Scotland’s whisky crown could be snatched by France, Bonial says
US, Australia, Spain, UK and India are among the top 10 whisky consuming countries Reuters

Scotland currently holds the title of being the home of whisky. This could soon change, according to retail consultants Bonial, which expects France to snatch the crown soon.

The Paris-based consultancy says whisky consumption is increasing in France. While the country has historically been associated with wine and cognac, whisky is quickly becoming the country's national drink, Bonial said.

According to the researchers, the average whisky consumption by a French adult is 2.15 litres a year. While this is not only the highest in the world, it is far more than the average 1.77 litres consumed by the people of Uruguay, the second largest whisky consumers in the world. "France is the world champion," said a study by Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper published in Paris.

Bonial added that whisky is now preferred by all social classes in France and has become something of a "democratic" drink in the country. According to Matthias Berrahya-Lazarus, the chief executive of the consultancy, Scotch accounts for 90% of the whisky consumed by the French, with the American Jack Daniel's being the most popular brand.

He added that the French are getting attracted to rarer and more expensive brands. The Scotch Whisky Association said France purchases more bottles of Scotch than any other country.

Apart from being the top consumers, the French are understood to be convinced that the world's finest malts will soon be made by them. The whisky makers in the country are cited as saying that they will be competing with the whisky producers of Ireland and Scotland soon.

Experts on the other hand say that while the French whisky manufacturing industry is small with a capacity of no more than 700,000 bottles a year, it is rising in quality and quantity, according to The Times.

Nicolas Julhès, the head of the Distillerie de Paris said: "Within 15 years the world's best whiskies will be French. We will be able to stop copying the Scots to bring a real French style. We have the greatest specialists on the ageing [of alcoholic drinks] who have always worked in wine and cognac."

The findings of Bonial have been backed by the French Federation of Spirits. According to a study by the federation, 38.7% of the spirits consumption comprises of whisky. The study also revealed that the consumption of this alcoholic beverage made from grains, far exceeds the consumption of more traditional beverages in France.

The federation said the sale of whisky tops €2bn (£1.58bn, $2.26bn) annually. It added that this is increasing in value despite the poor economic conditions in the country. With the importance of the alcohol increasing in the country, the regions of Alsace and Brittany were declared in 2015 to be the official whisky-producing areas. Other countries in the top 10 whisky consuming list include US, Australia, Spain, UK and India.