimately, I hope to stick to an imposed maximum whisky budget of £1,000 over the year.

  8. John Hansell says:

    Greg, yes, a nice sized bunker certainly comes in handy these days–if you have one, that is.

  9. Rick Duff says:

    The single biggest difference in my buying is I’m purchasing more from the UK (things I can’t get here) due to the dollar’s rise vs UK pound. The dollar is up so much from my trips over there in 2006 & 2007 that the same bottles are now 30% less. I haven’t picked up a lot.. but it’s been nice to pick up some rare bottles from my favourite distilleries.

  10. Joe M says:

    Not so much…and like others have reflected in their posts, I have always been budget conscious and am enjoying the better prices.

    I’ve never been a buyer of $150+ bottles, so any changes in my spending would not impact that category.

  11. Sam S. says:

    I’m very thankful for generous friends.
    They’ve stocked my bunker during the recent holidays.

    Also, my brother picked up the steal of the year on a trip last month–2 bottles of HP 25 for $250, so basically half price.
    That won’t stop me from buying something more for day to day if the price is right since my closed bottles should theoretically last for some time.

  12. Rich says:

    due to a somewhat accidental yet lucrative career in software development, i have been privileged enough to be able to adopt the motto “life is too short to drink ordinary whisk(e)y.” thus far into the recession, this has remained unchanged. as someone mentioned earlier, the main change for me has been frequent virtual excursions across the pond to specialty whisky vendors in the U.K..

    the pound to dollar conversion has fallen precipitously from 2.02 last spring to 1.36 just a few weeks ago, making bottles sitting above my threshold fall into range. if you’re lucky enough to also catch a sale, you can find some amazing bargains; i recently scored a Glendronach 33 for $185.

    finally, i’m looking forward to purchasing a few bottles of Supernova from US vendors, to do my share for US businesses and economy as well. :)

  13. John Hansell says:

    Rich, you are very fortunate in these difficult times. I just noticed on the news today that 600.000 Americans lost their job in January alone. That’s a good gesture to get your Supernova here in the States. We need to “Supernova” our ecomomy!

  14. butephoto says:

    Similar to others who have posted I have never been a buyer of expensive whiskies and will continue to buy below my self-set price limit. Here in Scotland we are spoilt for choice but also trying alternative drinks such as Canadian, single grain, bourbons etc can help because good ones can be similar in price, or sometimes less, than malts.

  15. Yang Wang says:

    I am buying more whisky, because the pound has depreciated a lot against yuan. In china there are more and more people drinking whisky and whiskylive is coming to shanghai for the first time.

    John, I am interested in buying a Macallan Select Reserve-52 year-old-1946. would you be able to tell me the current market value for this whisky please?

  16. John Hansell says:

    Yang, I can’t help you with the current market value of your Macallan 1946. (Maybe someone else out there might know where one is for sale and how much.) I do love that whisky though, and am fortunate enough to have a bottle which I am looking forward to opening soon.

  17. Bryan C says:

    Wow John… talk about making us all jealous!! Need my address to send a sample?? haha

  18. John Hansell says:

    Many years ago I got it in exchange for an ad. They didn’t have any money in their budget for advertising, but they just happened to have an extra bottle of 1946. :)

  19. Bryan C says:

    Sounds like a fair deal to me. You going to post comments on it when you finally open it? I can’t believe you have managed to keep it closed for so long!

  20. I am probably being a tad more selective as compared to the last couple years. I am drinking more of what I have and keeping an eye out for special expressions that I tried or that were recommended to me. My latest blog posting was about the Bruichladdich 3D3 that I just got this weekend, and which I really enjoyed. It didn’t break the bank, either.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Costco and other retailers sometimes have great prices: I saw Ardbeg 10 for $46 at Costco in Redwood City, CA as of last Saturday. However, Costco is also selling Oban 14 for $56, same as Beltramo’s. Costco has some great prices, and some are just at parity with regular liquor stores. My message is: Shop around…and know your prices!

  21. JC Skinner says:

    We’re suffering this recession harder than most in Ireland. By contrast one of the few industries doing well here is whiskey.
    But it doesn’t particularly aid the consumer that Jameson’s sales are at record highs, if the price locally doesn’t fall when wages and employment does.
    Personally, I’m lucky to have built up an ample selection already which probably does not require adding to. I could likely drink at current rates for quite a long recession without ever buying another bottle.
    Having said that, I haven’t cut out whiskey purchases entirely. What I am now doing is cutting out the ‘regular’ purchases and restricting myself to buying only those that are limited in availability and of wider appeal than mere enjoyment.
    It might seem counter-intuitive to be purchasing Midleton single cask bottles, single cask sherried Connemaras or bottles from Barack Obama’s inauguration, which cost me multiples of what a nice Redbreast or Green Spot would.
    But I have enough whiskey to be drinking in the house already, and the collectible purchases I have made recently might well turn a profit for me were I to sell them on at some point in the future, whereas another bottle of Jameson or Bushmills will not.
    But I would have bought them anyway, recession or not, so the savings have come from cutting out the more regular standard OBs.

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