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December 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Dec 31

Mothballed distillery may resume production

A Mothballed north-east distillery that was built more than 130 years ago is on the brink of going back into production, it emerged yesterday.

The reopening of Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, is at the heart of plans by a consortium trying to buy the site.

Glenglassaugh has been mothballed several times since it was established in 1875, most recently in 1986.

It is used by its owner Edrington, the drinks firm behind whisky brands such as The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Macallan and Highland Park for storage purposes. A spokesman for Edrington said yesterday the company had received approaches, which "may or may not" lead to a formal offer for Glenglassaugh. An industry source said the distillery was likely to be sold for several million pounds, with the buyer needing to spend about the same again on the refurbishment it needs before returning to production.

It is understood a consortium involving a Latvian investor has been involved in talks with Edrington since the summer and that these are now at an advanced stage, with a deal likely within a few months. Starting up the distillery will create an estimated 10 jobs.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 24

Website will support scotch industry

The hospitality and tourism sector of the Highlands is set to reap more economic benefit from the nation's most famous tipple, following the launch of a new website.

ScotlandWhisky, the national tourism initiative, is behind the project which has gone online just in time for Christmas, which is traditionally the busiest time of year for malt whisky sales.

The website has been developed to enhance the 70 Scotland Whisky Embassy members - which include The Cross at Kingussie and Knockomie at Forres - to promote their whisky expertise.

Whisky Embassies comprise pubs, hotels and restaurants which pride themselves on employing staff who are educated and knowledgeable in the sales and service of whisky.

Boasting the best of latest online resources, the site offers dynamic maps of all the Whisky Embassies and distilleries involved, in addition to events, festivals, information and bookable tours.

Chris Conway, of ScotlandWhisky, said: "Online support is just one of the benefits on offer to tourism and hospitality businesses."

The new enhanced website can be visited at

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 22

Whisky firm upbeat for new year

Directors of malt whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail feel the outlook for 2008 is positive.

This was one of their comments in the latest annual results from the Elgin-based, firm which owns Benromach Distillery at Forres.

Turnover for the year to the end of February, 2007, was just under £15.5million - a fall of 6.9% on the previous 12 months - primarily the result of reduced volume sales in the UK market.

Pre-tax profits fell by £155,000 to just under £1.326million.

The directors said that, following the launch of the Benromach Organic brand, they considered the 2008 outlook to be positive. They also said the Benromach brand continued to prosper.

Joint managing director Michael Urquhart said yesterday that trading in the new financial year had started well, with export sales to America, France, Germany, Russia, Spain and Poland increasing, as had sales in the UK. He added that the firm continued to invest in bulk whisky stocks, including from its own distillery, and during the year a new cask warehouse had been completed to store maturing Benromach whisky.

The firm employed an average of 124 people during the past financial year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 20

Delighted distillery may be oldest in land

A Small whisky distillery in Aberdeenshire is in the running to be crowned the oldest in all the country - thanks to a newspaper report from more than 200 years ago.

The Glen Garioch distillery emerged as a surprise contender for the title after a reference to it was found in a 1785 copy of the Aberdeen Journal - a forerunner to the Press and Journal.

Last night, brand manager Mari Laidlaw said the title could be worth millions of pounds in sales to the Oldmeldrum business.

Members of the Scottish Brewing Archive, based at Glasgow University, came across the report as part of a project to find the oldest distillery in Scotland.

Researcher Iain Russell said they had been intrigued by the number of distilleries claiming to be the oldest in the country, including Bowmore, Glenturret and Strathisla. But the evidence was pointing to Glen Garioch.

"A report in the Aberdeen Journal from 1785 refers to the sale of spirits at the Meldrum Distillery, which we believe is almost certainly the former name of the Glen Garioch Distillery," he said. "The owners previously believed the distillery was not founded until 1797."

Ms Laidlaw said she was "thrilled" and hoped the theory could be proven.

"It is wonderful news," she said. "Scotland's oldest distiller is the title everyone wants. Heritage is one of our main selling points. It is worth millions."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 19

Ghillie's Dram to celebrate River Spey

To celebrate the glories of its own Salmon fishing beat on the fabled River Spey at its Easter Elchies estate, The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky has created The Ghillie’s Dram.

A limited edition of only 800 bottles of this 12 years old single malt have been produced, each individually hand-labelled and numbered. Also included with the bottle is a fishing pouch with two Macallan salmon flies and a limited edition map of The Macallan beat.

The Macallan Ghillie’s Dram honours the important role that the River Spey, one of Scotland’s most famous salmon rivers, plays in creating the character of The Macallan. The river borders The Macallan Estate to the south and south-east and is managed in harmony with this beautiful landscape.

Willie Bremner, The Macallan Estate Ghillie, said: "The Spey serves not only as a boundary for The Macallan Estate, it also provides a wonderful fishing experience, a rich natural habitat, and water used in the creation of The Macallan. It is my pleasure to manage The Macallan fishing beat; five dark and delightful pools where salmon and trout rest fleetingly on their long journeys up and down the river. In my mind, the river, the land and the whisky have always been bound together, each an essential part of the other.

“It is a beautiful river, a source of both fresh water and timeless inspiration for us, and it continues to captivate generations of anglers and whisky lovers worldwide. The purchase of a bottle will be supporting the restocking of salmon in the River Spey, helping to preserve this priceless asset."

The whole The Macallan Estate covers 370 acres (150 hectares), comprising land for growing barley to make The Macallan, pasture for sheep and cattle, woodland, and mown grassland to attract species of birds.

Ghillie’s Dram is now available exclusively at the distillery shop for £95 per bottle.

Article Courtesy of Macallan



Dec 18

Whisky industry group welcomes EU protection move

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed new European Union spirit laws.

The agreement by EU member states means that legislation on the definition and presentation of European spirit drinks dating back to 1989 will be replaced by a new, updated regulation. The SWA said yesterday this was something it had campaigned for over a number of years and would result in clearer EU-level rules on whisky production, and improved protection for Scotch whisky.

EU markets represent almost 35% of whisky exports by value (£855million out of a global total of £2.5billion in 2006). The new regulation includes a range of improvements to existing EU spirit drinks law, including a clearer legal definition of whisky, which will assist distillers in tackling unfair and misleading practices overseas.

Reflecting traditional practice, the new laws, for example, make it explicit that whisky cannot be flavoured or sweetened.

A mechanism is also introduced that will make it easier to ensure national rules on whisky are enforced across the 27 EU member states. This is important because when the new UK legislation on whisky is adopted next year, there will be an opportunity to register the UK regulations in Brussels and have them enforced across the EU.

An SWA spokesman said: "Improved EU protection for the traditional way of making Scotch whisky is a significant step forward. Today's agreement by member states will make it easier to protect Scotch whisky from unfair practices, supporting the industry's international competitiveness.

"Throughout our campaign, the SWA has worked closely with the European Commission, the Scottish and UK governments, and MEPs (members of the European Parliament) - this has secured an important result for distillers and the highest level of protection for Scotch whisky and consumers."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 18

Spirit giant marks its 10th anniversary

The boss of the world's largest alcoholic drinks firm, Diageo, said yesterday that the years ahead would continue to be exciting times for the company.

The comment from chief executive Paul Walsh came as Diageo - the leading whisky company - celebrated its 10th anniversary.

It employs 4,500 people in Scotland, where operations include 30 whisky distilleries, three main packaging sites and also Gleneagles Hotel. Earlier this year, Diageo announced an investment of £100million in its whisky operations in Scotland, including £40million on a new distillery at Roseisle in Moray.

The group was created by the merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness and the firm originally also took in a food business.

However, the appointment of Mr Walsh as chief executive in 2000 brought a strategic decision to focus solely on alcohol.

In 2001, the acquisition with Pernod-Ricard of the Seagram spirit and wine business brought additional brands into the collection and Diageo now manages eight of the world's top 20 premium spirit brands and operates in 180 markets in spirits, beer and wine.

Two of those brands - Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky - are the best and third best-selling brands in the world respectively.

Mr Walsh said: "Today we stand in a different place from where we started a decade ago. We are focused on premium drinks and operate with serious offerings across total beverage alcohol: spirits, beer and wine.

"We have seen growth in our business over the past decade in well-established consumer markets like the United States and have begun building for a strong future in emerging markets like China and India. We believe the next decade and the others to follow will continue to be exciting times for Diageo."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 14

Mallya to buy Dalmore US rights for $80 mn

UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya is expected to pay $60-80 million to American spirits giant Jim Beam for acquiring the distribution rights of Dalmore Single Malt in the US, sources said.

Dalmore is part of scotch major Whyte & Mackay’s portfolio but Jim Beam controls the distribution rights for the US market through a licensing deal. Mr Mallya, who acquired Whyte & Mackay, earlier this year has initiated talks with Jim Beam, which is part of Fortune Brands, to buyback the US rights.

When contacted, a top UB Group official confirmed the move. However, the valuation of the potential transaction could not be ascertained.

Dalmore is one of Whyte & Mackay’s key premium brands in a portfolio that also consists of Jura Single Malt, Vladivar Vodka and namesake Whyte & Mackay blended scotch whisky. It may be mentioned that Mallya’s liquor flagship United Spirits Ltd (USL) paid $1.18 billion to buyout Whyte & Mackay from its management led by serial entrepreneur Vivian Immerman.

However, Jim Beam, which sold Whyte & Mackay to Mr Immerman led management buyout in the year 2000, retained the rights for Dalmore Single Malt in the US market. Sources said Mr Mallya was keen on acquiring the rights from Jim Beam citing that the latter was unable to tap the full potential of the brand owing to conflict of interest.

In context, it may be mentioned that Jim Beam owns another leading single malt, Laphraoig, following its part acquisition of Allied Domecq’s assets in 2005. “United Spirits and Whyte & Mackay feels Jim Beam is not tapping Dalmore’s fullest potential, which is very evident in its sub-premium pricing,” sources added. Single Malt is a robust emerging category for the young adult consumers in the US.

It is believed that Jim Beam is open to divesting the distribution rights at a price, and if talks succeed, it could happen as early as January next year.

Meanwhile, United Spirits is readying Whyte & Mackay portfolio for a larger Asian roll-out. While Whyte & Mackay’s entry into India is a bit delayed, the products have started tapping other key markets for scotch in the Asian region, like Taiwan, for instance. Whyte & Mackay’s focus will be on three brands like by single malts Jura and Dalmore and the eponymous blended scotch.

United Spirits is expected to register Whyte & Mackay brands with the domestic excise beginning with Maharashtra next week.

Article Courtesy of India Times


India Times

Dec 13

Glenfiddich's 30-year-old whisky wins industry award

Glenfiddich has won the top accolade in the 2007 Whisky Merchants' Challenge Awards.

The distillery's 30-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky won through in a blind tasting event as well as receiving a gold medal in the over £50 category.

Glenfiddich's prize whisky also took a gold (best in class) medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2007.

The 30-year-old whisky is a single malt combination that has been matured in Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks.

David Stewart, Glenfiddich Malt Master, commented: “We've always believed Glenfiddich 30 Year Old to be an excellent dram, but to have such esteemed judges vote it the overall winner in a blind tasting in our homeland is a real thrill.

“It really has been a remarkable year of achievement for the men and women of the distillery.”

Glenfiddich Distillery recently won the award for Scottish Visitor Attraction of the Year 2007 - it attracts around 80,000 visitors a year..

Article Courtesy of Harpers



Dec 12

Councillors back whisky distillery plans

Ambitious proposals to transform a former north-east creamery into a whisky distillery were enthusiastically endorsed by councillors yesterday.

Members of the Marr area committee voted unanimously in favour of approving an application to create a distillery, bottling plant, tasting centre and warehouse for around 4,000 casks in Huntly.

Last night members said the project "ticked all the boxes" and would bring huge benefits to the town. The application will now go before Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee (ISC) for further consideration.

The applicant, Euan Shand, of Princess Street, Huntly, hopes to transform a redundant creamery at the town's Old Toll Road into a new landmark for the north-east whisky trail.

The facility, if approved by ISC, would be housed in a historical building already on site, known as the Granary. It would incorporate a number of environmentally friendly features such as a biomass facility, fuelled by locally sourced woodchip to generate steam for the stills, a rainwater harvesting system and heat-retention glass. The initial business plan for the development says it would create 16 jobs.

Speaking after yesterday's meeting in Alford Public Hall, Peter Argyle, councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, described it as an "all-round good project".

He said: "It's absolutely excellent. The original building is beautiful and the plans for it are superb. It's a very environmentally friendly project, it will attract tourism and it will create jobs. At the same time it will bring back into use an important part of Huntly's heritage."

Joanna Strathdee, councillor for Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford said she was delighted the committee voted to support the project. She said: "It just ticked all the boxes and will definitely benefit the town. I'm really delighted it got the go-ahead and will keep my fingers crossed." Mrs Strathdee suggested it could be the start of a new chapter for Huntly as a "food and beverage town" for tourists.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 12

Rare whisky goes on sale in ‘One of a kind’ linley drinks cabinet

A £55,000 drinks cabinet with some of the world’s rarest whisky will go on sale tomorrow (Thursday 13 December) at Harrods.

Custom built for The Macallan, the ‘one of a kind’ LINLEY drinks cabinet will contain six single malt vintages from the Fine & Rare collection: 1937, 1940, 1948, 1955, 1966 and 1970.

Handcrafted from English Oak and Burr Oak, the drinks cabinet also includes six bespoke crystal LINLEY whisky tumblers, cigar humidor and a secret compartment which has become a signature feature of LINLEY furniture.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts said: “This unique collaboration has brought together two industry Masters of spirit and wood. Like The Macallan, Linley’s furniture brings together a balance of traditional and modern techniques to achieve the highest possible standards in the craft and this cabinet is testament to this. Together with a selection from of our Fine & Rare collection it is certain to become a collector’s item to fetch an even greater price in the future.”

The extraordinary expressions of vintage Macallan from the Fine & Rare collection are each carefully selected for their unsurpassed quality and rarity – representing the finest single malt from that year. Each bottle has a wonderful diversity of colour from light beech through to dark walnut, with aromas and tastes ranging from the lightly peated vintages to those with fresh floral aromas or rich sherried flavours.

The range is so highly sought after that many are only available through private sale via auction houses or whisky collectors.

The Macallan and LINLEY cabinet will be sold in a World of Whisky and Watches evening on Thursday 13 December hosted at By Appointment at Harrods from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Article Courtesy of Macallan



Dec 11

Profit turnaround at chivas brothers

Chivas Brothers (Holdings), an investment holding company for whisky group Chivas, made pre-tax profits of £282.55million in the year to June 30 compared with losses of £65.45million the year before, according to its latest report and accounts just released by Companies House.

The accounts show it received investment income of £340million during the 12-month period although the previous year's figures show no investment income was received.

The company - whose immediate parent is Spain-registered Pernod Ricard Espana and whose ultimate owner is French multinational drink giant Pernod Ricard - paid interim ordinary dividends of £6.73million during the year compared with dividends of £6.85million the previous year.

It also declared a preference dividend of £1.82million compared with £2.01million a year earlier.

A spokesman said the group did not comment on the individual results of the many companies within Pernod Ricard, which in September posted forecast-beating net profits of £582.1million for the year to June 30 - up 30% on the year before.

The Scottish Whisky Association is today calling on MSPs on the justice committee to back Scottish Government plans to take tougher action on those involved in drink substitution.

This is the illegal practice of genuine branded bottles being refilled with a different product (usually cheaper, inferior quality, and sometimes illicit) for resale in pubs and clubs.

The whisky trade association said that, currently, those found guilty of such an offence would only be likely to face a low fine.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Dec 09

Whisky Sells for $54,000

A bottle of 81-year-old Scotch sold for $54,000 at New York's first liquor auction since Prohibition.

An anonymous collector bought the pricey potable at Christie's sale of wines and spirits on Saturday.

The 100-lot auction sold a total of $304,800 worth of rare wine and liquor. The top lot was a collection of 729 bottles of whisky, which went for $102,000.

The $54,000 bottle was distilled at Macallan in Scotland in 1926, bottled in 1986 and rebottled in 2002.

Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933, but New York State did not allow auctions of spirits until this year.

The auction prices include Christie's 20 percent commission.

Article Courtesy of The Associated Press


The Associated Press

Dec 07

Whisky Galore! 10,000 Bottles Stolen

More than 10,000 bottles of single malt Scotch Whisky, destined for the UK Christmas market have been stolen.

The bottles of Bowmore Islay Single Malt, with a retail value of almost £300,000, were taken around midday on Tuesday from an independent haulier in the Hertfordshire area.

