Professor Spracklen's research on whisky tourism and Scottishness has featured on national radio. The research project explored the way in which single-malt whisky enthusiasts make a distinction between their own search for authentic distillery experiences, and the coach trips that take tourists to the various 'homes' of Scottish blended whisky brands. Spracklen has also undertaken research on single-malt whisky collectors, and those who attend whisky tastings. A paper in 2014 explored the tension in the ways in which whisky was used to promote tourism and the Scottish economy, while policy-makers tackled public health problems associated with alcohol.
Professor Spracklen has worked with colleagues at Leeds Beckett University on an exploration of real-ale tourism and the tensions between 'tickers' and 'hipsters'.
Professor Spracklen was a co-convenor of the British Sociological Association's Alcohol Study Group until 2015.
He has guest-edited a special issue of the Journal for Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events on Moral Panics or the Politics of Pleasure? Alcohol and Policy Directions in Tourism, Leisure and Events.