Diageo is urging retailers to mark World Whisky Day as it offers “the perfect opportunity” to make whisky the star in their stores.

The event, which takes place globally on 21 May, celebrates all types of whisky with the aim of encouraging everyone to learn more about the drink. To mark the day events will take place across the globe.

Nick Temperley, head of Diageo Reserve Brands GB, said: “Retailers should consider creating in-store theatre around the event by displaying a selection of whiskies and signposting World Whisky Day (21 May). This will ensure they make the most of the increased consumer awareness of the whisky category to drive sales.

“Whisky in Great Britain continues to perform strongly across both the on and off trade, with a growth of over £44m last year. The off-trade is particularly important to the whisky category, where it is worth over £1.19bn and represents an impressive 30% of all spirits sales.

“It is also one of the most diverse spirits categories, with different countries now producing whiskies, with different taste profiles, different production methods and different ingredients. The spirit is therefore appealing to an ever more diverse group of consumers. In fact more than one in five consumers aged over 18 years old currently enjoy whisky and it is growing faster than any other spirit outside of gin.

“This makes whisky a must-stock category for retailers and World Whisky Day is the ideal moment to ensure the most profitable and diverse whisky range possible is displayed prominently on shelf to capitalise on this increasing consumer demand.”

Temperley also advises stocking premium brands, as premium whisky is growing at 8.8% compared to last year.

“While historically whisky has often been consumed neat, attitudes are changing rapidly and becoming more modern.  Whisky is increasingly being enjoyed at home through adventurous cocktails or simple long mixed drinks such as the Old Fashioned and Johnnie Walker and Ginger Ale.

“Whisky is a category full of stories, heritage and craftsmanship, so retailers should make sure they enhance their customer’s experience by ensuring their staff know the key facts on each of the products they are selling, especially when trading up to higher priced products.”