The haul included various aged bottles of Bowmore, from 12 years old to 25 years old.

Bowmore Distillers are desperately bottling more of the spirit from Islay to ensure UK retailers and consumers will not be disappointed this Christmas.

Glen Moore, Bowmore brand director said: "We are confident we will be able to supply all retailers with Bowmore and customers will still be able to buy Scotland's number one Islay malt whisky for Christmas.

"Unfortunately Single Malt Whisky cannot be distilled today and bottled tomorrow so it will take up to twenty five years to replace the older stock."

Hertfordshire Constabulary is investigating and have appeal for anyone with information to contact them at the Crime Management Unit.

Article Courtesy of the Sky News


Sky News

Dec 04

New Appointments at The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience, the five-star visitor centre on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, is delighted to announce two new appointments. Garry Gray, managing director of John Dewar & Sons, which produces Scotland's best known whisky brands including Dewar's, Lawson's, Aberfeldy and Glendeveron, has been appointed non-executive chairman of The Scotch Whisky Experience Ltd. The centre has also appointed a new finance director, Tony Dick, who was formerly financial controller of Aggreko plc (Northern Europe).

Alastair McIntosh, managing director of The Scotch Whisky Experience, which attracted nearly quarter of a million visitors last year, said:

"We are delighted to welcome both Gary and Tony to the team. They bring with them extensive and very valuable experience in their fields and we look forward to this expertise enhancing our business."

The Scotch Whisky Experience is situated on the Royal Mile below Edinburgh Castle and offers unique insight into the world of Scotch Whisky with informative film, educational tour and whisky tasting. The venue has a fine dining restaurant, Amber Restaurant, as well as corporate and meeting facilities.

Article Courtesy of Allmedia Scotland


Allmedia Scotland

Dec 02

Highland spirit

WAREHOUSE 24 at Balvenie Distillery on Speyside, which forms the basement of an 18th century mansion now used to store whiskies until they have reached their prime, is fast building a reputation as the venue for one of the most memorable whisky tours in Scotland.

Whisky tourism has become a wide-ranging and highly profitable industry. Scotch whisky distilleries welcome more that one million tourists a year - and they have the highest spend per head in visitor attractions. In total, sales from whisky attractions are worth more than £17 million to the Scottish economy.

Some tours are "pile them high, get them round fast" affairs, providing little more than a potted guide to how whisky is made. At Balvenie, however, tours are limited to a maximum of eight people, and they will even offer a one-to-one tour if you're the only visitor. While pricey at £25, the attention to detail provided on the tour is worth it.

advertisementEach tour starts and ends in what was once the distillery manager's office, now renovated and featuring bespoke furniture created by Paul Hodgkiss. From there the tour takes in one of the last few floor maltings and a chance to see the kiln with its distinctive pagoda roof, where the barley is smoked.

However, it's Warehouse 24 that is the highlight. At the end of the dimly lit, slightly damp warehouse sit three casks and a battered copper hollow cylinder, called a "dog". In years gone by less honest warehousemen would use this to drop into the casks and withdraw a surreptitious sample. Attached to a piece of string, it was then hung down a trouser leg and smuggled out to be enjoyed at leisure. These days, visitors have the chance to take their own sample and have it bottled as a souvenir.

Dry days For walkers, the Speyside Way, which generally follows the course of the river Spey, is one of four official long-distance routes in Scotland. It's 84 miles long, but there are plenty of shorter stretches to be enjoyed. Wildlife abounds, while spectacular scenery is almost ever-present. Visitor attractions such as Ballindalloch Castle (; 01807 500 205) are within easy reach, as are several golf courses. The towns of Dufftown, Keith, Huntly and Elgin are all close at hand for retail therapy.

Wet days Speyside is whisky country, and there are numerous other distilleries to make a week-long stay in the area worthwhile. Glenfiddich, for example, Balvenie's next-door neighbour, has a fine restaurant serving full meals and snacks followed by a tour.

Eating and drinking The two rosettes Ben Aigen restaurant in the Craigellachie Hotel (; 01340 881204) offers fine dining, featuring quality local produce, from around £33. The hotel is also a magnet for whisky connoisseurs. The world-renowned Quaich Bar has a selection of almost 700 whiskies, some of them extremely old and very rare - and very, very expensive. The Highlander Inn (01340 881446) nearby is a small and friendly hostelry, again with a fine whisky bar and dinner for around £25. Bar and whisky manager Tatsuya Minagawa presides over more than 150 malts - many from his native Japan - and an interesting selection of real ales.

Where to stay In addition to the Craigellachie Hotel and the Highlander Inn, there is a decent range of accommodation available in the area. www.RoomFinder offers full details. Click on Aberdeen and Grampian, then Craigellachie to be taken to the appropriate page.

Article Courtesy of the Sunday Herald


Sunday Herald
November 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Nov 30

Highland Park releases third Ambassador’s Cask

Highland Park has announced the launch of its third Ambassador’s Cask, after both the first and second sold out within months of being released – the most successful and fastest selling limited edition bottlings in the Orkney brand’s 209-year history.

For the third Ambassador’s Cask, Gerry Tosh, Global Brand Ambassador, has selected cask 9035, which was filled in 1974 and bottled this year.

Because of the exceptional quality of this 33 year old single malt, the special edition has been released in 372 35cl bottles, making it more accessible for a range of whisky lovers.

The exclusive Ambassador’s Cask III bursts with aromas of dark chocolate, orange peel and toasted smoky almonds and finishes with the signature dry smokiness of Highland Park.

Gerry Tosh, Global Brand Ambassador, commented: “The success of the first two Ambassador’s Casks is testament to the present demand for limited bottlings. By releasing the third edition in a 35cl bottle more people will have the opportunity to try this fantastic 33 year old whisky.

“Cask 9035 was one of five under consideration and it will not disappoint with a lingering aftertaste of dried fruits, setting it apart from the first two limited edition casks.”

Each of the 372 35cl Highland Park Ambassador’s Cask III bottles (RRP £95) are penned with Gerry Tosh’s signature and sealed in a beautifully crafted wooden box.

The Ambassador’s Single Cask III is available at the Kirkwall distillery and also on the Highland Park website It is anticipated that this limited edition release will be popular with whisky connoisseurs, tourists and locals.

For further information please visit

Article Courtesy of Highland Park


Highland Park

Nov 29

MPs fight to freeze Scotch whisky duty

The secretary of state for Scotland Des Browne is to continue fighting for Scotch whisky duty to remain frozen in the next Budget.

But wine duty could still go up to maintain a level playing field for the whisky industry worth £2.5billion annually to the Scottish and UK economy.

Responding to questions as part of a House of Commons debate, Browne acknowledged duty charges on whisky are far higher per unit of alcohol than on wine.

He said: “I have a long-standing interest in ensuring a level playing field for Scotch whisky in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

“Since we [Labour] came to power, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has frozen the duty on Scotch whisky year on year in order to achieve that very competitiveness."

Declaring his interest, because one of the biggest Scotch whisky bottling plants is in his constituency—the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock – Browne added that the Scotch whisky industry is of “massive” importance to the Scottish economy.

“That is why the Government has announced steps to enhance the protection of Scotch whisky,” he said.

Browne assured Scottish whisky producers that they are “unlikely to be disappointed” by the legislation currently undergoing consultation to protect the intellectual property rights of Scotch whisky.

“We are determined that it [legislation] will be in the best interests of the Scotch whisky industry,” he said.

Article Courtesy of Harpers



Nov 29

Whisky galore site aims to keep fans of elixir in touch

Networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook will soon have a new rival to contend with.

The websites are primarily used to keep in touch with friends and to post videos, photos and music.

On St Andrew's Day, however, the newest member of the networking family is officially unveiled - whisky.

Whisky is being given its own networking site, which aims to unite whisky lovers all over the world.

It will provide the usual social networking perks such as posting videos and photos, blogs and e-mail, but it will also allow them to rate whisky and generally hang out with old and new whisky-loving people.

A feature that the "whiskommunity" will be able to use is a rolling feed of breaking whisky stories from around the world.

The website will be free to use for consumers and allows its members to post their own content and rate others, as well as advertise their "for sale" or "wanted" whisky or collectibles.

Discussions are also under way with a number of leading brands to place educational material on the site.

Leading whisky retailer Royal Mile Whiskies has already signed a deal to become the site's official retailer.

Ian Buxton, the founder of the website, said: "Conventional websites are effectively redundant as consumers seek a more interactive and engaging experience.

"People don't want a one-sided view and sites like this enable a more open exchange of information."

Mr Buxton, a former marketing director of Glenmorangie and Keeper of the Quaich, the highest honour of the Scotch whisky industry, also plans to launch the world's first interactive whisky encyclopaedia on the web - - before Christmas.

He said: "I want to encourage whisky brands to use the site to share knowledge, not talk down to consumers."

Distillers who partner with the site will not "advertise" in the conventional sense but will provide mentoring and share their knowledge in a two-way dialogue, by providing high-quality content.

"It's also an opportunity for distillers to hear directly and immediately what their consumer is saying - like a huge, continuously-running opinion poll.

"Whisky has never seen anything like it."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Nov 28

Chivas Brothers unveils Christmas offerings

Chivas_Brothers, Pernod Ricard's Scotch_whisky and gin arm, has unveiled a raft of gift offerings to be launched across a range of international markets over the festive season.

Among the new offerings is a handmade metal gift tin for the Chivas_Regal 12 Year Old. The gift tin, embossed with the distinctive crest, will be available in over 50 countries, while in France a seasonal variant on the original packaging is being launched.

Meanwhile, a Chivas Regal 18 Year Old gift tin, created by French designer Andrée Putman, is being launched in several markets including France, Germany, South Africa, UK, Italy and Greece, with a recommended retail price of EUR120 (US$177).

For Ballantine's Finest, Chivas Brothers is marketing a gold tin, which will be available in 70cl, 75cl and 1-litre sizes, and sold in key markets in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.

In Germany, the Ballantine's Finest 75cl bottle is being offered in a contemporary flask, with an embossed effect in blue, while in France, the Ballantine's 12 Year Old 75cl bottle will be available in a blue leather carton. Leather cases have also been developed for the core range of The_Glenlivet.

"This year, the luxury cues of each brand are reflected across our range of Christmas packaging," said Chivas Brothers' marketing director Martin Riley. "We are certain that these seasonal offerings will encourage customers to purchase and that the contemporary appearance of each will allow for maximum prominence in off-trade sales.

Article Courtesy of Just Drinks


Just Drinks

Nov 26

Whisky bosses put on a dram fine comedy show

BOSSES of a famous Scots whisky aim to have Glasgow drinkers in stitches with the launch of their first comedy tour.

The Famous Grouse, known for its amusing Christmas ad campaigns, has launched its Famously Funny Comedy Tour.

It plans to combine a dram with friends with a top-notch line-up of comedians who bosses say will be the perfect ingredients for a famous night out.

But tickets for shows are restricted to Famous Grouse whisky drinkers and will not be released for general sale.

To be in with a chance of scooping the money- can't-buy tickets, sample nights and promotions are planned in Glasgow bars every weekend until the end of November.

Promotions will take place in bars such as Barca and The Red Lizard where drinkers will receive a gamecard which can win them tickets with every Famous Grouse dram bought.

Some of the hottest comedy talent in the UK will entertain drinkers.

Comic Frankie Boyle will kick off the comedy tour with a one-off show at The Stand in Woodlands Road on January 26.

The tour will then be rolled out with top comedians appearing on six more dates from January to June next year.

Emma Heath, Maxxium UK marketing manager, said: "At The Famous Grouse we look to give something back to our drinkers and The Famously Funny Comedy Tour is a perfect way to give consumers an enjoyable night out."

Article Courtesy of Glasgow Evening Times


Glasgow Evening Times

Nov 26

Grant's whisky takes a different angle

Grant's Scotch whisky has commissioned European street artists Edgar Muller and Manfred Stader to create a trompe l'oeil art installation inspired by its 'try a different angle' ad campaign.

The work, which must be viewed from a certain angle to obtain the 3D effect, has gone on show at the Evropeisky Trade Centre in Moscow.

The commission coincides with the 50th anniversary of the iconic triangular bottle for which the Grant’s brand is internationally recognised.

The company says the work of art is intended to “reflect the whisky’s unconventional vision – taking a fresh and different perspective on things”.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International


Drinks International

Nov 23

Distilleries urged to put more cash into whisky festival

Moray's whisky industry is being urged to pledge more funding to a Speyside whisky festival after the council doubled its contribution.

Moray Council's tourism steering group increased support for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival from £4,000 to £8,000 following a presentation from organisers on Monday.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, chairman Allan Wright said whisky companies in the region should now follow in the council's footsteps and double their contribution to the event.

Councillor Wright said: "There was a strong feeling that the whisky industry itself could do more to fund the festival, and I would now urge the companies to follow our lead and double their contribution from last year.

"Within the council's tourism group we have recognised that tourism is a vital part of economic development for Moray and that whisky is the unique key that this area has on which to centre its tourism promotion.

"This festival is a major event and is run by a highly professional company that has more to offer in future initiatives like the 2009 Year of Homecoming."

The annual festival started in 1998 and now hosts close to 200 events, including whisky tastings and chef competitions.

This year's celebrations attracted record crowds of 16,000 visitors and injected a £600,000 boost into the local economy.

Speaking yesterday, festival chairman Richard Ruane said: "We are grateful to Moray Council for their increased contribution to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

"This recognises the increasingly important role it plays in the tourism product of Speyside and Moray.

"It will also help us with our work in supporting tourism operators throughout the area.

"We are working very closely with the whisky industry and their support has been greatly appreciated.

"Last year we had about 200 events and we're hoping to increase that.

"We anticipate the festival will be bigger and better next year."

Next year's festival will take place between Thursday, May 1, and Monday, May 5.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Nov 23

Release of The Scotch Whisky Aroma Nosing kit

For some time, has recognised that a significant gap has existed in the market for a “Scotch Whisky Aroma Nosing Kit.” Such a “nosing” kit of “reference” aromas would be instrumental in helping Scotch Whisky enthusiasts - and professionals alike - tutor their noses against a series of “standard” or “reference” aroma chemicals. also recognised that in order to develop a kit of standard reference aromas related to Scotch Whisky it was necessary to partner with an expert in the field of Aroma Science. They therefore joined forces with George Dodd an internationally renowned Aroma Scientist based at the Perfume Studio in the Highlands of Scotland. George is one of the world’s greatest experts on the sense of smell and aromas and he is the only working perfumer in Scotland. The project has been under development for over 18 months and now the “Scotch Whisky Aroma Nosing Kit” has finally been launched!

For further information, please visit

Article Courtesy of


Aroma Nosing Kit

Nov 23

Whisky island running out of fuel

Production of Islay's world-famous whiskies is facing crisis as extreme weather conditions have prevented fuel being delivered from the mainland.

The Inner Hebridean island's eight distilleries - including Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Ardbeg - are all almost out of oil, which is essential to heat the whisky stills.

The last delivery was nearly three weeks ago and supplies are expected to run out by the end of the week.

To add to the weather problems the island is facing, when an oil tanker does make it through, it can only carry a restricted amount of fuel due to problems with Argyll and Bute Council's new £3million pier which was completed last year.

Oil supplier Shell docks its tanker at the Bruichladdich pier, but because the harbour is not deep enough for a full tanker, the loads have to be restricted and loading can only take place in calm weather conditions.

Campbell Evans of the Scotch Whisky Association, which represents the majority of the island's distilleries, said: "The whole thing is highly unsatisfactory and seems to all revolve around the depth-of-water survey, which has taken far too long to be done."

But Mr Evans added: "My information is that delivery to Islay is top of Shell's priority list."

Graham Brown, of Islay Community Council, said: "There are new houses being built on the island. More people means more cars, more heating. It needs to be resolved."

The council has had discussions with Shell and the SWA. A spokeswoman said: "It was agreed investigations should take place following the dredging that the council carried out last month. We are all working together to find a solution."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Nov 20

Rebus bottle goes for a song!

Highland Park’s Rebus20 collection has caused a stir in the collectors’ market with the latest bottle selling on auction website e-bay for a staggering £1,030!

Highland Park launched the limited edition Rebus20 single malt Scotch whisky, which was specially selected by Ian Rankin, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Inspector Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses.

Just over 150 bottles from the 20 year old Highland Park single cask were produced and the exclusive money-can’t-buy whisky was only available to fans of Rebus and Highland Park through a series of competitions.

