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Poll Result: Whisky Awards

by Oliver Klimek on January 3, 2011

The December 2010 poll was about your opinion on whisky awards. For the first time the poll consisted of two questions because two different aspects of whisky awards were to be examined. Question 1 was answered by 57 people, question 2  received 71 answers. There was no obligation to answer both questions because not all of you might have a definite opinion on both. The results speak a clear language:

Question 1: Are There Too Many Whisky Awards?

  1. 31 votes (54%) – There are too many whisky awards
  2. 12 votes (21%) – The number of awards is just right
  3. 9 votes (16%) – We don’t need awards, thery’re useless
  4. 5 votes (9%) – You can’t have enough whisky awards

Question 2: Are You Influenced by Whisky Awards?

  1. 35 votes (49%) – Sometimes I may buy becaucse of an award
  2. 31 votes (44%) – I don’t care about awards at all
  3. 5 votes (7%) – Awards are important for my buying decision
  4. 0 votes (0%) – I only buy bottles that won a medal

More than half of the readers who answered the first question think that there is an oversupply of whisky awards. Combine this with the 16% that are totally opposed to awards and you will note that a whopping 70% are less than enthusiastic about the current situation.

This is in contrast with the result of question 2. Actually more than 50% of the people think that whisky awards are useful or even important. What to make of this seemingly contradictory results?

Conclusion

The message of this poll is actually quite simple: There is an obvious demand for whisky awards but people are selective which award to trust and which to avoid.

Most voters of this poll very probably came from the consumer side. But I am pretty sure that sentiments in the whisky industry will not be not very different. The underwhelming response to the International Whisky Competition which made its debut in April 2010 is a clear sign that whisky makers don’t just join any competition anymore that they can get their hands on.

And I think it was not incedential that the IWC is one of the commericial competitions that charge three-digit entry fees on a per-bottle basis from whisky makers. This type of whisky award has had increasing credibility problems as can be noted from various blog postings and forum discussions, mainly because of the “give money – receive medal” relation that these competitions have by design.

I would be very interested in opinons of industry members who decided against entering commercial whisky competitions. Did they simply refuse because of the cost involved or because of the credibility issues that might render a medal in such a competition useless in the minds of the consumers?

One thing is certain: If you plan to come up with yet another whisky award or competition, you should have a very innovative concept that has the potential to convince the many sceptics. Otherwise you are very likely to fail.

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