MoM discontinues glass closure whiskies

27th July, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

Master of Malt is to discontinue its line of single malt whiskies featuring glass closures as sales suggest consumers “aren’t ready to move away from cork”.

Glass-closures

Master of Malt said its glass closure single malt whiskies sold significantly less than cork closure bottlings

The online retailer launched the closures in April 2015, featuring them on every other single cask bottling it released over the past year. A total of 29 single cask whiskies were released within the time period.

The glass closures were designed to make cork taint (particularly TCA) a “thing of the past” in single malt whisky. They were also described as more “attractive and functional” than screw tops and featured “specially engineered rubberised seal” to ensure bottles are airtight.

However, Master of Malt said that results from an “intentionally created test-environment” showed sales of its single malt whiskies with glass closures were significantly lower than the same whiskies with cork stoppers.

The retailer released three glass closure whiskies along with “ostensibly identical” variants with a traditional cork closures.

In the case of Aberlour 23 Year Old, glass closure bottles made up just 9% of the expression’s total sales, with cork closure bottles accounted for 91% of sales. For Paul John 6 Year Old and English Whisky 7 Year Old, glass closures accounted for just 13% and 37% of total sales respectively.

“If I had to hazard a guess as to the reasons for this, it’d be that the traditional ‘squeak and pop’ of a cork is an incredibly important part of the experience for most people,” said Ben Ellefsen, sales and NPD director at Master of Malt.

“This is actually amplified hugely in spirits packaging as opposed to wine on the basis that the experience of popping the cork happens once with a bottle of wine, and dozens of times with each bottle of spirits.”

Master of Malt will discontinue the use of glass closures for its single cask whiskies, but plans to maintain a listing of individual stoppers so that people can purchase them separately.

For more insight on spirits closures, see a dedicated feature on the subject in the August 2016 issue of The Spirits Business magazine, out soon.

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