The clearly sought after bottles are now fetching pounds for the bottle alone. In September Ian had donated a bottle to the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh for visitors to donate money to his favourite charity, Special Needs Information Point (SNIP) in return for a dram. Highland Park recently learned that a £50 donation was made just for a collector to take the empty bottle and no whisky!

Highland Park, which has won a multitude of awards this year for their superb liquid, have also hinted that there could be something equally exciting for “HP enthusiasts” early next year. Until then, the bidding must go on!

Article Courtesy of Highland Park


Highland Park

Nov 19

Laphroaig enters cyberspace with virtual whisky tasting

Beam Global Spirits & Wines will host a virtual tasting and online debate for Islay single malt Scotch whisky Laphroaig.

The Laphroaig Taste Debate will kick off at 8pm on Nov 21 hosted by a panel of whisky experts made up of Laphroaig distillery manager John Campbell, master blender Robert Hicks, and Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible.

The event will run for 40 minutes and covers four Laphroaig expressions – 10 Year Old, Quarter Cask, 10 Year Old Cask Strength, and the new Sherry matured 27 Year Old. Participants will also have the opportunity to vote for a fifth expression for the panel to taste.

During the run up to the webcast, members of the online community Friends of Laphroaig have been asked to submit questions to be put before the panel.

Marketing manager Aileen Nicol said: “This is the first online whisky tasting to be hosted by the UK’s number one Islay single malt, Laphroaig, and we are hoping that many of our supporters around the globe will participate to make it one of the biggest tastings in the world.

“It provides a unique opportunity for our consumers to put questions to our panel of highly respected whisky specialists and learn more about one of their favourite whiskies and its 190 year history.”

The Laphroaig Taste Debate is open to anyone with an interest in whisky and participants can register at

Article Courtesy of Off Licence News


Off Licence News

Nov 18

Island whisky wins top accolade

A toast has been raised to a distillery in Islay as its tipple is honoured in a distinguished guide.
Ardbeg has been awarded the title of World Whisky of the Year in the Whisky Bible 2008.

The 10-year-old dram received another accolade after the bible also named it as the best Scotch Single Malt.

Aficionados say that Ardbeg has an overtly peaty, smokey flavour. It is also said to be surprisingly smooth on the palate with a warm finish.

Jim Murray, Whisky Bible 2008 author, who awarded the honour to the 10-year-old single malt, praised the drink as a unique product.

He said in his guide: "To me Ardbeg is - and always has been - the most complex malt on earth."

He added: "I have been visiting the distillery for nearly 30 years - long before anybody had heard of Ardbeg.

"And because I have long regarded this as the finest distillery in the world, I actually try to handicap the sample to iron out any natural bias."

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Nov 14

Rare $100,000 Private 1976 Glenfiddich Whisky Cask Acquired by Willow Park Wines & Spirits

To Peter Gordon, 1976 was a very special year. It was the year he began working at the Glenfiddich distillery that his great great grandfather William Grant built in 1886. It was also the year that the Canadian dollar was at par with the United States.

Thirty-one years later, Peter Gordon continues to work at the distillery and the dollar is back at par. And to celebrate these anniversaries, Peter is coming to Calgary to present the first bottle from a 1976 cask of vintage Glenfiddich to Wayne Henuset, owner of Willow Park Wines & Spirits in Calgary. Willow Park's acquisition of the rare cask of 1976 Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky marks only the fourth time a cask has been released in Canada.

The acquisition and sale of the 1976 Glenfiddich vintage cask has already attracted the attention of buyers from as far as South Africa because of its rarity and vintage. Each bottle comes with the number of the cask hand printed on the label along with the signature of Master Blender, David Stewart. Attractively packaged in a wooden box, bottles of this rare whisky are available for sale exclusively from Willow Park Wines & Spirits in Calgary for $600 a bottle. The first 50 buyers will also receive a dog (copper utensil to help assess the maturation process of the whisky) and a tin of fudge.

"Cask 16389 has matured since 1976 in a traditional hogshead Oak Cask in the dunnage warehouse at The Glenfiddich Distillery in the Highlands of Scotland," Mr. Gordon said. "It has yielded 220 bottles at 47% alcohol by volume. The whisky has a floral, fruity and fragrant aroma with hints of rich vanilla fudge, butterscotch, honey and subtle spice. The rich aroma delivers a rewarding taste with a beautifully silky mouth coating texture," explained Mr. Gordon.

William Grant & Sons Ltd. is an award winning, independent, family-owned distillery established by William Grant in 1886 and is still controlled by fifth generation family members. The company distils some of the world's leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world's favourite single malt Glenfiddich, the handcrafted range of The Balvenie single malts and a number of other premium spirits, including Hendrick's Gin and the Icelandic vodka, Rekya.

Article Courtesy of Market Wire


Market Wire

Nov 13

Rare whisky's a better bet than shares

For businessman Michel Kappen, whisky is more than just a drink with a couple of friends to celebrate a deal or to savour in front of a fireplace on a cold night.

Whisky can be a high yield asset for investors wary of volatile equities markets, he said at the launch of hisWorld Whisky Index, a website that aims to bring buyers and sellers of rare and expensive whisky together.

"If you invest in stocks, there is always the risk the value will go down. With whisky, we do not see that," he told Reuters as a piper in full Highland regalia played the bagpipe to mark the launch of the index.

"It is a very stable investment. The annual rate of return is 12 per cent," said Kappen.

He cited the example of a bottle of Black Bowmore Scotch malt whisky, distilled in 1964 and bottled in 1995.

"From 150 euros (NZ$290) in 1995, this bottle is now worth 2,450 euros (NZ$4,800)," he said.

The World Whisky Index currently has 2,853 bottles of whisky on its list, with the most expensive priced at 650 euros (NZ$1,260) and the oldest dated 1926.

Still, a drink is a drink and a personalised bottle of rare whisky could boost one's career, said Kappen.

"You can look in the Index for a whisky distilled or bottled in the year that your director was born and give it to him," he said.

Article Courtesy of

Nov 12

Diageo may buy 600 million dollar stake in Indian brewer, paper says

Global beverage group Diageo may buy a minority stake in Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya's flagship United Spirits for as much as 600 million dollars, the Economic Times reported on Monday.

The two companies have held "tentative talks" on the purchase of a 10 to 13 percent stake by Diageo in United Spirits, the newspaper said in a front-page report that cited unnamed sources.

United Spirits' Bangalore-based spokeswoman Beena Om Prakash said she could not comment on the report. Company president and chief financial officer Ravi Nedungadi was not available to comment, his office said.

Diageo India managing director Asif Adil said he would not comment on "speculation," according to the Economic Times, which said a transaction could be possible by February or March next year.

United Spirits, which had a market value of about 4.5 billion dollars as of last week, may be open to selling a small stake without ceding any management control, said the report, which estimated the value of a deal at 500 million to 600 million dollars.

Mallya, 51, spent 1.18 billion dollars last May to buy Whyte and Mackay, a 163-year-old scotch whisky maker based in Glasgow, to vault into the lucrative European market.

Whyte and Mackay added W and M scotch, Viadivar Vodka and Jura single-malt to UB Group's stable, which includes Bagpiper, Director's Special and McDowell's No. 1 whiskies and McDowell's Celebration rum.

With sales of 60 million cases, the Indian group is the world's third-largest maker of alcoholic spirits, according to United Spirits' website.

Diageo's brands include Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka, Bailey's liqueur and Guinness stout.

Article Courtesy of AFP



Nov 09

The Macallan launches 55 year old single malt whisky in Lalique decantert

On Wednesday 7 November, iconic luxury brands The Macallan and Lalique unveiled The Macallan in Lalique Natural Colour decanter containing an exceptionally rare 55 years old single malt whisky valued at £6,000 (USD$12,000).

The Natural Colour decanter has been designed by the legendary French crystal house Lalique, exclusively for The Macallan. A limited edition, of only 420, have been produced, each individually numbered and available in selected outlets in the USA, UK, Asia and Russia from January 2008.

Ken Grier, Director of The Macallan, comments: “At The Macallan we insist on natural colour. It is the interaction of spirit and wood alone which delivers the rich diversity of colour evident throughout The Macallan range and we used this as the inspiration for the design of this decanter, the second collaboration between The Macallan and Lalique.

“The first decanter containing 50 year old single malt was launched in 2005 and proved a huge success. Since then we have seen an increase in demand for our rarer whiskies, proof that we were moving in the right direction by extending our partnership with Lalique to produce a series of decanters containing the finest Macallan single malt. The Natural Colour decanter launched today is the second in what will be a series of six based on The Macallan’s Six Pillars and is testament to the quality and craftsmanship of both partners in the production of this outstanding product. We are confident that this will make the Natural Colour decanter even more desirable to the discerning purchaser and will be of particular interest to whisky connoisseurs and collectors of Lalique crystal.

The Macallan 55 years old single malt contained in the decanter is cask strength (40.1% abv), and has remained undisturbed for over half a century at Easter Elchies House – The Macallan’s spiritual home on Speyside, Scotland - where it matured through the decades in a sherry oak cask. Dark rosewood in colour, the liquid has aromatic notes of exotic, sweet dried fruits with a hint of peat-smoke, the finish is wonderfully soft, smooth and spicy with lingering touches of citrus.

Managing Director of Lalique UK, Mercedes Canos, explains: “We are delighted to be working with the world’s finest single malt as it has given us the opportunity to design a series of decanters which reflect all the best attributes of our brand - creativity, heritage and craftsmanship. The Natural Colour decanter was created by our design team in Paris and is based on the classic Paquerettes tiara perfume bottle designed by Rene Lalique in 1910. It is a mix of masculine and feminine shapes and the stopper is made in amber coloured crystal, one of the most difficult colours for crystal makers to achieve.”

Hand crafted at Lalique’s crystal making facility in Wingen-sur-Moder, Alsace, each piece was worked on by up to 25 craftsmen, many of whom have attained the ‘Meilleur ouvrier de France’ – the Finest Craftsman of France Award. Each decanter bears the esteemed ‘Lalique France’ signature which symbolises authenticity and over 100 years of creativity, heritage and craftsmanship and comes in a specially designed leather and silk presentation box, with a crystal stopper and a leather-bound collectors guide detailing the craftsmanship that has gone into producing this beautiful object d’art.

Respected and admired by discerning whisky lovers and named ‘best malt in the world*’, The Macallan remains the single malt against which all others must be judged.

Article Courtesy of Macallan



Nov 09

Best bar none

One the oldest pubs in Aberdeen has gained national recognition - after being crowned Whisky Bar of the Year.

The Grill on Union Street claimed the award after owner GrahamWatson, pictured, entered the competition run by Whisky Magazine in the summer.

But that was the last he heard of it ... until he opened the latest edition of the magazine and saw his bar had come tops.

He said: "I entered the competition back in July and only found out we had won when I was flicking through the magazine.

"I was a bit shocked but it was a great surprise to have won the competition."

The Grill will now be included in a shortlist of bars from across the globe and could be named as an Icon of Whisky 2008.

The historic bar has a range of more than 500 whiskies.

It was the last surviving men-only bar in the Granite City, not allowing women until December 1975.

Graham has worked there since he was a student in 1974.

He took over the reins from his father, Eddie, in 1986.

The publican said: "Whisky went through a period where it had a really bad image.

"But now the younger generation seems to be enjoying it.

"Malt seems to be a popular choice instead of a vodka and coke or a spicy and coke.

"But it is a drink to be savoured."

The bar is recognised as one of the oldest in the city centre, and is well-known for it's laid-back atmosphere.

Graham said he hoped that the win would help promote the bar outwith the city.

He added: "Aberdeen attracts a lot of tourists and although the bar is well known in the city z we would like to promote it on a wider scale."

The Grill will now go head-to-head with bars from countries throughout the world such as Canada, America and Ireland.

The winner of the global award will be announced in February.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Nov 08

Bacardi to build Scotch whisky plant

Competition is hotting up in Scotch whisky, after Bacardi said it had finalised a deal to buy land in Scotland in order to build a new facility.

The Bermuda-based drinks group said it had signed a deal to buy a 106-acre stretch of land in central Scotland, set to be developed as a second maturation, blending and storage facility for its premium portfolio of Dewar’s Scotch whiskies.

Many Scotch makers are eyeing expansion on the back of rising exports and high anticipation over India’s agreement to lower import tariffs on wine and spirits.

Bacardi’s planned new facility, to be based in South Lanarkshire, will form part of the firm’s $250m (£118.7m) expansion programme for Scotch over the next 10 years. It is a direct response to growing demand for Dewar’s in Asia and other emerging market regions, the group said.

Construction on the new facility is not expected to be completed until 2018, but the first part of the plant is planned to be operational by 2009 – capable of handling around one million casks.

Bacardi’s announcement follows a similar statement by fellow drinks maker Diageo last month, after local councillors cleared the group’s proposed £40m malt distillery. Diageo has its own £100m expansion plan for Scotch whisky.

Campbell Evans, of the Scotch Whisky Association, told Drinks International India’s recent commitment to lower import tariffs was driving expansion among both large and small distillers.

“The opportunities there are enormous. When China lowered its tariff barriers we saw exports rise from £1m in 2000 to £60m in 2006.”

Article Courtesy of Drinks International


Drinks International

Nov 08

Whyte & Mackay new Premier Leage Darts sponsor

Whyte & Mackay whisky is the new title sponsor of the Premier League Darts.

The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tournament is the biggest invitational darts tournament in the world.

Whyte & Mackay has signed a three year deal with the season kicking off in its home city of Glasgow on 31 January 2008.

The Premier League features the eight best darts players in the world with a £340,000 prize kitty.

Phil "The Power" Taylor has won all three previous Premier League Darts tournaments but will face stiff competition from the likes of Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld.

The Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts will run for 14 consecutive Thursday evenings across major UK cities and towns.

Players will play each other twice in the group stage, with the top four progressing to the play-offs, to be held in Cardiff on May 26.

Sky Sports is broadcasting the whole event.

Nick Gaskin, Whyte & Mackay’s UK Marketing Director, said: “Much like our whisky, the players are full of character and as the audiences are full of fun and sociable people, this year’s League is shaping up to be an entertainment extravaganza.

“Since the formation of the League in 2005 the audiences have more than trebled and with the continued efforts of the PDC and the exciting initiatives we have planned, I am sure this growth will continue."

Article Courtesy of Morning Advertiser


Morning Advertiser

Nov 07

Inver House Distillers: Icon of Whisky

Airdrie-based Company named as ‘Distiller of the Year’  

Inver House Distillers, proud producer of some of Scotland’s most exciting and fastest growing malts, has received the prestigious ‘Distiller of the Year’ award at the Icons of Whisky 2007 event.

The Airdrie based company, who this year globally re-launched their Balblair Single Malt as a super-premium ‘vintage’, beat off competition from Glenmorangie, Bowmore and William Grant & Sons amongst others after an international judging panel voted for the company due to its 'excellent and impressive contribution' to whisky.

“Based on the innovative and brave work that Inver House have pioneered this year, we felt that they really needed to be included in the ‘Distiller of the Year’ category and every person on our panel strongly backed their win,” said one of the judges, Damian Riley-Smith, Managing Director of Paragraph Publishing. “2007 has been a big year for whisky – there has been a lot of changes and investment in the industry – but Inver House has found a way to inject ambition, personality and a genuine warmth into everything it has done. As a team they’ve contributed to the world of whisky in an impressive way and we felt that their efforts in particular deserved the 'Distiller of the Year' award.”

Karen Walker, Marketing Manager of Inver House was at the award ceremony and couldn’t believe when the results were read out:

“It was an incredible but very pleasant surprise to hear our name being called out as ‘Distiller of the Year’ – we had no expectations whatsoever that we would win! This accolade is the one that everyone wants so we are, of course, overjoyed at the recognition. As a company, we’ve really tried to push the boundaries and develop whisky in a positive way and going forward, our main aim is to continue to contribute to the growth and success of Scotland’s national drink.”

Within the last few years, Inver House’s malts have strongly established themselves with those in the know and continue to attract increasing attention. Highlights include:

  • Old Pulteney Single Malt, also known as ‘The Genuine Maritime Malt’, embarked on its first international sponsorship this year by supporting renowned sailing sportsman 68-year old, Sir Robin Knox Johnston during his participation in the ‘ultimate solo challenge’ – the Velux 5 Oceans Round the World yacht race.
  • Balblair Single Malt Whisky was relaunched at the turn of the year as a super premium, contemporary whisky brand, focused on international modern luxury markets, including France and Japan. Distinguished by its use of vintages (it is chosen by optimum ‘year’, in a similar way to wine), Balblair has been building a network of other outward-looking, likeminded brands including Canongate Books, Mackintosh Rainwear, Timorous Beasties and the artist, JoLoMo in an effort to shift traditional stereotypes of Scotland both in the UK and abroad.
  • Other Inver House brands performing well both in the UK and internationally include: anCnoc Single Malt Whisky, Heather Cream liqueur, Speyburn Single Malt and Hankey Banister Blended Malt amongst many others.

