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Everybody Panic, There's a Global Scotch Shortage

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Demand for single-malt is outpacing supply

Moshe Reuveni/Flickr

Single-malt Scotch drinkers, beware: Your precious beverage of choice is currently facing a global shortage. The demand for fine Scotch is now outpacing the available supply, resulting in surging prices — and it seems things will only get worse before they get better.

According to CNN Money, the current shortage could last another 10 to 15 years. Because Scotch takes several years to produce, distillers have to decide how much to make based on how much they predict they'll sell in the future.

No one was able to predict the current surge in Scotch popularity; in fact, "In the late 1980s, many distilleries were going out of business, and just a decade ago, Scotch exports were stagnating." But now, millennials are eschewing vodka in favor of whiskey and China's booming economy is developing a taste for pricey Scotch; according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of single-malts have risen nearly 300 percent between 2002 and 2015.

Many distilleries are doing their best to ramp up production so they can cash in on the Scotch boom; CNN notes that "In recent years, brands including Macallan, Highland Park and Oban have started rushing out bottles whose labels don't mention the whisky's age." In the meantime, expect to pay a pretty penny for properly old single-malts: Atlas Obscura notes that "a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 that went for $47 in 2007 cost a whopping $982 in 2014," and analysts say prices will only continue to rise.

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