If you are whisky lover, you might consider visiting some of the top whisky producing countries in the world. Although the name whisky (or whiskey) comes from Gaelic phrase uisce beatha, which means water of life, British Isles are not the only good producers of this beverage nowadays.
Whisky has a long history. Since it is produced by distillation of various grains accessible anywhere, it is probably one of the oldest alcoholic drinks, which roots can be traced back to Mesopotamia. But true whisky origins as we know it today cannot be easily followed. Since it carries a Celtic name, as we have mentioned, it can be argued that its origins reach ancient times. It is nevertheless surely known that distillation was performed in medieval monasteries of Ireland and Scotland, involving different types of grains, since grapes do not grow enough in the British Isles. The first written record comes only from 1494 Scotland, which mentions certain Friar John Cor who was given some malt to make the water of life. Up to this day the Irish and Scots dispute who was the first to make this famous precious drink.
There are many types of whisky including Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Single Pot Still, Tennessee, etc. Scotch is perhaps the most famous of all whiskies and it is originally Scottish whisky made from barley, though today produced in many places. Concerning categories of Scotch, there are Single Malt and Single Grain (further divided into Blended Malt and Grain and Blended Scotch whisky). The interesting fact is that there are over 5000 types of Single Malt. Bourbon is American kind of whiskey made of corn and most famously distilled in Kentucky. If Bourbon is your favorite, check out the Best of Bourbon for the Money: 10 Best Bourbons Under $50. As for Rye, it is made of predominantly rye (it’s usually 9:1 rye corn ratio).
Now, different regions are famous for different kinds of whisky and are best in producing that special representative kind. You might have guessed where Kentucky or Tennessee whiskies come from, but let’s see which other countries produce some good whisky:
When thinking about Germany and alcohol, the first thing that comes to one’s mind is probably Oktoberfest and German beer. But Germany also has a growing whisky production. There are many small distilleries, and most of them are not only focused on whisky production. That is why no strict law on whisky maturation is applied to German whiskies. Whisky is sporadically being produced in around 250 German distilleries, and around 130 of them are focused only on whisky production.
An unusual country you would probably never expect to produce whisky. But Taiwanian whisky has made a boom in the world’s whisky market. That is namely Kavalan whiskey, distilled in Taiwan’s only distillery. In 2015 it won the World’s Best Single Malt award, and since then it has been on the top of the world’s whiskies. The distillery produces around 9 million bottles a year, and the export rate grew by 36% in 2014. Now, let’s see whar else we have on our list of top whisky producing countries in the world.
Swedish whisky has shown great success on the market lately. Relatively newly opened Mackmyra distiller is Sweden’s first distillery and the most productive one (with 1.2m liters per year). The Swedish favorite producing whisky is single Malt. The demand for Swedish whisky is growing since it won 2013 the First Edition Gold Award for their first edition whisky.
Australia’s best whiskies, such as Sullivans Cove and Larkis, are mostly being distilled on Tasmanian island. Although Australia that ranks 7th on our list of top whisky producing countries in the world does not have a long history of whisky production, there are more than 20 distilleries now, producing high-quality whisky. Abovementioned Sullivans Cove won the Best Single Malt award in 2014 World Whisky Awards.
Indians are the largest consumers of whisky, they consume around half of the world’s whisky production! They are also big producers of whisky, with a rather old production history dating back to 1948 when Amrut distillery was founded. Indian Malt whisky production has recently been regulated by Scottish Whisky Association regulations.
With more than 21 cases of whisky produced, Canada, is one of the top whisky producing countries in the world. Canada is most famous for Rye. The only Rye producer in the world which makes whisky 100% from rye mash is Alberta Premium in Canada. According to Canadian whisky regulations, all whisky must be minimum 3 years old, and kept in oak barrels.
We are continuing our list of top whisky producing countries in the world with Japan that has over 90 years long history of producing whisky. That was enough time for Japan to shape their own tastes, distilling methods brands, although remaining on the Scottish producing tradition. One of the most famous is Santory. The demand for Japanese whisky is growing, as it counts for 5% of the world’s whisky sales.
The key thing that differentiates Irish whisky from, say, Scottish, is that it is distilled three times instead of two. That’s what gives Irish whisky smoother and distinctive taste. The most famous Irish whisky brand is Jameson that has been produced for a century. The mostly produced whisky in Ireland is Scotch, but also the Single Pot Still. Although Ireland was always famous for whisky production, in the period from 2002-2012 the production grew by as much as 200% and is still on the rise. Now let’s see the number one on our list of top whisky producing countries in the world.
Being the top Country that Produces the Most Alcohol in the World, USA is also a great exporter of whisky. Most famous types of whisky produced in the USA are Bourbon and Tennessee whiskies, but also Rye, Corn and Blended Whiskies. The most famous Bourbon is made in Kentucky. Tennessee can also be referred to as Bourbon, though Tennessee producers tend to differentiate the two. The most famous Tennessee whisky is Jack Daniels.
As you could have guessed, Scotland, the home of the whisky is also the top whisky producing countries in the world. Visiting whisky distilleries in Scotland has become one of the main tourist attractions, since there are dozens of distilleries, and the unique whisky experiences can be tried in Edinburgh for example. Scotland is most famous for Scotch, and that is, in fact, the only kind of whisky that can be produced there, regulated by law.