Announced on the eve of Whisky Live! Glasgow, the Icons of Whisky dinner is a glittering awards event, seen as one of the most important in the industry. Held at Oran Mor in Glasgow, this particular Icons of Whisky event is especially prestigious, marking the best whisky companies in both Scotland and Ireland – the spirits’ homelands.

Inver House will now compete against distillers throughout the world for the International Distiller of the Year award, which will take place in London next year. The Icons of Whisky judging panel is comprised of an international editorial board drawn from the Paragraph Publishing group.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Nov 07

Crackdown on whisky pirates

James Fry, partner at Eversheds discusses the potential changes to protect UK brands overseas after the announcement last month of forthcoming consultations which aim to enhance the protection of the Scotch Whisky brand.

For over 50 years, the Scotch Whisky industry has been fighting to protect the lucrative Scotch Whisky brand against counterfeiters. The brand has built a strong global reputation for quality which could be easily undermined by the circulation of substandard counterfeit goods.

Scotch Whisky is one of the UK's top five export earning manufacturing industries, sold in over 200 markets worldwide. Strong protection allows exclusive products to be sold at a premium and its international growth has resulted in a wave of investment by Scottish distilleries.

However, the inaccessibility of luxury products to many Chinese and Indian consumers has resulted in a major hurdle for the industry - soaring levels of piracy. It has been estimated that a massive 500,000 cases of counterfeit Scotch Whisky circulate yearly in India. Although currently relatively unsophisticated, this piracy poses a huge threat to this valuable brand and the industry is right to vociferously express its concern.

The Scotch Whisky Association (the “SWA”) has supported the significant burden of challenging counterfeiters, fighting up to 70 court cases around the world at any one time. The SWA has used the existing international legislative framework, including the protection offered to Geographical Indications (“GIs”), to promote and protect the brand.

GIs identify place names and associated words which link the reputation or quality of a product to a specific geographical location. GIs aim to protect consumers by ensuring the quality of products and the continued existence of manufacturing skills, know how and methods, which have developed in a particular geographical area.

In the UK, the Trademarks Act 1994 provides a mechanism to protect GIs at a national level. It is possible to register a GI as a Collective trademark (goods of an association), or a Certification mark (characteristic of the product). In addition, Scotch Whisky is currently protected under the Scotch Whisky Act 1988 and the Scotch Whisky Order 1990. This legislation provides a specific definition of Scotch Whisky, which is relied upon in legal action in the UK and overseas to ensure quality.

Despite successes in protecting the Scotch Whisky brand abroad, rising counterfeiting in countries such as China and India has amplified the need for enhanced legal protection. The SWA has been vocal in advocating these necessary changes.

The Defra consultations on UK domestic law could result in changes being introduced through secondary UK legislation as early as Spring 2008. The consultations have arisen from the recommendations of an industry working group established in 2004 to codify and update the legislation governing Scotch Whisky.

These proposals aim to safeguard the use of the names of certain Scottish regional geographical origins which were previously unprotected. Whereas distilleries currently rely upon trade mark law to protect their names, the consultation suggests that these names should only be used where the whisky has been wholly distilled in the named distillery. In addition, the proposed legislation aims to define five categories of Scotch Whisky, a significant improvement on the current definition.

Because the definition of Scotch Whisky is often used in actions in other jurisdictions, the tightening of the definition of Scotch Whisky under domestic law would impact upon the ease of protecting rights abroad.

The announcement of the consultation to reinforce UK legislation protecting Scotch Whisky is a welcomed development which impacts upon the ability to enforce these rights quickly and effectively, not only in the UK but also abroad.

Article Courtesy of The Retail Bulletin


The Retail Bulletin

Nov 06

BenRiach Wins ‘Distillery of the Year 2007’ at Whisky Fest New York

We are delighted to announce that BenRiach Distillery has been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Distillery of the Year’ at the 2007 Malt Advocate Whisky Awards. The awards were announced at the 10th Annual ‘Whisky Fest’ at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square in New York last week (Tuesday 30th October).

The awards, which are hosted each year by Malt Advocate magazine, the leading US-based consumer magazine for whisky enthusiasts, are open to whisky distillers world-wide, and are designed to recognise the distilleries, whisky brands and industry people who have excelled over the previous 12 months.

BenRiach’s Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker was on hand to receive the coveted award from Malt Advocate’s publisher and editor John Hansell (see picture attached).

Established in 1898 and located in the Speyside region, just south of Elgin, BenRiach Distillery has had a low profile existence for a number of years. However, in 2004 this changed when the distillery became independent, having been acquired by three entrepreneurs – Scotch whisky industry veteran Billy Walker and South Africans Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter.

Under the new owners the BenRiach Single Malt brand has been re-born and malt drinkers across the world now have the opportunity to enjoy the array of malt whiskies of various ages and styles that can be found maturing in our warehouses, some of which date back as far as 1966.

The award is in recognition of the impressive growth and development of the BenRiach brand over the last three years, the distillery’s creative and innovative approach to product development and the high quality of the malt whiskies being released by BenRiach.

BenRiach Distillery Company’s Managing Director Billy Walker commented:

‘As one of only a small number of independent Scotch whisky distilleries I am very proud of this achievement, which reflects incredibly well on our highly motivated team and is also a great measure of the progress we have made with the BenRiach range in such a short period of time.’

BenRiach Single Malt Scotch Whisky is available in a variety of expressions ranging from 10 to 40 years old, and, unusually for a Speyside distillery, BenRiach produces whiskies distilled from both non-peated and peated malted barley. The brand is now available in over 25 countries world-wide, and key markets include the UK, US, Taiwan, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium and Russia.

Article Courtesy of BenRiach



Nov 06

Sober ad from drinks firm

The manufacturer of Smirnoff Ice, Gordon’s gin and other well-known alcohol brands is spending £3 million on a Christmas advertising campaign urging young people to consume fewer of its drinks.

Diageo, which also makes Bell’s whisky and Guinness, said that the cost of the “ethical ad” was the same as the average advertising budget for each of its brands and showed that it was serious about promoting responsible drinking.

The campaign comes amid concern in the drinks industry that the Government is considering imposing severe restrictions on alcohol advertising, or even banning it.

Drinks manufacturers are under pressure from City investors to show that they are doing all they can to forestall tighter controls on their business.

The advertisements show a young woman enjoying herself at a party with a few drinks then falling over and making a fool of herself after she has drunk too much.

The same format is used to follow the progress of a young man going to the pub with friends.

Diageo said research showed that negative images of drunkenness encouraged young people to change their drinking habits.

Article Courtesy of The Times


The Times

Nov 05

J&B whisky given new look

Scotch whisky J&B has undergone a £5 million packaging revamp to give it a more contemporary look.

The new bottle has angular shoulders with a narrower neck and a more pronounced foot while the label has been given black, gold and white borders and drop shadow and layered detailing.

J&B global brand director Nik Keane said: "The new pack highlights the brand’s role as the ultimate party whisky with an edgy design that will appeal to party goers around the world. Working in synch with our global Start a Party campaign, it will help us achieve substantial growth for the brand during the year ahead."

The Start a Party campaign was launched in 20 countries earlier this year featuring print and poster advertising.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International


Drinks International

Nov 05

Diageo and Pernod Ricard start whisky price war

Global drinks giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard have dropped prices of their front-line Scotch whiskies by 10-30% ahead of Diwali on November 9

Whisky brands from the two companies will be discounted across the country except Maharashtra.

Diageo has kicked off a price reduction on its Johnnie Walker Black and Red Labels and arch rival Pernod Ricard is following suit with an almost similar pricing strategy on Chivas Regal and Ballantine's Scotch whiskies.

Pernod Ricard brands may only see a price reduction of up to 30% even as Diageo has gone in for a drop as high as 38% in a few markets.

“We expect a significant momentum from the price reduction, especially with the festival and marriage season kicking in," said Asif Adil, managing director of Diageo India.

Article Courtesy of Harpers



Nov 01

Diageo sparks whisky war in India

Diageo sparks price war by cutting prices across its premium whisky brands

The move is expected to force Pernod Ricard South Asia Ltd, Beam Global Spirits & Wines inc, and Genmorangie Co among others to revisit their own Indian pricing strategy.

The price war also comes ahead of an expected launch of Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky brands by UB Group, in time for Diwali on November 9.

Diageo has slashed two variants of its best-selling Johnnie Walker whisky by 20-37% depending on the state with the exception of Maharashtra, the company's India's marketing director Santosh Kanekar said.

"We will reduce prices of our vodka brands such as Ciroc and Smirnoff as well in almost the same rate."

Article Courtesy of Harpers



Nov 01

Whisky firm's sales success

Scotch whisky firm Whyte & Mackay claims to have added 10,000 new accounts seven months after setting up an on-trade sales team. The company has been targeting major multiple groups and high-volume pubs, using new PoS material and consumer promotions.

On-trade sales director David Brown said: "There is no doubt that we have won much of this new business through our dedicated sales team simply getting out there and selling to our customers face to face.

"We hope to build on this success and with some excellent new product innovations planned, we have every reason to be very optimistic about the year ahead."

Article Courtesy of Morning Advertiser


Morning Advertiser

October 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Oct 31

Pernod lifts whisky production

Pernod Ricard said yesterday it is planning to expand its whisky production and storage facilities after announcing sales results that showed burgeoning demand for the Scottish product from emerging markets and less established markets such as France.

Sales of its 15 key brands rose an average of 16% in value between July 1 and September 30 but within that, its whiskies did particularly well. Sales of Ballantine's were up 22% while Chivas Regal rose 19% and The Glenlivet gained 13%.

Overall, net sales rose 6.9% to 1.6bn (£1.1bn) In Asia, imported whisky brands led the way. The company reported that sales were up 30% driven by Ballantine's and Martell brandy. Ballantine's and Chivas Regal did particularly well in India.

In North America, The Glenlivet expanded strongly while Chivas Regal sales increased slightly. The latter also did well in Venezuela. Pernod Ricard reported sales rose by 34.1% across central and South America as a whole.

The French, too, appear to be developing a taste for whisky. Overall sales in the country were up 5% to 157m, but while aniseed product sales actually declined because of bad weather during the summer. Chivas Regal, Aberlour and The Glenlivet soared, in part due to heavy promotion of the products.

Pernod also announced that it would increase its stocks of whisky products such as Chivas and Ballantine's this year to keep up with strong sales growth and said it plans to increase ints production and storage capacities for its whiskies as well as Martell and champagne.

As a result, its debt reduction will be limited in its 2007-08 financial year.

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Oct 30

UK's First Whisky Amnesty

Highland Park are set to give away 200 bottles of their 18 year old single malt – ‘The best spirit in the world’* in the UK’s first ever “whisky amnesty”.

Malt lovers attending this year’s Whisky Live Glasgow are invited to bring a sealed 70cl bottle of any spirit which they can swap for a bottle of Highland Park.

The first of its kind in the UK, the amnesty will begin at 3pm on Friday 2nd November at Highland Park’s stand within Whisky Live, held at the SECC, Glasgow.

Leading the revolutionary amnesty is Highland Park’s Global Brand Controller Jason Craig, he said: “We are very proud to be hosting such an innovative event as the UK’s first whisky amnesty and what better way to host it than in Scotland, the home of whisky. 200 bottles have been set aside, which will be given out on a first come first served basis. We have such confidence in Highland Park 18 year old plus with the global accolade of “Best spirit in the World” we anticipate our offer being extremely popular and therefore advise whisky lovers to come early.”

For further information on how to pre-register for Highland Park’s whisky amnesty and entry to Whisky Live Glasgow log onto

Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky is not only for the connoisseur, it makes an excellent introduction for those new to the world of whisky. Its burnished gold colour, rich full flavour and its soft, round, long finish make Highland Park 18 year old a perfectly balanced single malt.

Established in 1798 on Orkney, Highland Park is one of the most remote Scotch whisky distilleries in the world. This single malt is known by its rich, full flavour and gentle smoky finish. For over 200 years, the distillery has combined time old tradition and the very best craftsmanship, to achieve perfection and produce a single malt range of 12, 15, 18, 25 and 30 year old, which are consistently lauded by connoisseurs and experts.

Highland Park is available online at through multiple retailers and supermarkets throughout the UK and at whisky specialists nationwide.

Article Courtesy of Allmedia Scotland


Allmedia Scotland

Oct 30

Malt whisky group launches first mailshot

The Scottish Malt Whisky Society is launching its first direct mail campaign, as part of a customer acquisition drive.

The group aims to recruit members using the strapline, ‘The Most Famously Anonymous Whisky Society’. It currently has 26,000 members and provides them with access to expert information and a unique selection of single cask malt whiskies.

The drive, created by Story, is to target 27,500 whisky drinkers throughout the UK. The pack uses a Sherlock Holmes master of disguise theme to reflect the cloak of mystery surrounding the ‘anonymous’ malt whiskies selected by the society. Brands and distillery names are kept under wraps.

Kai Ivalo, sales and marketing director at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, comments: “I am confident that we will meet our targets and in addition highlight the social and fun aspects of joining the society. The campaign effortlessly informs, entertains and engages whisky lovers.”

Story creative director Dave Mullen says: “Central to the campaign is the fact that The Scotch Malt Whisky Society promotes itself without reference to distillery names and brands. The campaign also allows us to use data intelligently to target potential members at a local level and thus feel highly relevant.”

Article Courtesy of Precision Marketing


Precision Marketing

Oct 27

Grant's brands 'in line'

Directors of the largest whisky distiller still in family ownership, William Grant and Sons Distillers, owner of the Glenfiddich, Grant's and Balvenie labels, said that its brands continued to perform in line with the industry last year.

They added that the strength of European retail chains was placing increasing pressure on its margins in mature markets.

The latest accounts of Grant's, the UK's third-biggest distiller after Diageo and Pernod Ricard with a 10.4% market share, show it doubled annual pre-tax profits from the year before to £73.35million. Turnover more than doubled to £327.67million.

A spokesman said the results reflected a restructuring in 2006 in which its Distillers business had combined with its global commercial and marketing operation.

The ultimate parent in the group is William Grant and Sons Holdings. Its accounts for 2006 show pre-tax profits of £77.8million on turnover of £412.8million.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 26

New addition to Glengoyne single malt range

Ian Macleod Distillers has added a single malt to its Glengoyne range exclusively for travel retail.

Burnfoot contains Glengoyne single malt whiskies that have been aged for up to 34 years and has an rrp of €36.

Ian Macleod is hoping to attract "a new, curious and aspiring target audience" to the new product which features fluorescent colour and contemporary typography on the label.

Ian Weir, marketing director for Ian Macleod Distillers, said: "Using a healthy percentage of first fill sherry casks, it offers a slightly smoother and sweeter taste than certain other variants in the Glengoyne range, but at the same time retains the distinctive qualities and depth of the whisky. It is therefore ideally positioned to appeal directly to whisky drinkers new to the Glengoyne brand”.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International


Drinks International

Oct 23

The Scotch Whisky Industry Review 2007

The 2007 edition of “The Scotch Whisky Industry Review” has now been released. The Review is published annually and, having started life in 1976, is now in its 30th edition. Every edition of the Review has been compiled by the recognised leading independent industry analyst Alan Gray.

It is the single most authoritative source of business information on the Whisky industry – incredibly comprehensive in its coverage and painstaking in the accuracy of its research. The Review contains 284 pages packed with fascinating and useful information and is used as a reference by all the leading players in the Scotch Whisky industry.

In summary, the “Review” includes detailed information covering the following main areas;

  • Industry Section
    • Includes consumption by geographic market, production, stocks, production costs and profit margins
  • Company Section
    • Includes individual company information, list of distilleries and ownership, distillery capacity utilisation, new developments and visitor numbers
  • Case Sales
    • Includes the most comprehensive Annual case sale estimate available anywhere by Whisky type ( blend & malt) and individual Whisky brand. Includes 10 year records (up to 2006) for major brands
  • List of Bottled brands
    • Includes list of bottled brands sold in the UK and overseas by company and category - an unrivalled list categorised by standard & deluxe blends and malts. See the brands owned by the different companies at a glance!
  • Sponsorships
    • Includes information on current sponsorship deals in the Scotch Whisky industry
  • Appendices
    • Includes detailed figures on excise duty and revenue, broking prices, retail prices of leading brands and estimated consumer expenditure

In keeping with its strategy to be the leading online source of Scotch Whisky information, has partnered with Alan Gray to make the purchase of “The Scotch Whisky Industry Review” readily accessible via the internet to a worldwide audience.

