By Rob Allanson

Welcome to Whisky Magazine

Well here we go, hurtling into a new year. Looking ahead makes me wonder what we are going to find in our glasses this year, how much it’s going to cost and how we are going to hear about it. I have asked some of our writers around the globe to gaze into their crystal balls to see how they think things will go this year.

It makes for interesting reading that’s for sure, with more countries looking to financial assistance, are we on the brink of more financial woe? One thing I remember hearing a while ago was that even if the drinks industry is hit hard at the beginning of a recession, it recovers faster than almost any other. Let’s face it, last year we saw some seriously expensive bottlings released. Is this really an industry under threat? Well in my eyes you have to temper this with the human cost. Let’s not forget those who have lost jobs due to companies preparing themselves for the downturn. This at a time when most companies globally are upping their production in a bid to meet the increased world demand. I have a feeling we are not going to see another whisky lake, or loch, any time soon. I think we are going to see the reverse, companies overstretching their stocks as drinkers in India, China and South America start searching for better malts and blends.

It would be interesting to hear how you think the whisky world is going to change this year. I think one thing we are going to see more of, particularly as consumers, is more companies using the internet, the blogosphere and social media as a way of interacting with us and informing us.

I expect to see more brand websites packed with information and tasting notes, and even the techy stuff we anoracks search for. The old established blogs and original opinion informers will still hold sway but I dont think we have reached the zenith of whisky blogs and sites yet.

One thing of note for those in need of good whisky education in the US is that it looks like the whiskey professors are back on the road, albeit not together. I ran into David Mayes in Los Angeles holding court at Whisky Live. It’s great to see him back with Bernie, now we need Steve Cole in the frame and the three amigos will be complete. The power and importance of this ambassadorial education style cannot and should not be underestimated by any whisky company worth its salt.

The whisky scene in Glasgow has changed this year with the passing of the Pot Still pub’s Ken Storrie. He will be sorely missed by all and the industry has lost one of its leading lights. Over the years Ken turned the Pot Still into a place for malt lovers to gather, discuss and try new things. The pub was often the scene of some excellent post Whisky Live frivolities with distillers, ambassadors and drinkers mingling and chatting.

Not only was he instrumental in taking the fight against introducing plastic glasses in Glasgow back to county hall, and winning, he created such a whisky destination that he won numerous bar awards from this magazine. Our only hope is that the current landlords see the sense of investing and nurturing one of Glasgow’s best loved watering holes, and not turn it into a themed, tartan-fringed abomination. The reputation of this pub precedes it and is a stake. Tread carefully.