Retailer reports 232% increase in Japanese whisky sales

25th August, 2017 by Melita Kiely

The UK is demonstrating an unquenchable thirst for Japanese whisky, resulting in a 232% surge in sales for fine wine and spirits merchant BI since the start of 2017.

Karuizawa-Japanese-whisky

Japanese whisky sales, including bottles of Karuizawa, have risen 232% for BI so far this year

Prices of Japanese brands such as Yamazaki and Karuizawa have risen by as much as 30%. For example, Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 sold for around £100 when it was first released, but now retails for more than £3,000.

The Karuizawa Thousand Arrows Set, comprising three different whiskies, recently sold for more than £28,000.

Overseas in Asia, demand for Scotch whisky is also on the rise, with BI’s sales of Macallan up 97% and Glenfarclas up 84% in the last year.

Overall, the average price for a bottle of whisky sold by BI has increased 65% in the last 18 months to almost £450 per bottle.

BI’s “rare” spirits sales have grew 79% in the first half of 2017, making it the firm’s fastest growing category.

Total revenue for the firm, including wines, Champagnes and spirits, hit £50m (US$64m) during the first half of this year.

Gary Boom, BI’s managing director, said: “The UK has been the global centre of the drinks trade for years, so there’s always a desire for buyers and consumers to look for new tastes, creating new fashions and commercial opportunities.

“Japanese whisky is certainly the latest discovery for whisky connoisseurs and the growing popularity is leading to increasing prices for the rarest varieties.

“That said, Scotch is still the king of whiskies when it comes to heritage and prestige, giving it enormous global appeal in markets that seek out the finest in luxury goods.”

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