As Alan states “No Scotch Whisky industry professional, supplier, specialist retailer or scotch whisky connoisseur should be without a copy!”

For more information please click here

Article Courtesy of The Scotch Whisky Industry Review



Oct 22

Third Eye wins whisky brief

Single malt Scotch whisky The Macallan has enlisted the help of Third Eye Design to help the brand reinforce its positioning within the luxury spirits market.

The Macallan parent company the Edrington Group has briefed the consultancy, which was appointed without a pitch, to enhance the brand’s touch points, from printed literature and exhibitions through to point-of-sale material, focusing on photography, art direction and usage shots.

All three of Third Eye’s offices in Glasgow, London and New York will be involved in the project.

Third Eye has commissioned Design Bridge to assist with packaging design.

Article Courtesy of

Oct 19

Whisky plan pays off

Scottish Development International's 2007 direct marketing campaign aimed at securing meetings with potent-ial investors in Canada and the US has been recognised.

It won a silver award at the Direct Marketing Associations International Echo Awards held in Chicago.

An empty whisky decanter and documents outlining Scotland's key sales messages, was delivered to a prospect's address along with a note explaining that, if the recipient would agree to meet with an SDI manager, they would receive a bottle of rare malt whisky to accompany the decanter.

SDI's Americas president, Lorna Jack, said: "From the mailing in January to 217 targets we've secured 62 meetings so far.

"That's nearly a 30% response rate which far exceeded the industry average and everyone's expectations."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 18

Whisky's impact on environment

Being partial to the odd dram or two, I like to think that the production of whisky has a relatively benign environmental impact compared to most other alcoholic drinks. Is this true?
S Castle, Bristol

We pay a lot of attention to alcohol's societal impacts, but little, if any, consideration is given to the impact our consumption of alcohol may be having on the planet. We might diligently recycle our wine bottles and cans, ponder about the food miles associated with a bottle of Shiraz shipped all the way from Australia, or worry about the impact of fertilisers used to grow barley, wheat, hops and grapes, but there is little research, it seems, that calculates the comparative environmental "footprint" of each type of alcoholic drink.

A "working paper" published earlier this year by the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Surrey, provides some interesting clues, though. The paper, written by Tara Garnett and entitled "The alcohol we drink and its contribution to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions", says that the alcohol sector is responsible for nearly 1.5% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, adding that "this is likely to be an underestimate". Even so, there are quite a few other emitting sectors of the economy in the queue ahead of alcohol that warrant our attention first.

But is there a big difference between types of alcohol? According to the paper, at first glance spirits such as whisky do indeed seem to have a relatively minor environmental impact compared with wine and beer. "While beer accounts for around 80.5% of alcohol consumption by volume, it emits only 62% of alcohol emissions," says Garnett. "Wine's volume share of alcohol consumption is 16% but its emissions contribute over 27% to the alcohol total. For spirits, the total volume of consumption is 3.5%, while its share of emissions is 6.7%."

But judging them by volume seems an unfair way to make a comparison. After all, how many people do you know who pop down to the pub for a pint of whisky? (OK, it's probably best not to answer that.) Judged by units of alcohol rather than by volume, Garnett says it isn't really possible to differentiate. (The paper does highlight the practice whereby some Scotch whisky is now shipped abroad for bottling only to be shipped back to the UK for consumption.) Overall, the message is that reducing alcohol consumption benefits both the health of the nation, as well as the environment. I'll drink to that.

Article Courtesy of The Guardian


The Guardian

Oct 17

Whiskygroup back in the black

Whisky company Glenmorangie - which distills whisky at Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain; Glen Moray, at Elgin and Ardbeg, in Islay - continued to pay compensation in 2006 for terminating distribution agreements after integrating distribution channels with those of the much larger Moet Hennessy Group.

This followed the acquisition of Broxburn-based Glenmorangie in early 2005 by Moet Hennessy Invetissements, part of the giant French luxury products group LVMH.

Compensation in 2006 was just £170,000, however, compared with almost £17million the year before, according to the whisky company's latest report and accounts just released by Companies House.

This helped Glenmorangie to return to profit last year after posting losses in 2005.

The accounts show that Glenmorangie made pre-tax profits of £7.31million against pre-tax losses of £3.94million in the nine months previously.

Turnover for 2006 was £68.44million, up from £58.21million in the nine months to the end of 2005.

The accounts also show the company's unnamed highest-paid director, thought to be chief executive Paul Neep, received £435,000 in basic salary, performance-related pay and benefits during the year, against £334,000 in the nine months to the end of 2005.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 16

Whisky and Formula One tycoon plans float

Vijay Mallya, the Indian tycoon behind the Kingfisher beer and airline businesses, has begun working on plans for a London listing of part or all of his spirits portfolio, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

He has asked advisers at Citi, the investment bank, to evaluate options for bringing Whyte & Mackay to the stock market, either as a stand-alone entity or as part of the billionaire businessman's larger United Spirits group.

The listing is unlikely to take place until next year, once Whyte & Mackay's operations have been more closely integrated into the United Spirits business. It is also unclear what valuation Mr Mallya would seek for the company.


However, it is understood that he would be looking for his London-listed drinks arm to command a price-earnings multiple similar to that of Diageo, the world's biggest Scotch distiller.

Mr Mallya paid £595m for Whyte & Mackay in May, notching up one of the largest-ever overseas acquisitions by an Indian company.

Mr Mallya, who is a member of India's parliament, would also be keen on acquiring more Scotch brands, although there are not thought to be any deals imminent.

United Spirits' brands include Bagpiper Whisky and McDowell's Celebration Rum, while the Whyte & Mackay deal added Isle of Jura and Vladivar Vodka to the Indian tycoon's stable.

Mr Mallya's takeover of the British group was controversial because of previous criticisms levelled by him at the Scotch industry, which has steadfastly opposed any relaxation on the description of Indian whisky, usually made using molasses rather than cereals.

Scotch whisky has historically been subject to punitive tariffs in India, although the burden was eased earlier this summer when duties were reduced.

The Scotch Whisky Association has since made conciliatory overtures towards Mr Mallya, and an application by him to join the association is understood to be being processed.

Since the Whyte & Mackay deal, Mr Mallya has become the newest owner of a Formula One team, buying the Spyker outfit formerly owned under a different name by the equally flamboyant tycoon Eddie Jordan.

Mr Mallya is involved in efforts to add India to the Formula One calendar, and believes he can transform Spyker, currently one of the also-rans of the grid, into a leading team.

Article Courtesy of The Business


The Business

Oct 15

Johnnie Walker's Goal: Quadruple Sales

Spirits giant Diageo told wholesalers at a recent meeting it plans to quadruple sales of its signature Scotch whisky within the next three years. Should Diageo pull that off, Johnnie Walker -- already the world's largest Scotch brand -- would become one of the largest premium-spirits offerings in the world. It would beat Absolut vodka by about 1 million cases annually and trounce rumrunner Captain Morgan by about 400,000 cases.

That blueprint is ambitious to say the least (one beverage-marketing consultant questioned whether Diageo could make enough whiskey to hit that goal even if it managed to sufficiently raise customer demand). And it would be reliant on a marketing surge in markets outside the U.S. But not everyone is counting out Johnnie Walker, which has thrived in spite of a tough market for brown spirits in general and for whiskey in particular in recent years.

Outsize growth
Sales of Johnnie Walker, including its flagship Red Label and Black Label, as well as pricier versions such as the hyperpremium Blue Label blend, rose 9.5% last year compared with 2% growth for the category, according to spirits trade magazine Impact. That's an acceleration from the 5% annual clip at which it's grown since 2000, compared with 1.4% growth for all Scotch in that period.

Of course, a quadrupling of sales in three years would require much larger annual increases, and, through a spokeswoman, Diageo said it wasn't prepared to offer any insight into how it intends to manage that.

Veteran spirits-marketing consultants, however, said such growth would be possible only with a huge marketing surge in relatively untapped, huge-upside markets such as China, India and Russia.

"They're going to have to flood the Chinese market and flood the Indian market if they want to get anywhere close to that," said veteran beverage marketing consultant Brian Sudano. He said he's curious about the supply. "There's not exactly a river of Scotch out there."

Absolut success
Arthur Shapiro, a former Seagram executive who has consulted on a number of major spirits brands, was a little more optimistic. "Years ago I consulted with Absolut in Russia, and it was very popular there because of its Western credentials," he said. "Just as the U.S. market has shifted from being a traditionally brown-spirits market to vodka, as it is now, you could see the opposite trend in Russia."

Diageo executives have said in recent interviews on other topics that they do see signs of a Scotch resurgence in the U.S., where explosions in vodka and tequila sales have generally come at the expense of whiskey and beer.

They're likely to continue to ramp up media spending, which rose about 20% to $12.6 million during 2006, including the brand's first TV push, a $2 million outlay on cable, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The brand has been riding the same multimedia "Keep Walking" campaign since 1999. Its agencies are Bartle Bogle Hegarty and AQKA.

Experts, however, attribute much of Johnnie Walker's success to clever tactics that aren't measured, such as a new engraved-bottle program designed to encourage gifting; the luxurious silk-lined boxes that hold rarified, serial-numbered bottles of Blue Label; and one of the more innovative online loyalty programs in the category.

"They've cracked the code on franchise identity," said Mr. Shapiro. "That [quadrupling] goal is a bit audacious, but they are very well-positioned right now."

Article Courtesy of Advertising Age


Advertising Age

Oct 12

The Magnificent Seven - BenRiach Single Cask Batch Four

The 4th batch of BenRiach 'Limited Release' Single Cask bottlings were unleashed towards the end of August 2007.

With a nod to the famous1960s epic Western, a 'magnificent seven' single cask bottlings are available on general release. The vintages range from 1975, the year that Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in the 'Thrilla in Manilla' and Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' topped the UK singles chart for 9 weeks, all the way through to 1994, when Edvard Munch's painting 'The Scream' was stolen from a museum in Norway and the arrival of 'Britpop' was confirmed with both Blur and Oasis topping the UK album charts with 'Parklife' and 'Definitely Maybe' respectively. Heady days.

Details of the vintage bottlings are as follows:

1975 cask 4451, 31YO, port pipe, lightly peated / port finish
1976 cask 4469, 30YO, port pipe, richly peated / port finish
1978 cask 4413, 29YO, Moscatel wine barrel, lightly peated / Moscatel finish
1978 cask 4416, 29YO, Tokaji wine barrel, lightly peated / Tokaji finish
1984 cask 4049, 22YO, port hogshead, richly peated / port finish
1985 cask 3766, 21YO, Oloroso sherry butt, richly peated / Oloroso finish
1994 cask 26, 13YO, port hogshead, richly peated / port finish

As with batches one, two and three, each vintage is hand numbered and bottled at cask strength, natural colour and non chill filtered.

We've also enhanced the packaging, introducing mocha chocolate colours with 'nirvana' gold foiling, raising the profile of the product on-shelf.

Live Forever.

Article Courtesy of BenRiach



Oct 11

Diageo unveils single malt flavour map

Drinks giant works with whisky writer Dave Broom to try and de-mystify category

Pubs are being invited to get behind a new whisky ‘taste map’ which will make it easier for drinkers to find their perfect single malt.

Diageo has teamed up with one of the UK’s leading drinks experts to demystify a category it believes intimidates pub-goers.

The drinks giant’s brands team worked together with award-winning spirits writer Dave Broom to devise the new system, which puts every major single malt in the UK market on a flavour scale, measuring its colour and smokiness. The aim is to show licensees and drinkers which single malts will fit in with their palette.

Dave Broom told the Publican that looking at malt whisky by flavour profile was much easier than analysing by region. “Regional malts do not have the same characteristics,” he said. “Breaking the category down into flavours makes it much easier to understand the similarities and differences between malts.

“This map will give licensees the opportunity to communicate their whisky range to consumers. When they are faced with a wall of 10 whiskies at the bar they panic and go for a default brand.”

The flavour map is being incorporated into Diageo’s award-winning esp training programme, and the drinks company hope that within a year over 8,000 licensees will have access to the flavour map.

Diageo has a huge portfolio of whiskies, ranging from blends such as Bell’s to single malts like Talisker.

Article Courtesy of The Publican


The Publican

Oct 11

Distillery proposal is given approval

Scotland's whisky industry received a major boost yesterday after councillors in Moray approved plans for the country's first new distillery in 30 years.

Councillors unanimously backed the application for the £40million development at Roseisle, near Burghead.

Drinks giant Diageo intends to build the new distillery next to the site of the company's existing maltings complex.

It first announced its ambitious plan for a new distillery earlier this year as part of a £100million expansion of its operations in Scotland.

Joint chairman of the environmental services committee, Councillor Allan Wright, yesterday described the new distillery as one of the biggest and most exciting developments in the area in recent times. He said: "This is the first new distillery for 30 years and Diageo has decided to come to Moray with it. I am delighted that Diageo has chosen Moray, which is at the heart of whisky country, for this significant investment."

A spokesman for the company said that winning the backing of Moray Council would allow them to move plans forward and keep them on schedule to opening in early 2009.

"We are naturally delighted that our planning application for the new malt distillery at Roseisle has been approved," said the spokesman.

"Roseisle has always been our preferred site.

"Today's decision allows us to move the plans forward another stage, keeping us on schedule to open in early 2009.

"We will continue to engage with the local community, media and local and national stakeholders to keep everyone abreast of our plans for Scotland's first major malt distillery for 30 years."

The single-malt spirit produced by the new distillery will be used in Diageo's range of blended Scotch whiskies. The new distillery will help meet demand in overseas markets and could create up to 25 jobs locally.

The application had attracted a number of objections, primarily on the grounds of noise pollution, odour emissions and increased traffic. As a condition of planning consent, a legal agreement will be drawn up between the council and Diageo to address issues relating to the local roads network.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 10

MP wants strict rules on scotch

Efforts to crack down on fake Scotch whisky are being backed by a North-east MP in Westminster.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Lib Dem MP Sir Robert Smith is supporting a proposal to bring in stricter definitions of Scotch whisky in UK law to help prevent counterfeiting.

Sir Robert said: "The aim would be to create legislation to curb the increase in foreign distillers and stop them passing off inferior products as authentic Scotch."

There are two distilleries within Sir Robert's West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency - Royal Lochnagar Distillery in Ballater and the Fettercairn Distillery in the Mearns.

Added to that, Speyside is one of the leading producers of Scotch whisky.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 09

Johnnie Walker’s McLaren deal still on track

Whisky brand Johnnie Walker has extended its sponsorship deal with Formula 1 team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes until 2012.

The new five-year deal will lengthen a tie-up that was first established in 2005. Vodafone will remain McLaren’s main commercial partner, holding naming rights over the team.

Diageo, which owns the Johnnie Walker brand, will be pleased over the timing of the sponsorship extension, coming as McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton gears up for an exciting head-to-head with team-mate and world champion Fernando Alonso for this year’s title.

Hamilton recently fronted a responsible drinking advertising campaign run by Diageo at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

McLaren said that the new agreement will see an “increased level” of branding and financial support from Diageo.

Ben Anderson, marketing director of Johnnie Walker, said: “Over its first two years, the partnership has been a powerful platform to drive brand equity and deliver Diageo’s responsible drinking messages and the extended sponsorship clearly demonstrates Diageo’s resulting confidence in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team as partners for the future.”

Ron Dennis, team principal at McLaren, added: “Through their responsible drinking campaign, Johnnie Walker has activated a wide range of high profile and innovative programmes involving the team since our partnership began in 2005.”

Article Courtesy of

Oct 08

Moves to tighten UK protection for scotch whisky

Steps to protect Scotch whisky are being put in place by the Westminster Government, it has emerged.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Hilary Benn has announced that a consultation will take place on bringing in tighter definitions of Scotch whisky in UK law.

Such a move could help support action against counterfeiting in the industry, which has exports worth more than £2billion to the Scottish economy.

The consultation will take place later this year, and new laws could be in place by spring 2008.

Mr Benn said: "This consultation exercise will take us another step closer to strengthening the UK legislation that the Scotch Whisky Association has been telling us they need to help them protect Scotch whisky in export markets.

