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World Is Running Low on Old Scotch Whisky

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World Is Running Low on Old Scotch Whisky

Thirst for the liquor is booming around the world — from the U.S. to developing countries like China — pushing prices of older vintages through the roof, attracting savvy investors hoping to cash in and forcing distilleries to scramble to meet demand.

“The shortage of old and rare single malt … has already started, and it’s going to get worse,” said Rickesh Kishnani, who launched the world’s first whisky investment fund.

The problem is that age-labeled single malt Scotch has always been, by design, a limited commodity. Distillers produce a set amount in a given year with pretty much zero visibility about what demand will be like when the bottles start hitting venerable ages.

The industry woke up to the current boom too late. In the late 1980s, many distilleries were going out of business, and just a decade ago, Scotch exports were stagnating.

More capacity is being added now, but the bad news for whisky drinkers is the shortage could last another 10 to 15 years, experts say.

Asia finds its love for Scotch

Enthusiasm for single malt Scotch — whisky made from the product of a single distillery rather than a blend — continues to surge. In the U.S., annual sales nearly tripled between 2002 and 2015, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Global single malt exports jumped 159 percent between 2004 and 2014, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. Asia now accounts for one-fifth of all Scotch exports, buying up a quarter of a billion bottles a year.

“In China, everybody is talking about it,” said Stephen Notman of the Whisky Corporation, a whisky investment firm. “Nobody thought in a million years that there would be a market there for 30-, 40-year-old whisky.”

The world’s most expensive Scotch was sold in Hong Kong: a large crystal decanter holding Macallan “M” whisky went for a whopping $628,205 at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014.

Pumping out more whisky

To combat the single malt drought, some distillers are ramping up production.

“We are currently working at full capacity — seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” said Charlie Whitfield, a brand manager for Macallan. “We just need to be patient and allow those casks to work their magic.”

By early 2018, Macallan, one of the world’s most popular Scotch brands, will have a second distillery online. But it won’t be releasing bottles immediately — by law, all Scotch whisky must be aged for a minimum of three years.

In recent years, brands including Macallan, Highland Park and Oban have also started rushing out bottles whose labels don’t mention the whisky’s age.

It’s yet another way to help offset the strain on supply as it gives Macallan the ability to release the best whiskies at its disposal rather than waiting years to put out more, Whitfield said.

Getting rich off the single malt drought

Meanwhile, prices are skyrocketing for older whiskies.

For example, a Black Bowmore whisky aged for 30 years before its 1994 release initially went on sale for $110 a bottle. But it now easily goes at auction for $7,000, said Notman.

The Investment Grade Scotch Whisky Index, which tracks auction prices, climbed 14 percent last year, beating other traditional assets. Gold tumbled more than 10 percent over the same period, while the S&P 500 was little changed.

Kishnani’s whisky fund in Hong Kong, an ever-growing collection of 7,500 bottles, has increased 26 percent in value since it started in 2014. The fund also includes older Japanese whiskies, which are similarly spiking in value. “Silent stills,” whiskies from closed-down distilleries like Karuizawa, are doing exceptionally well as stocks are even more limited.

With more supply on the way, prices will eventually peak in the years to come, said David Wainwright, who owns a wine and spirits advisory firm.

But for now, “there’s still plenty of mileage left out there,” he said. “Single malt Scotch prices definitely still have further to go.”

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

disney-world

McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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