The Whisky Exchange team dusted off its crystal ball at its Covent Garden shop last night to make some drinks trade trend predictions for the coming year.
The first, from head buyer Dawn Davies MW, was about the rise of tonic water, and not necessarily mixed with gin either. Davies listed various alternatives that she's encountered, from sherry, madeira or port, to peated whisky or even rum.
Whisky Exchange co-founder Sukhinder Singh described a trend he called 'Age ain't nothing but a number.' This wasn't necessarily about no-age-statement whiskies, but more about a rise in younger scotch whisky releases, such as the recently-launched Lagavulin 8yo.
'Who needs Europe if we can make it here' was the question posed by another trend discussed by Davies. In light of post-referendum exchange rates, she pointed out the advantage that local products currently have, provided they don't raise their prices in line with their European counterparts. Davies singled out English eaux-de-vie, pastis, various whiskies and a brandy.
According to Singh, the whisky category's next Japan is likely to be Taiwan. Specifically, Kavalan is the distillery to watch, as it rapidly increases production and experiments with a number of barrel types. In addition, Taiwan's climate means its whiskies reach maturity faster, even if their angel's share is quite significant.
Other trends identified by the team included Iceland (with a tip to keep an eye on Icelandic Mountain Vodka, on its way to the UK), as well as an overall move away from sugar, as evidenced by the rise in zero-dosage sparkling wines from outside Champagne.
And finally, Davies' Christmas product of the year? The exceptionally on-trend Mr Black coffee liqueur, made with cold press coffee.