"The proposals will define tightly the descriptions applied to Scotch whisky - for example single malt or blended grain.

"They will also tightly define its geographical provenance - such as Highland or Islay - and ensure that if the product uses the name of a distillery then it must also come from that distillery."

The proposed regulations will define five different categories of Scotch whisky - single malt, single grain, blended, blended malt and blended grain.

They also set out five geographical areas - Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Campbeltown and Islay - with whiskies only being allowed to be labelled as coming from these areas if they have been made entirely in the region.

Whiskies will be banned from being labelled with the name of a distillery if they are not a product of that distillery. In addition the regulations will require all Scotch whisky to be wholly matured in Scotland and will prohibit export of single malt Scotch whisky unless it has been bottled and labelled.

Secretary of State for Scotland Des Browne said: "Scotch Whisky exports are worth over £2billion to the Scottish economy each year."

Scottish Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: "The Scottish Government has been working very closely with Government departments to establish the best way of providing tighter definitions of Scotch, in order to protect consumers and protect the product."

Gavin Hewitt, the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association said: "Scotch whisky is vital to the Scottish and UK economy, with exports of £2.5billion a year, supporting over 65,000 jobs.

"These proposals will deliver significant benefits to the industry and the wider economy, helping to protect, promote and grow Scotch whisky globally.

"Comprehensive and consolidated legislation will ensure Scotch whisky has the best possible protection from unfair practices and that consumers can receive clear information about what they are buying."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 05

Thresher shuns regionality to push malt whisky by flavour

Wine Rack is to merchandise its malt whiskies by taste.

In a move to demystify the category, the Thresher Group shops will divide the updated, 40-strong malt range into three flavour profiles - sweet and light, fruity and rich, and smoky and peaty.

The traditional approach of merchandising malts by region can, says spirits buyer Sam Hanvey, be confusing.

Hanvey said: "If it comes from a particular place you expect it to have particular attributes. It makes it easier to shop if you understand these flavours. Region is an important aspect but most people don't know what it means and it makes it really difficult to navigate their way around."

An entire bay dedicated to malts will be introduced in 279 Wine Rack stores from this week. "We're giving it a shop-within-a-shop feel with a premium look," Hanvey added.

The largest flavour profile will be fruity and rich, consisting of 20 malts. The sweet and light and smoky and peaty profiles will each feature 10 malts.

The nationwide roll-out follows a trial in 80 Wine Rack stores earlier this year when malt sales grew 8 per cent, ahead of a market which is up almost 6 per cent by value.

Shelf-edge barkers will feature tasting notes written by whisky expert Dave Broom, who helped develop the classifications, and a newly-launched or rare malt will be on price promotion every six weeks. This month, First Drinks Brands' Monkey Shoulder is in the spotlight with a price tag of £17.99.

From January, branch managers will have training hosted by master distillers on specific malts. Wine Rack has plans to review its range of blended and exported whiskies at the beginning of next year, Hanvey said.

Article Courtesy of Off Licence News


Off Licence News

Oct 03

Whisky still snatched by thieves

An Investigation was under way today after a landmark whisky still was stolen from a North-east town.

The still had been donated to the Dufftown community and was being used as the ornamental centrepiece of a floral display near the entrance to the village.

The still was stolen around 10.20pm on Wednesday, September 26, in the Station Road area of the town, near the Glenfiddich Distillery.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Oct 01

Chavez calls time on whisky boom

Venezuelans are to face a limit on the amount of luxury goods they can import, says President Hugo Chavez.
He singled out the high consumption of whisky as an example of the way consumerism was harming society.

In 2006, Venezuelans drank 106m bottles of Scotch whisky - almost four per person, and nearly 10% of UK exports.

Mr Chavez said he was ashamed of this "excessive" consumption and would curb importers' access to dollars for purchasing whisky and other luxuries.

Rum idea?

Despite the president's brand of socialism, consumption of luxury goods is on the increase, the BBC's James Ingham reports from Caracas.

A strong economy, an overvalued currency and high inflation are leading to conspicuous spending and high demand for goods seen as status symbols.

Speaking on his weekly television and radio show, Mr Chavez said he would limit the amount of dollars available to importers, who have to apply to the government to change local currency at official rates.

This measure is unlikely to affect Mr Chavez's support base, generally the poorest people in the country, who more often drink beer and rum, our correspondent says.

His better-off, whisky-drinking opponents, however, are likely to be angered by the move, he adds.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News
September 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Sep 29

Success of whisky industry sees risein Islay ferry trips

Additional sailings are to be provided by Caledonian MacBrayne to meet the demands of Islay's burgeoning whisky industry.

It follows approaches from island distillers who reported unprecedented levels of demand and increasing production levels and called for extra carrying capacity to get the whisky to mainland outlets.

CalMac has now confirmed additional sailings from October 21 when there will be a two-vessel run to Islay to meet the extra traffic demands.

The two-vessel service will operate until the end of the winter timetable next March, except for two key periods when a single vessel service will apply.

This is due to CalMac's overhaul requirements between November 10-24 and January 26 to February 16, inclusive.

Fay Harris, CalMac's regional manager, said yesterday: "Clearly, the whisky industry is having a very good spell with lots of extra traffic being generated.

"While this is obviously very welcome, it creates an additional demand for space which we can only meet at this time by creating additional capacity on extra sailings. We have consulted with the distillers and local hauliers to address their specific concerns and the timetable we have devised should enable them to meet their production requirements."

She added: "We have been able to dovetail our own vessel overhaul programme to coincide with the traffic pressure points.

"In addition to meeting the needs of the whisky industry we are of the view that the increased frequency of sailings and the additional capacity this provides, will benefit the whole island."

The move has been welcomed by distillers with Campbell Evans, the Scottish Whisky Association's director of government and consumer affairs, commenting: "The industry has had helpful discussions with CalMac and the Scottish Government in recent months and the improvements to capacity serving Islay are a big step forward. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to ensure the service is able to support the growing international demand for Islay whiskies, which is so integral to the local economy."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Sep 28

Whisky bottle sells for £29,400

A bottle of whisky has sold for almost £30,000 at auction in Glasgow.
The Bowmore single malt whisky, believed to have been bottled on Islay about 1850, sold to an anonymous bidder at McTear's auctioneers.

It is the oldest bottle of Bowmore known to be in existence and fetched £29,400 for its former owner.

The recommended price was £20,000. Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd lost out in its attempt to return the bottle to its "true spiritual home".

The hand blown pale green glass bottle and original cardboard carton in which it has been stored had been in good condition until one week before the sale.

The delicate driven cork had dropped from the neck of the bottle into the whisky itself, leaving this extremely rare bottle requiring some renovation for the purchaser.

Glen Moore, Bowmore brand director, said: "We'd known about the sale of the Mutter bottle for some time and had our heart set on bringing it back to its true spiritual home.

"We bid beyond the value limit we had set ourselves but unfortunately the winning bidder went beyond that.

"There are some serious whisky collectors around the world."

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Sep 28

A taste of success

Not your stereotypical single malt drinker, Kate Wright, 28, travels around the globe educating people about whisky as part of her job at Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown. Kate reflects on the various stages that have led to her current post as sales and marketing executive, which incorporates the role of "whisky taster".

"Having studied languages at university, I wanted a job that involved travel and would allow me to use the language skills I had gained. When I began at Springbank Distillery five years ago, I was working in exporting and was in charge of southern Europe as I had studied French and Hispanic studies. After my first year at the distillery, the sales manager left and I took on new markets, becoming jointly responsible for all sales and marketing activities."

On joining the distillery, Kate gained practical experience as part of her training to understand the whole process of whisky production, working in the malt barns and still house, which she found extremely useful.

Kate explains: "Gaining the practical experience provided me with a valuable understanding of the entire distilling process and has helped me in my current role.

"As sales and marketing executive, my job entails travelling to whisky festivals and fairs around the world. In February of this year, I was in Japan for five days, and then New Zealand, which was hosting its first ever whisky festival, where I offered specialist whisky tastings.

"The audience for tastings can range from 15 to 150 people and I usually bring along five or six different whiskies to sample. I begin by talking about Springbank, giving a brief history of the distillery and promoting what makes the Springbank malt so distinctive. I then move on to the tasting, talking through the stages of nosing and tasting and explaining the varying aromas.

"The other aspect of my job is based in Campbeltown, showing people around the distillery. I am originally from Campbeltown and find it very rewarding to promote my home town, telling visitors about its heritage and history. They are not just buying whisky, but are taking in the whole Scottish experience and all that accompanies it as the whisky industry is so specific to Scotland.

"What I also enjoy about my role is that, working in a small company, the job has a lot of variety and I get involved in several areas at the distillery. I particularly enjoy travelling and meeting a broad range of people, although sitting around at airports is one of the drawbacks."

Looking to the future, Kate says: "I want to keep doing what I am doing as I enjoy my job and find it very rewarding. I want to continue to promote Campbeltown as a whisky producing region, and with the opening of the new Glengyle Distillery in 2004 and its first bottling scheduled for 2012, it is an exciting time. There will be more choice to offer and promote, which I am very much looking forward to."

The whisky industry is often perceived as a male-dominated area. Kate believes that, in certain ways, this is still the case, but that there have been noticeable changes, both in terms of women working in the industry and those attending the tastings.

"Overall, whisky is still a male-dominated industry, particularly in terms of men working within the sector. However, there are more and more women appearing at tastings and whisky festivals - and not just with their husbands or boyfriends. They still only ever make up a maximum of a quarter of the audience, though.

"It is also a widely held belief that women prefer lighter tasting whiskies due to their feminine palate. However, I have found quite the opposite during tasting sessions, with many women preferring smoother, more heavily peated malts. Whether male or female, it all comes down to personal taste.

"When I started out in the industry as a female of 23, I think some men thought it was a bit of a novelty and would sometimes try to catch me out with a tricky question during my tasting sessions.

"On the plus side, though, what better way to immediately tackle all the stereotypes that whisky is an old man's drink than a tasting hosted by a woman. It makes people question their perceptions before the tasting has even begun.

"I would say that during my five years at Springbank Distillery, however, the industry is definitely changing and more and more women are working in the industry - both tasting and making whisky."

For more information on The Whisky Coast, visit

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Sep 26

The Balvenie whisky in Christmas marketing drive

The Balvenie is investing in a strong marketing campaign in the run up to Christmas as part of a programme to build brand awareness and underpin its premium Single Malt Scotch Whisky credentials.

Launching in September, the activity, which includes luxury brand partnerships, sponsorship, tasting sessions and whisky masterclasses at selected venues and events, has been created to engage with and raise the profile of the brand amongst discerning whisky drinkers.

“The Balvenie has always valued and maintained a high standard of craftsmanship. Our partners identify with these values where traditional skills have been retained to achieve the highest skills and quality in their field. By working closely with brands who hold similar values we are reinforcing the craftsmanship associated with The Balvenie with drinkers,” explains Geraldine Roche, senior brand manager for The Balvenie at First Drinks Brands.

The Balvenie partners include Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes, where customers will be poured a dram at bespoke fittings and British institution Geo F Trumper barbers where customers will be able to enjoy The Balvenie whilst receiving a hot shave.

Other activity within the programme includes whisky masterclasses hosted by The Balvenie Global Ambassador, David Mair, at exclusive National Trust events around the country, including The Vyne in Hampshire and Cliveden in Buckinghamshire.

The Balvenie will be served as the official whisky of the Alfred Dunhill Links Pro-Am Golf Championship at Carnoustie Golf Course in October and tasting sessions will also be held at exclusive private members clubs in London and at top yacht clubs on the south coast over the coming months.

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail


Talking Retail

Sep 24

Slainte Rebus!

Fans of Britain’s most renowned detective are being given the chance to blend fiction with reality following the donation of a bottle of Highland Park’s limited edition Rebus20 single malt Scotch whisky at The Oxford Bar in Edinburgh.

Ian Rankin, Sunday Times’ No. 1 Best Selling Author, has given one bottle of Rebus’ own whisky to the Inspector’s favourite watering hole, making it the only pub to serve the limited edition dram and with no set price, visitors can taste the whisky by making a donation to Rankin’s favourite charity – Special Needs Information Point (SNIP).

Highland Park launched the limited edition Rebus20 single malt Scotch whisky, which has been specially selected by Ian Rankin, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Inspector Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses.

Just over 150 bottles from the 20 year old Highland Park single cask are being produced and the exclusive money-can’t-buy whisky will only be available to fans of Rebus and Highland Park through a series of competitions.

The best selling crime author chose the coveted whisky when he visited the Highland Park distillery in Orkney last November as the ultimate drink for his whisky loving detective.

Rankin said: “By donating a bottle to The Oxford Bar, fans of the character can now join me to toast the anniversary with an extra-special dram of Rebus’ favourite single malt whisky, whilst making a donation to charity.

“The Rebus20 is just like its namesake – dark and complex with a long finish – and I am sure Rebus will join in the celebrations on one of his regular visits to the Oxford Bar.”

Jason Craig, Global Controller, Highland Park, said: “We are delighted to be part of Ian Rankin’s celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of one of literatures most famous detectives.

“It is fantastic that Ian is donating a bottle of this exceptional single cask whisky to The Oxford Bar and not only raising money for an great cause but also letting fans be a part of the celebrations.”

Established in 1798 on Orkney, Highland Park is one of the most remote Scotch whisky distilleries in the world. At the heart of this single malt is its extreme island location and exposure to the elements.

Rebus20 complements Highland Park’s core range, which includes 12, 15, 18, 25 and 30 year old single malts. Highland Park is available online at from multiple retailers and supermarkets throughout the UK and at whisky specialists nationwide.

Article Courtesy of Highland Park


Highland Park

Sep 21

Balblair Ensures that it’s all in Good Taste at London Fashion Week

Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky was the toast of London Fashion Week on Tuesday night at the glamorous Balblair sponsored Mackintosh after show party hosted by star designer Erdem Moralioglu.

Guests sipped on delicious vintage drams and whisky cocktails at one of the city’s most high profile venues, Paper Club - whose regulars include Helena Christensen and Keira Knightley - and toasted one of the most talked about collections of the season.

The who’s who of the fashion world relaxed after the evening’s catwalk show which featured the inspired collaboration between London based design talent Erdem and the iconic Mackintosh. Like Bablair, Mackintosh is a brand built on true craftsmanship, quality, style and heritage and the latest collection from Erdem was no exception - impressing audiences with inspired new contemporary and stylish takes on classic outerwear.

Balblair was relaunched in March with a departure for the brand from traditional whisky ‘tartan and shortbread’ images to a refreshingly contemporary design with every detail echoing the quality of the whisky inside. In July of this year Balblair and Mackintosh launched their partnership and last night’s event was the first of many collaborations for 2007 and beyond.

The Balblair Mackintosh relationship is one of a selection of Balblair partnerships with Scotland’s most prolific and esteemed cultural talent – with others including Timorous Beasties, Canongate Books, and Jolomo. In each partnership the brand will work with the creative companies in a number of innovative new ways and will publicise each in the single malt’s key core markets.

Margaret Mary Clarke, Brand Manager of Balblair commented:

“Quality, innovation and heritage are crucial to us at Balblair, which is what makes our partnership with Mackintosh such a good fit. The latest collection from Erdem is stunning and we were delighted to help ensure that all guests at the after show party were able to raise a toast to him and his fantastic collection!”

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Sep 18

Talks on meeting whisky demands

Farmers, maltsters and distillers are to hold discussions later this year on how they can meet demand for whisky from established and new markets.
Colin West, of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, said the industries have to look at the supply chain for the next 20 years.

He said there were increasing demands for the Scottish product from China and India.

Mr West said: "From a distilling point of view things are looking quite rosy."

Commenting on reports of Scottish arable farmers being paid their highest prices for malting barley in 10 years, he said maltsters would pay more but their costs were dictated by prices they get from distillers.

Last week, National Farmers Union of Scotland cereals chairman John Picken said growers were receiving a price for malting barley closer to what they had long been calling for.

Prices vary, but the highest is reported to be £200 per ton.

Mr Picken said the prices were welcomed.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Sep 17

Glenfarclas launches The Family Casks

– A unique collection of 43 Single Cask whiskies, with one for each year from 1952 to 1994.

Speyside, September 2007 – Family owned Glenfarclas Distillery formally launched The Family Casks, an exclusive collection of 43 vintage dated Single Cask Highland Malt Scotch Whiskies, at the Caledonian Club, London, on the 13th September 2007. The Glenfarclas Distillery, with over 52000 casks currently maturing in its traditional dunnage warehouses, is in the enviable position of having stock in cask from every year from 1952 to the current day. The Family Casks is a collection of the best single casks from the distillery’s warehouses, bottled at cask strength and at natural colour. The collection comprises 43 different bottlings, with one for each year from 1952 to 1994. The Family Casks are unique there is no other known collection of old and rare whiskies that covers 43 consecutive years from the same distillery.

