Whisky sales in the Middle East increased nearly 20 percent per annum between 2007 and 2012, according to the latest industry figures.
The 'Global market review of malt whisky - forecasts to 2018', which was compiled by the International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR) and Just-drinks.com, found 72,300 nine-litre cases of whisky was sold in the Middle East in 2012.
This is compared to 30,850 in 2007, representing a five year increase of 134 percent, or an average compound growth of 18.6 percent per annum.
This compares to an average of 7 percent per annum globally across the same period.
Glasgow-based firm the Edrington Group, which produces Scotch whisky brands The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and The Macallan, has picked up on this trend and last year announced a significant expansion of its international distribution network, taking control of operations that span three continents.
During 2014, Edrington will establish new sales, marketing and distribution companies in the US, South East Asia and the Middle East. Collectively, these markets currently account for 26 percent of its total sales.
Edrington Group director of malts Ken Grier said: “Nobody could have seen a single malt boom as sustained as this. We have confidence that this will continue. That is based on the expectation of continuing growth in established markets and the likelihood of developing and opening up new markets like India, China, parts of Latin America, the Middle East and South East Asia. There is so much potential everywhere that you look. If India alone opened up in a significant way then there simply would not be enough whisky. We are preparing for that day.”
Up until 2012, Dubai was home to the world’s most expensive cocktail – the Burj al Arab Skyview Bar’s 27.321 – which cost £4,632 ($7,702) and is made from Macallan 55-year-old single malt natural colour whisky, exclusively produced dried fruit bitters and homemade passion fruit sugar.
The record-breaking cocktail is served over ice cubes made of water from the Macallan distillery in Scotland, along with an oak stirrer made from a Macallan Cask. It is then presented in a Baccarat 18-karat gold glass, which the buyer gets to take home.
However, in 2012 a UK-based cocktail maker claimed he has set a new world record, dethroning the Burj al Arab’s title. Salvatore Calabrese, based at the Playboy Club London, said Salvatore's Legacy, made using ingredients dating back to before American independence and the French Revolution, would cost £5,500 per glass.