“Why Whiskey Is Not Produced In Turkey?” This is one of the most asked questions I get. That's why I wanted to write an article that briefly summarizes this topic.

First of all, let me start by saying that there are no legal restrictions on whiskey production in Turkey. In line with the regulations set by the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK), it is completely legal to produce and sell whiskey in our country.

“Why is whiskey not produced in Turkey?” It is possible to understand the answer to the question by looking at the regulation issued by TAPDK on the production of alcoholic beverages in 2002. (To access the entire regulation).

In the regulation, subjects such as facilities, equipment, employees and technology required for whiskey production were mentioned in detail. The answer to our question is hidden in the article below…

Capacity of the Plant / Article 9 – Alcoholic beverages and alcohol production facility, excluding beer and wine, on the basis of ready-to-sale products “at least 1,000,000 liters/year production” should be designed with sufficient capacity to do so. All stages from raw material input to product output in alcohol and alcoholic beverage production facilities must be in accordance with the capacity in terms of mass balance.

in this article “at least 1,000,000 liters/year production” I want to draw attention to the part. As can be seen, a producer wishing to produce whiskey in Turkey needs to establish a facility capable of producing at least 1 million liters of whiskey per year.

“1 million liters”I would like to share the annual production volumes of world-famous distillates below to show how serious a figure is.

  • Lagavulin: 1.400.000 Liters
  • Ardbeg: 1,000,000 Liters
  • Tobermory: 1,000,000 Liters
  • Cragganmore: 1,200,000 Liters
  • Oban: 670.000 Liters
  • Old Pulteney: 900,000 Liters

As you can see, the capacity required for whiskey production in Turkey is on par with that of many of Scotland's leading distilleries…

Now imagine you are a whiskey producer in Turkey!

You want to produce a high alcohol and different cultural drink in a country like Turkey. For this, you first need to set up a giant facility (distillery). You need to make a serious financial / moral investment for the facility and most importantly, you need to arrange a team of experts in whiskey.

Unfortunately, it is quite unreasonable for large manufacturers that already have facilities to make such an investment in the current environment, for reasons that I will talk about shortly.

You got it all done and started whiskey production. Now you can make your investment by selling the whiskey you produce, right? Unfortunately not yet… As you know, in order for us to call the alcoholic liquid coming out of the retorts whiskey, you have to wait for at least 3 years in oak barrels.

After 3 years, you made your first bottling and it's time to market this product and bring it to the consumers. Unfortunately, it is not that easy either…

Due to the advertising ban on alcoholic beverages, you will have very few channels to promote and publicize your brand. For this reason, consumers will tend to buy whiskeys from world-famous brands that they have been accustomed to seeing on the shelves for years.

In addition, the price you put on your product to make up for the investment you have made will not be at very reasonable levels, and you will have difficulty in price competition with giant brands that produce much more and market their products all over the world.

To summarize;

Although there is no legal obstacle for whiskey production in Turkey, the minimum production capacity determined to start production is unfortunately far from realistic. If we add to this the market conditions, advertising ban and the domination of global brands, the business of producing whiskey in our country is not a logical investment.

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You can take a look at my article where I tell the story of Ankara Whiskey, Turkey's first and only whiskey, and share my tasting notes. (Click for the article!)


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