Glenfarclas is renowned for producing Single Malt in a traditional Speyside style with a heavy sherry influence. Sherry casks are well represented within the collection. As John L.S. Grant, Chairman and 5th generation of the family that own and manage Glenfarclas, explained, ‘Good wood is vital in maturation, and the resulting richness and sweetness from sherry casks is delightful’.

Unlike mainstream bottlings, which are normally offered at a reduced strength of 40% vol., The Family Casks have been bottled at cask strength. During maturation the strength of the whisky reduces slowly, thanks to ‘the angel’s share’. Cask strength is the natural strength after maturation, hence each bottle in the collection is presented at a different strength, varying from 46.0% vol. for Cask 4913 from 1961 to 65.1% vol. for Cask 1316 from 1968. Glenfarclas was the first to market a cask strength whisky, with the Glenfarclas ‘105’ at 60% vol. in 1968.

The Family Casks have also been bottled at natural colour, with the bespoke clear flint bottle, and oak gift box, designed to highlight the variety of colours within the collection. Accompanying each bottle is a booklet with a history of the distillery, written by John L.S. Grant, and tasting notes prepared by George S. Grant, Brand Ambassador, and the 6th generation of the family.

At the remarkable tasting guests were first introduced, by John L.S. Grant, to a selection from the range, with one dram from each of the five decades represented. As Mr Grant explained ‘By tasting a selection of whiskies from The Family Casks, one is able to explore not only the differences between the casks, but the distillery, and my family’s history’. After the formal tasting guests were invited to sample a selection of the other 38 whiskies from the collection. Not surprisingly, many of those younger than 56 chose to sample Glenfarclas distilled during the year of their birth. As Robert Ransom, Director of Sales & Marketing, observed, ‘If you know anyone who was born, or married, in the last 55 years, a bottle from The Family Casks collection makes an ideal present for them!’.

Glenfarclas, which was named Distiller of the Year in 2006 by Whisky Magazine, focus on Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, with a core range which includes the 10 Years Old, 15 Years Old, 21 Years Old, 25 Years Old, 30 Years Old and the ‘105’ Cask strength. The Family Casks is the first new release of Glenfarclas in the UK, since the 50 Years Old in 2005. As George S. Grant commented, ‘To launch 43 single casks at once must be a first. It has been a big project for us, and almost everybody in the company has been involved with this release. We have however had a lot of fun, looking through our warehouses to select a cask from each year for The Family Casks was particularly enjoyable’.

The Family Casks have been offered to Glenfarclas’ network of distributors across Europe, Asia and Canada, including sole UK distributor Pol Roger Ltd (see contact details below). Interest in the collection has been intense, with two bars quick to order a complete set of 43 bottles; Bar Nemo in Tokyo, and closer to home, The Mash Tun in Aberlour. Prices for The Family Casks vary from £80 for the 1994 to £1145 for the 1952 at the distillery’s visitor centre.

Article Courtesy of Glenfarclas



Sep 15

Whisky firms pay more for barley

The whisky industry is paying its highest prices for barley in 10 years, according to the National Farmers Union of Scotland.

Prices vary, but the highest is reported to be £200 per ton.

Cereals chairman John Picken said farmers were receiving a price for malting barley closer to what they had long been calling for.

Farmers favouring food crops such as wheat and poor weather had reduced the acreage for barley to a 30-year low.

About 80% of growers in Scotland are contracted and are paid a prearranged price.

However, prices of £115 up to £200 per ton are being paid. Previously, farmers received £70-90 per ton.

Mr Picken said the increase was welcomed.

He said: "For arable farmers it is a catch-up situation.

"The prices on offer show you what malters can pay when pushed."

Mr Picken said that for 10 years supply and demand had been in the whisky industry's favour, but this year had swung towards the growers.

He added: "From a bottle of whisky retailing at £15, only about 7.5p was relating to the barley grower. Now it is nearer 15 to 20p."

Mr Picken said this was an improvement, but still low.

The cereals chairman said malting barley could be sourced from elsewhere, however, the whisky industry needed Scottish grain in line with its quality assurance.

The Scotch Whisky Association said the industry supported Scottish farmers.

A spokesman said: "Various factors, including adverse weather conditions, are impacting on the world cereals market and one of the knock-on effects is higher malting barley prices.

"As the whisky industry grows worldwide, distillers will continue to support Scottish cereal growers whenever possible."

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Sep 14

Elgin malt whisky stalwart steps down

The managing director of Elgin-based malt whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail has retired from the post after 14 years.

Ian Urquhart, who has just turned 60 and has been 40 years with the family-owned business, will continue part-time as a non-executive director, with responsibility for a range of special projects.

Mr Urquhart's brothers, Michael and David, who were directors at the company, have become joint managing directors. The firm said that, to support them, the four associate directors - Stephen Rankin, Neil Urquhart, Ewen Mackintosh and Derek Hancock - would assume additional responsibilities.

Michael, 52, and David, 54, said: "We began our preparations for this change in structure more than 18 months ago with the appointment of four associate directors and investment in a comprehensive management training programme."

The firm describes itself as the world's leading malt whisky specialist. It also owns Benromach Distillery.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Sep 14

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston Adds Sparkle to Old Pulteney’s Summer of Sailing

Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky is celebrating the success of their summer sailing sponsorship programme, which saw more than 6,000 drams of Old Pulteney enjoyed at five high profile sailing regattas throughout the UK and welcomed Sir Robin Knox-Johnston as an ambassador for the brand.

Known as the Genuine Maritime Malt Old Pulteney has developed an exciting sponsorship calendar of key sailing events including:

  • Old Pulteney IRC Scottish Championships, Inver Kip, 9-10/06/07
  • JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, Cowes, 23/06/07
  • Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy, 30/6 – 01/07/07
  • Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week, Cornwall, 11-18/08/07
  • Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta, Dartmouth, 29-31/08/07

Old Pulteney supported each event by providing gifts for prizes as well as financial support and delicious drams for both participants and spectators. This year was extra special as Old Pulteney was very proud to welcome their ambassador solo round the world sailor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to two sponsored events, the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta. At both regattas Sir Robin enjoyed number of activities – from leading a whisky tasting to launching Old Pulteney’s spectacular fireworks display – which created a buzz in the sailing and local communities.

Iain Baxter, Senior Brand Manager of Old Pulteney commented:

“We believe it is important for Old Pulteney to have close links with its heritage and are delighted to support several high profile regattas that span the length and breadth of the UK. Each is unique in its location and character but all five events enjoyed high numbers of attendees and competitive sailing, despite some adverse weather conditions. This year went exceptionally well with the involvement of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston joining Old Pulteney in Dartmouth and Cowes. Old Pulteney has now firmly established its involvement within the sailing community and we look forward to developing our programme even further in the years to come.”

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said:

“I am very grateful to Old Pulteney for all their support, which they have given to me throughout 2007, it is wonderful to work with a brand that understands the nature and demands of sailing, especially when competing in the Velux 5 Oceans Round the World Race. I was particularly delighted to attend the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta with Old Pulteney. This is a wonderful regatta and I thoroughly welcomed the opportunity to watch some fine sailing with a delightful dram of Old Pulteney.”

Basil Williams, Chairman of the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta:

“The Dartmouth regatta was a great success again this year, with fantastic sailing conditions for all those who competed and for the thousands of spectators. To host a regatta as large as Dartmouth requires financial support and I would like to thank Old Pulteney for their generosity. It is fantastic to have the support of a company like Old Pulteney that has so much passion for the sport.”

Old Pulteney has a long history relating to the maritime way of life. The Old Pulteney distillery is the most northerly distillery on the mainland UK located in the coastal town of Wick, which at one point was the busiest fishing port in Europe. The port has kindly lent Old Pulteney its distinctive taste with traces of a mineral ‘saltiness’.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Sep 11

Malawian diplomat gets a flavour of Scotland

A Senior Malawian diplomat and his wife were given a warm welcome to Scotland yesterday when First Minister Alex Salmond invited them to visit a north-east malt whisky purveyor.

The Malawi High Commissioner, Dr Francis Moto, and his wife Elisabeth spent the afternoon with Mr Salmond at the single malt whisky specialist at Huntly.

Last night Dr Moto, who had requested a visit to the north-east during his stay, said it had been a privilege to spend time in Mr Salmond's "beautiful" Gordon constituency. The group were given a tour of Duncan Taylor and Co, based at Upperkirkgate, Huntly, by the company's managing director, Ewan Shand, who said it was an honour to play a part in the visit.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Salmond said it had been a great opportunity to give Dr Moto a taste of Scotland.

He said: "Scotland is proud of its association with Malawi, and so I am delighted to welcome the high commissioner on a visit to my constituency.

"I know the high commissioner was keen to meet me in the north-east, and thought where better to get a flavour of Scotland than at a distillery."

Dr Moto said he had enjoyed "every moment so far" of his visit to Scotland and said he wanted to

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Sep 10

Diageo team distils the old and new as £100m strategy lifts off

It is rare for a company's financial and accounting team to a have major role in shaping its future corporate strategy. However, the finance department at Diageo Scotland has re-written tradition.

Led by finance director Stuart Lorimer, a former KPMG accountant, the group's 65-strong finance team has moved beyond poring over and authenticating historical data to thinking about broader business and environmental issues to become instrumental in major strategic decisions. These include the recent one to embark on a £100m upgrade of the group's Scotch whisky production facilities.

Diageo - formed 10 years ago from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan - already operates 27 distilleries across Scotland.

But Lorimer and his team recently persuaded the company's board of directors of the need to invest £40m in a state-of-the-art distillery at Roseisle near the Moray coast, and a further £60m in enhanced production and supply facilities across Scotland.

A planning application for the distillery was lodged with Highland Council last week.

The distillery, to be located between Forres and Elgin, is expected to have an annual capacity of 10 million litres, and is expected to be among the most efficient and environmentally-friendly distilleries in Scotland when it opens in 2009.

Only two others are capable of those levels of volume - William Grant & Sons' Glenfiddich distillery on Speyside, and Takara Shuzo's Tomatin distillery.

When Diageo decided it was going to have to step up Scotch whisky production capacity as a result of strong predicted demand from emerging markets such as China and India, the Scotland-based finance team was asked to look at various ways of achieving this.

The company has an estimated 40% of the global market for Scotch whisky, and owns brands including Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bell's and Buchanan's in the blended category, and Oban, Talisker, Caol Isla, Lagavulin, Cragganmore, Glenkinchie and Cardhu in the higher-margin malts category.

It also has a 34% stake in Glenmorangie's parent, Moet Hennessy.

One option for Diageo was to "sweat" the existing asset base harder, for example by running some of its existing distilleries on a 24/7 basis.

However, there turned out to be a number of negatives associated with this route, including that it would have put stresses on the equipments and have had repercussions for health and safety, labour and the environment.

For example, shift-working would have caused labour shortages at some plants given their remote locations. There would also have been insufficient down time for repairs and maintenance and the effluent discharged by scores of hyperactive smaller plants could have created environmental concerns.

Other options examined by Lorimer included constructing a malt distillery capable of producing some 10 million litres of Scotch per year on a brownfield site and building two distilleries, each with annual capacities of some five million litres each.

George Kerr, Diageo Scotland's commercial finance manager for spirit supply, said: "What we did was to evaluate the strength and flexibility of the existing asset base, evaluate how readily a new distillery might be integrated with the existing supply chain, and to integrate environmental considerations into our net-present-value calculations."

He added that Diageo Scotland chief Bryan Donaghie has a particular mission to see the company's carbon footprint reduced.

In the end, the finance team recommended that Diageo should pursue the option of constructing a single malt distillery, together with recommendations that the London-based company expand its grain distillery at Cameronbridge, Fife, enhance its bottling capacity at Shieldhall in Glasgow, and enlarge its warehousing and storage capacity across central Scotland.

The Scotland finance team's thinking played a big part in shaping the decision-making at Diageo's London head office, where the likes of chief executive Paul Walsh and chairman Lord Blyth were involved in the process.

Kerr said: "Our contribution was to produce an analysis showing the net present value opportunity of opening a new distillery of this capacity, and an evaluation of the downside risks associated with the forecasts for growth in whisky sales not coming true."

However, Lorimer stressed: "The decisions are still made by the business. Our role is to ensure it is based on fact-based analysis - not gut feel."

Lorimer said he is now looking to expand the Scotland-based finance team with the appointment of five further finance professionals, following eight recent appointments. The new recruits are needed following internal promotions and the creation of roles within the department, together with business expansion.

Lorimer said: "We're looking for people that want their accounting ability to make a real difference to the company. We challenge our accountants to think as business leaders, understand the cost drivers, customer requirements, market pressures, and respond effectively. It can be a steep learning curve."

Last week, Paul Walsh hailed a "renaissance" in the Scotch whisky market as he unveiled a 6% rise in pre-tax profits to £2.16bn, and impressed investors by raising targets for future growth.

Johnnie Walker was the star performer in the Scotch category, with sales in the international division (which excludes North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific) rising 18% and Asia Pacific sales rising 22%.

Johnnie Walker is the world's best-selling Scotch.

Lorimer's department is responsible for a £700m per annum cost base that incorporates distillation, maturation, product development and packaging. Many of the assets they supervise were once owned by Distillers Company Limited, IDV, Grand Metropolitan, and Seagram.

They also take care of the Bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland, formerly owned by Pernod Ricard.

Diageo Scotland last year produced 52 million cases of spirits, 37 million of which were Scotch whisky. Non-Scotch brands produced in Scotland include Gordon's, Tanqueray, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan.

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Sep 06

Glenlivet - the definite article

Only one Scotch whisky has the word "the" in its title protected by law and that is The Glenlivet.

The 1800s saw many distilleries from the area include the word Glenlivet in their names, but John Gordon Smith, who had succeeded his father at the distillery, took action to protect his whisky and its name. His opponents fought back and the case went to court.

In 1884, a judge ruled that others could use the name Glenlivet, as that was the area in which they were based, but only one could call itself "The" Glenlivet.

Alan Winchester, malt distilleries manager at Chivas Brothers, said: "To this day, The Glenlivet retains the fruity, pineapple notes and distinctive softness first associated with illegal Glenlivet spirit of the 19th century.

"The smuggling community made a huge impact on Scottish single malt whisky production and we have learned a lot from their original methods of distillation."

He added: "Our customers want to know about the whisky and its history and this place simply teems with it."

The Glenlivet is the top-selling malt whisky in the US and the third-best-seller in the world. More than 4million bottles are produced each year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Sep 06

Michael Jackson Obituary

The enduring legacy of Michael Jackson, who has died aged 65, will be that he elevated beer from the belief that it is a simple refresher to its true status as one of the world's great alcoholic drinks, with a long tradition and deep roots in the history and culture of many societies. Jackson was a tireless writer and lecturer. He showed to the millions who read his books, heard his talks or watched his television programmes and videos that beer comes in many styles and is often made with the addition of fruit, herbs and spices alongside malt and hops. He broke beer free from the narrow concepts of ale and lager and revealed the myri ad varieties available, some - such as the lambic beers of Belgium or the sati beers of Finland - so obscure they might have disappeared but for his enthusiastic support.

Jackson was born in Wetherby, Yorkshire, and he remained proud of his Yorkshire stock, though it was a stock that had a major input from the Jewish community of Lithuania. His grandfather, Chaim Jakowitz, had emigrated to Yorkshire from Kaunas. His son, Isaac, married a gentile, Margaret, from Redcar, and they had twin sons - Michael's brother died shortly after birth - and a daughter, Heather. Isaac Jakowitz anglicised his name to Jack Jackson, unaware that a popular band leader and radio disc jockey shared the same name.

Isaac/Jack continued the musical connection by naming his son Michael Jackson, which was to cause amusement in later life with the arrival of the American singer. Jackson used it to good effect: he started his TV series, The Beer Hunter, with a piece to camera in which, wearing one white glove, he said he was called Michael Jackson but he didn't sing, didn't drink Pepsi but wrote about beer.

The Jackson family moved to Leeds in the hard postwar years. They lived briefly above a fish and chip shop, but moved first to a council house and then, with Jack, working as a truck driver, bought their own home.

