November 26, 2020

Scotch in a can

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Oh my. Or should I say, “in the name of the wee man”? Instead of cracking open a can of beer I could be doing the same and instead of beer it’s whisky. Now this sounds like an Irish joke but in fact it’s SCOTCH whisky and it’s true and the company that makes it, Scottish Spirits Imports Inc. is part of Scottish Spirits Ltd a group of companies based in ………………… Scotland? Och no. It’s here at First Caribbean House, 3rd Floor, George Town, GRAND CAYMAN!!

The company has announced plans to sell the product in the USA and Canada in non-resealable aluminium cans containing eight shots (12 ounces) of 80 proof single grain or blended 3 years old Scotch whisky retailing at only $5 a can. Thousands of Food and wine forums, bloggers and even media giants like CNN, have covered the Scottish Spirits’ story about the canned product.

And what does it taste like? According to the company “it’s a top seller in Grand Cayman.” Hmm. I live here and on asking my ‘drinking’ friends they’ve never heard of it. I asked the landlord of a well known Irish bar along the West Bay Road if he stocked it. Yes, I know, I should have asked the landlord of a Scottish bar, but I don’t know one. His answer, “This has to be an Irish joke.” No. He had never heard of it and thought it was a “daft idea” .  As for the cost at $5 a can he wondered at what sort of quality it would be. I cannot even find the distributor here of the whisky (if there is one) so if you have that information please let me know. So, being the only whisky in a can that has ever been marketed just selling one to a friend could be classed as a top seller in its respective market? As Alice said, “Curiouser and curiouser.”

Interestingly, National Sales Director of Scottish Spirits USA, the company set up in Jan. 2011 to launch the product in the USA and Canada, Bart Schroeder told ‘The Toronto Star’ there were no samples available as, “It’s not sold anywhere yet.” The photograph of the two cans of whiskey to be sold on Scottish Spirits Imports website (and shown here) states “this is only a concept of our packaging”.

The company is opening a $25 million bottling and canning plant in Orlando Florida and the company’s press release says it will be 150,000 square feet with the production capacity for the first year estimated at 2 million cases of 24 cans and 5 million cases by 2015. “The company is currently looking to create strategic alliances and to appoint exclusive licensees and distributors worldwide in order to further expand the Scottish Spirits and Genie brands.”

The canny (pun intended) Scots might be a little skeptical of the whole thing especially the last paragraph on the website that states: “To finance its expansion Scottish Spirits Ltd is actually raising $50 million through one of its subsidiaries via a Private Placement memorandum.” Of course it has nothing to do with the wonderful publicity the company is getting.

The company says they are working on an attachment that will reseal the can for the USA market and says its Scotch will “keep qualitative and quantitative standards intact.  Scotch in a Can maintains high quality without compromising the tone of the beverage. This isn’t a one-serving beverage; the can is the right size for three people to share who can mix it with other things like cola. ‘Scotch in a Can’ is mainly promoted as an option for outdoor venues, as it’s light-weight and recyclable.”

Mixing a “high quality” Scotch Whisky with “other things like cola”? Now that doesn’t sound right even to a Sassenach lass like me. Mixing Scotch with cola to a Scotsman must sound like murder! There would appear to be no evidence of Scottish Spirits having a distilling plant in Scotland although the company does say their whisky is “distilled and aged in Scotland”. By whom is the question?

Lastly, is it legal to sell whisky in an aluminium can especially as it is a reactive material? Cola is sold in cans and that can rot nearly anything over time so I suppose the answer is “yes”. The Scotch whisky industry defines by law what constitutes Scotch but says nothing on the container you can sell it in. Can you actually imagine anyone buying a non-resealable can of whisky and when it is not used up actually pouring the rest of it away? The temptation will be to gulp what is left down. Drinking EIGHT ounces of Scotch? The thought frightens me.

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