As The Year Rounds Into Shape, Three Trends That Are Shaping Up: Trend #3

American Single Malts

Like the frontier spirit co-opted by many American whiskey brands, the American whiskey drinker is restless – especially the more experienced hands. It often goes like this. A first walk with Johnnie leads to a Speyside stroll with single malts, then some time on the Bourbon Trail before taking a ramble with rye.

Which begs the question, where will the American whiskey road turn next — and will it lead to a waystation, or a place that is frequented long after the initial buzz?

We are placing our bets on American Single Malts (ASMs). No doubt, newer-breed flavored whiskies are coming on strong, perhaps best evidenced by Pernod’s recent majority purchase of Skrewball.

That said, ASMs have something that flavored whiskies lack: fundamental storytelling power, genuinely differentiated products and a built-in audience of discovery-minded early adopters who may love evangelizing as much as they do imbibing. The media they follow are starting to pay more attention, stoking the ASM fire. And not least, a federally issued legal category designation on tap.

Westland does a particularly good job of talking ingredients and process, while also building a sticky story that is, guess what, genuinely frontier based. And while made far from the range, we love how Dogfish Head parlayed its craft brewing expertise into something complex yet somehow familiar on the palate.

Watch this space!