More women go for whisky
THE number of women who appreciate the finer things in life, such as whisky, is increasing in South Africa - and the same applies to the black population in general.
These are the views of two whisky experts and the organisers of the annual FNB Whisky Live Festival, Sian Neubert and Karen Chaloner, in an interview with Sowetan earlier this week.
The biggest whisky festival in the world is aimed at educating especially the emerging market and attracts the top brands to its programme.
"The number of people who come to the festival keeps on inrceasing every year with 2010 attendance figures standing at 11500 for Johannesburg, and 7000 for Cape Town," Neubert says.
"The breakdown of Cape Town attendees is 45% white people and 65% for the rest of the population.
"What we have seen emerge over the years for both the Cape Town and Johannnesburg legs of the festival, is that women and black people in general, are now consuming whiskies in increasing numbers.
"For example, over the past eight years of the FNB Whisky Live Festival's existence we have seen how women initially used to attend the festival with either their boyfriends and husbands. Now they attend increasingly on their own, as groups of women. This shows that they are now becoming more and more confident in terms of taste for whisky and they are financially independent," Neubert says.
South Africa ranks fifth in terms of whisky consumption in the world. The country is also in the Top 10 with regards to exports of Scotch whisky in particular.
And quite significantly, of those who attended the festival last year, 30% of them were first-timers, showing a significant increase in whisky interest in the emerging market segment.
In the first six months of 2011, Scotch whisky exports grew strongly, defying global economic uncertainty.
Global shipments of Scotch Whisky between January and June 2011 reached £1.8- billion (R22.7-billion). This was up 22% on the £1.47-billion (R18.5-billion) achieved in the first half of 2010, according to figures released last month by the Scotch Whisky Association.
The United States remains the top export market by value for Scotch with shipments hitting £268-million, (R3.3-billion) up from £233.7-million (R2.9-billion).
France, the second most valuable market, rose by 13% to £219.5m (R2.7-billion)
SA's Scotch whisky market grew by 24% in the past six months of this year, and indications are that this trend will continue for the rest of 2011. The FNB Whisky Festival takes place at Cape Town Convention Centre from November 2 to November 4 and at the Johannesburg Convention Centre from November 9 to November 11.