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What's the Secret to Scotch's Undying Appeal?

By Matt Stewart | October 2, 2015 | Food & Drink National

Lovers of rare scotch are skewing younger as DC millenials embrace the best of the highlands.


Overall, the value of Scotch exports to the US, the world’s biggest consumer of Scotch whisky, fell by 9 percent in 2014, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. But the top end of the market, including single malts and rare offerings, expanded by 6.4 percent in the same period. What is creating this thirst for the very best of Scotland’s renowned distilleries? As the weather cools and the Scotch comes out, Capitol File decided to speak with Jon Arroyo, vice president of beverage operations and managing partner at Founding Farmers Restaurant Group, to find out.

What’s driving growth for rare cask Scotch in Washington right now?
There are a lot of whisky drinkers in DC. Millennials are smart, and they know what they want. They’re very tuned in to value and ROI, so their overall interest in rare whisky is high. There are a lot of great bars in DC, and as we’re speaking, two more are probably opening. More people are drinking more cocktails, and their taste for finer spirits continues to grow.

Talk about how the concept of experience has captured the market.
There is the classic notion of you want what you can’t have, or you want to feel like the only one in on the secret. I find that is definitely part of the experience that our customers are having with [products like] The Macallan Rare Cask. Our culture in hospitality is to give them the best product we can, and if that product itself has provenance and a story, like rare Scotch, then it’s double the intention.

What makes this year’s Macallan Rare Cask offering a standout?
It’s aged in sherry casks, and that process produces such a unique f lavor that you know when you’re drinking Macallan. I add a couple drops of water to mellow it out. It’s a good thing.

Photography by: photography by gUSaCh/gEtty IMagES (glaSS)