The young Michael quickly developed a taste for rich home cooking, inspired by Jewish and eastern European traditions. He was to put this love of food to good use in later years when his books matched beer with food and recommended beers to use in the preparation of a range of dishes. He went to King James grammar school in Almondbury and from there became a trainee reporter on the Huddersfield Examiner.

Jackson's writing style was deeply influenced by his early journalism - short sentences shorn of adornment. Newspaper work at that time was a heady mix of hard graft and hard drinking, and Jackson's devotion to good beer stemmed from that period. However far he travelled, he always waxed lyrical about the pleasures of a pint of Taylor's Landlord or other good Yorkshire brews.

He went to London, where he worked on the Daily Herald, the then TUC-owned newspaper. He moved to a small and unimpressive journal called World's Press News, which he transformed into Campaign, a weekly paper that covered the developing sectors of advertising and marketing and which stood out from the crowd as a result of its fresh and scintillating design. In 1976, when another writer failed to deliver a promised manuscript, Jackson stepped in and wrote The English Pub. The bug had bitten. A year later he produced the book that made his reputation, the World Guide to Beer.

Those of us who naively thought that Britain brewed ale, the Irish made stout, while the rest of the world produced lager were forced to rethink our ideas. Beers brewed by Trappist monks, sour red beers, spiced wheat beers and lambic and gueuze beers made by spontaneous fermentation put Belgium on the map.

It was a theme Jackson was never to abandon. His book The Great Beers of Belgium ran to five editions, the last published in 2006. The success of the World Guide turned Jackson into a full-time beer writer. He launched what proved to be the first of seven editions of his Pocket Beer Book, which divided the world into beer-producing countries and then gave detailed tasting notes of the best brews within each country.

Readers were regaled by descriptions that lifted beer from the mundane and informed them that malt could be biscuity, juicy and roasty and have hints of toffee and butterscotch, while hops added citrus, perfumy, spicy and peppery notes as well as bitterness.

Jackson's reputation led to many invitations to visit the United States, where he discovered a new world of beer. He became a champion of the new wave of American beers and made many tours of the country to conduct beer tastings. In 1990 he reached a new audience with his TV series The Beer Hunter, six programmes that described the beers of the world's great brewing countries. Shown first on Channel 4 in Britain and the Discovery Channel in the US, it has been endlessly repeated worldwide.

Having conquered beer, Jackson turned his attention to malt whisky, inspired by the fact that whisky is a distillation of ale without hops. He rapidly achieved even greater recognition as a whisky writer. His Malt Whisky Companion (1989) is the bestselling book on the subject and has been accompanied by the Guide to Single Malt Scotch and Scotland and its Whiskies (2001). His last book, called simply Whisky, was published in 2005 and has already won five international awards.

Jackson was garlanded by many honours. They include the Glenfiddich trophy and five Glenfiddich awards, the André Simon award, the literary medal of the German Academy of Gastronomy and in 1994 the Belgian Mercurius award for service to Belgian breweries, presented by Crown Prince Philippe.

Jackson remained a prolific journalist. His articles appeared in a vast range of magazines and newspapers, including Playboy, the Washington Post, All About Beer, Whisky Magazine, Slow Food and Zymurgy - the last named being the final word in most dictionaries and is the scientific name for fermentation.

As a beer writer, his aim was to encourage people to treat it as being as worthy of attention as wine. In arguably his greatest book, the Beer Companion (1991), he wrote: "No one goes into a restaurant and requests 'a plate of food, please'. People do not simply ask for 'a glass of wine', without specifying, at the very least, whether they fancy red or white, dry or sweet, perhaps sparkling or still ... when their mood switches from the grape to the grain, these same discerning people folk often ask simply for 'a beer', or perhaps name a brand, without thinking of its suitability for the mood or the moment ... beer is by far the more extensively consumed, but less adequately honoured. In a small way, I want to help put right that injustice." He succeeded, in no small way.

Michael Jackson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for 10 years. He died at his home in Hammersmith, west London. His first wife, Maggie O'Connor, died in 1980 after 13 years of marriage.

· He is survived by Paddy Gunningham, his partner for 26 years, his stepdaughter Sam, her children Ben and Emily, and his sister Heather.

Article Courtesy of The Guardian


The Guardian

Sep 05

Chivas director with a lot of bottle

He Left school wanting to be a joiner, but the intervention of his grandmother saw him switch to the Scotch whisky industry.

Four decades on and Douglas Cruickshank was yesterday confirmed as the operations and spirit supply director for Chivas Brothers, the second-largest Scotch whisky distiller and owned by French drinks giant Pernod Ricard.

The expanded role for Dufftown-born Mr Cruickshank sees him take on responsibility for all bottling and cased goods warehousing activities in addition to the distilling, maturation and bulk operations that he was previously in charge of as production director. He also has responsibility for the production and bottling of Beefeater gin.

Among his charges is the Imperial Distillery at Aberlour where he started his career aged 15. The job there came after he told his grandmother that he was going to become an apprentice joiner. "She was horrified and before I could blink I was on a bus to Elgin for an interview with Archie Scott, the director of Scottish Malt Distillers. Within 15 minutes of seeing him I had a job at the Imperial Distillery."

At Imperial he worked his way through various departments to become trainee manager in 1975 before moving to Balmenach Distillery a year later. A shift to Muir of Ord came in 1981, the year in which he also moved to the independently-owned Glenfarclas, where he latterly was production director.

He took up a similar role in 1992 at Pernod Ricard-owned Campbell Brothers.

Pernod Ricard's Scottish operations have in the last five years undergone a transformation with its acquisition of Chivas Brothers in 2002 and its takeover of Allied Distillers two years ago.

Mr Cruickshank has overseen the re-opening of the distilleries at Allt a'bhainne at Glenrinnes, Glendronach at Forgue and Scapa in Orkney, as well as expansion of the Glenburgie Distillery at Alves, near Forres. He is also overseeing work to create an industry first at Glentauchers Distillery at Mulben, Keith.

"Glentauchers has been redesigned to be mainly manually operated, so that it can be used as a training centre for distillery operators and potential distillery managers."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Sep 03

Diageo invests £25m in festive push

Diageo is investing £25m in marketing and advertising across its leading brands including Baileys, Smirnoff, Bell's, Bushmills and Guinness, in the lead up to Christmas.

Guinness Red, a smoother sweeter version of the beer, will be rolled out as part of a £3m marketing push. The launch of Guinness Red, which uses lighter roasted barley for a rich ruby red colour, follows a trial in 141 Mitchells & Butler pubs earlier this year.

The investment will include the launch of Baileys with a hint of Mint Chocolate and Baileys with a hint of Crème Caramel as part of a £6m marketing spend on the brand. This will also include by a new television campaign in October featuring people pulling faces while shaking Baileys with ice.

Smirnoff will be supported by a £3.5m investment programme, including a £1.2m advertising campaign. Diageo's whisky brands Bells' and Bushmill's be supported by consumer print advertising campaign and relationship marketing over the key Christmas period.

Article Courtesy of Marketing Week


Marketing Week
August 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Aug 31

Overseas markets buoy Diageo

Drinks giant Diageo has raised its growth target for this year despite weaker sales in the UK and Ireland over the past 12 months.

The Smirnoff-to-Guinness maker said that recent acquisitions would help drive a 9pc growth in organic operating profits (excluding exceptionals and exchange rate movements) in this financial year, up from an earlier prediction of 8pc.

The market welcomed the news, with the share price closing up 2pc. Nico Lambrechts, analyst at Merrill Lynch, said: "We believe this is significant and indicates some acceleration for this big ship. It should make investors comfortable that a slowdown in US consumer demand will not materially impact the Diageo group."

Chief executive Paul Walsh said the company had posted strong results thanks to double-digit growth in the US and emerging markets such as Russia, China and Latin America.

Operating profit grew by 5.6pc to £2.12bn, pre-tax profits fell £51m to £2.09bn. The company attributed the weaker pre-tax figure to the sale of General Mills, which added a £157m gain to the full-year results last year.

Across the world, sales rose to £9.9bn from £9.7bn. Sales for all of Diageo's top brands grew except J&B whisky which fell 3pc and Jose Cuervo tequila which fell 4pc.

The strongest growth came from the Asia Pacific region, where Diageo stepped up its marketing spend by 22pc in the second half to support new brand launches in India and the fast growing markets of south-east Asia. This helped increase sales by 13pc, and operating profits by 7pc, in the region.

Beer and spirit markets in Britain and Ireland remained weak as volume and net sales both declined 5pc. This was despite the recent bad weather, which usually increases the number of pints of Guinness that are drunk.

However, Guinness continued to perform well in other markets including Africa and global volumes climbed 2pc. Beer accounts for about 10pc of Diageo's profits and Guinness about half of that. More than two-thirds of sales are in the UK, Ireland, the US and Nigeria.

However, Nigeria has now pushed aside Ireland to be the beer's second biggest market after the UK and Mr Walsh expects Guinness's future growth to come from Africa and Asia.

Diageo's Scotch brands, especially Johnnie Walker, remain the main drivers of growth outside the UK. Sales of Johnnie Walker rose 18pc and Buchanan's was up 40pc.

The group plans to pay a final dividend of 20.15p per share - a 5.2pc increase - on October 22. The shares closed up 24 at £10.42.

Article Courtesy of Telegraph



Aug 30

Walkers following in whisky smugglers' footsteps

Whisky enthusiasts with a love of the outdoors will be able to combine their passions, following the launch of three trails named after infamous whisky smugglers.

The trails have been laid out in Glenlivet, at the heart of the illicit whisky trade before distilling was legalised in the early 19th century.

They have been developed by the Glenlivet Distillery along with Glenlivet Estate.

Walkers can follow in the footsteps of whisky smugglers like the legendary Robbie MacPherson who distilled whisky in the remote Moray glen away from the prying eyes of the excise men.

At one time there were more than 200 illicit stills in Glenlivet from where convoys of ponies would carry casks along smugglers' trails to the major towns and cities.

MacPherson lends his name to the longest trail, a seven-mile route. The others are the George Smith Trail, at four miles and the Malcolm Gillespie Trail, which is around six miles long.

George Smith was a tenant farmer in the glen and was granted the first licence to produce whisky when the Excise Act came into force in 1823 and allowed small distillers to operate legally. He went on to found Glenlivet Distillery.

Alan Winchester, malt distilleries manager for Chivas Brothers, which owns the distillery, said: "We are keen to encourage visitors to try out the walks to get a taste of Glenlivet's smuggling history. The smuggling community made a huge impact on Scottish single malt whisky production and we have learned a lot from their original methods."

Andrew Wells, countryside manager for Glenlivet Estate, said: "This project has added to the already extensive network of trails and we look forward to welcoming more visitors who wish to experience not only the whisky but also to learn more about the people and places that make the area so popular."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 29

Mumbai to axe 200% tax on Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky producers win battle to get Mumbai, to drop the 200% tax on imported whisky it imposed in July.

The move promises to open up the final 30% of the world's largest whisky market to Scottish producers.

After a month-long campaign from the international spirits industry, the Maharashtra state Government has agreed to review the tax, and is expected to announce a decision to replace it by the end of this week.

Amrit Kirin Singh, head of Jack Daniels India and chairman of the trade body for spirits importers, said: "The Excise Department has understood the problem and decided to review the matter. They [the Maharashtra state] jumped the gun initially and now they're ready to make amends. The domestic manufacturers had fed them the wrong information."

The breakthrough came after a meeting with the state's new Excise Commissioner Indrajit Chehal.

Mumbai's top hotels groups, the Taj and the Oberoi, joined international spirits producers in campaigning for an end to the tax. The hotel groups, which had delayed ordering new cases of spirits while the tax issue remained unresolved, have this week faced severe shortages of many international brands.


Singh said Chehal now accepts that the tax increase was playing into the hands of the bootleggers who control 85% of India's spirits imports.

"What we've told them is that this is the best opportunity to bite into the grey market. We've actually shown them a map of how the illegal stuff comes into the state."

Maharashtra imposed the tax after the Indian government bowed to pressure from the World Trade Organisation and slashed tariffs on imported whisky, which had previously been as high as 550%.

Whisky producers now expect Maharashtra to impose a flat tax of between 200 and 400 rupees a bottle, bringing prices roughly in line with those in Delhi, where the local Government left taxes unchanged after the cut in national import tariffs.

Delhi and Mumbai together account for roughly 70% of the Indian spirits market.

The local Government in Calcutta has cut taxes on imported spirits, making Scottish imports very competitive with local premium brands.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, India buys more Scotch whisky - one million cases in 2004 – than either China (700,000 cases), Russia and Poland (600,000 each) or Turkey (200,000)

Article Courtesy of Harpers



Aug 28

Glenmorangie staff threaten walk-out

Whisky makers at a Scottish distillery have voted in favour of a strike in a row over shift patterns.

The workers are said to be unhappy after being threatened with the sack if they did not comply with the new set up put in place by their bosses.

Twenty-one employees at Glenmorangie's Broxburn plant are now waiting for the GMB union to decide what the next step is.

One worker told the Evening News: "We're disgusted at the way this has been handled and feel that strike action is the only option left for us.

"We just need to hear now from the union, which we hope to within the next few days."

Article Courtesy of Morning Advertiser


Morning Advertiser

Aug 26

A drink to calm the market's jitters

Diageo's full-year results, due to be unveiled on Thursday, could be an ideal tonic for the stock market's nervousness. The London-based drinks giant has shown steady growth powered by some of the world's best-known alcohol brands, including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Baileys Irish Cream. According to some sources, the sales of Johnnie Walker whisky in China are expected to show a 70 per cent rise year-on-year. The firm has also scotched rumours that it is planning to sell off Guinness.

How has it performed?

The City expects Diageo's full-year figures to be in line with company guidance that it will show organic growth of around 8 per cent in full- year earnings before interest and tax. The consensus is that pre-tax profits for the year to June 2007 will be £2.07bn, up from £1.99bn the previous year. Earnings per share of £0.55p are forecast.

Other activities

While the City is not expecting any major surprises on Thursday, analysts are looking for growth in key markets, and the City will be focusing on guidance for the year to June 2008. Credit Suisse believes that opportunities outweigh threats in the current financial year.

What's next?

The City is likely to grill Diageo on the sustainability of US pricing. But UBS believes it unlikely that the company will give detailed guidelines for 2008 given the importance of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Article Courtesy of The Independent


The Independent

Aug 23

Researchers brew up whisky fuel

Cars could be powered with by-products from breweries following research by Scottish scientists.
Researchers at Abertay University have been awarded a grant to investigate how to turn residues from beer and whisky into biofuel.

They will look into new methods of turning spent grain into bioethanol, which is more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels.

It is CO2 neutral, and produces 65% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Experts have estimated that about half of the world's oil reserves have been used up in the last 200 years.

More environmentally friendly alternatives are being developed, including biofuels.

Waste products

Brazil and the USA have both been very successful in creating bioethanol from sugarcane and maize starch respectively.

However, these methods have been open to criticism because they have created an increased demand for land for growing energy crops.

Scientists all over the world have been trying to find a simple and cost effective way to produce more biofuels from waste or low value products.

That is the focus of the year-long research project in Dundee, led by Professor Graeme Walker.

He said: "Our research will be looking at the far more complicated process of turning waste products from industry into bioethanol as an example of a second-generation biofuel.

"These products are currently disposed of or processed for animal feed and turning them into fuel would be an attractive use of the resource.

"At the moment many technical challenges remain to converting waste biomass into fuel.

"We will focus on finding more efficient and cost effective processes."

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Aug 22

Distillers in high spirits after malt win

An Islay malt whisky scooped two major awards at a prestigious spirits competition.

Lagavulin Distillers Edition won the Single Malt Scotch Whisky over 15 years old class at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.

And the same whisky took the trophy for Special Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky. In total, Diageo's Classic Malts Selection, which includes six of the company's regional malts, earned two trophies and 31 medals at this year's IWSC, more than any other distiller.

The classic malt with the biggest haul of medals was from the Isle of Skye's only distillery. Talisker 18-year-old confirmed its recent accolade at the World Whiskies Awards as "the world's best single malt whisky" by winning Gold - Best in Class in the Islands - 18-Year-Old category, its third victory in a row in the category.


Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 20

Whisky haul seized at coach depot

More than 12,000 litres of whisky were seized in Walsall by customs officers.

The Teachers whisky was confiscated at a coach depot in Bentley Lane on Saturday, HM Revenue and Customs said.

No arrests were made, although a van was also seized. Customs said that the revenue loss to the nation amounted to more than £100,000.

Spokesman Keith Morgan warned the public not to buy illicit alcohol and said it was likely to be both counterfeit and harmful.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Aug 17

Glen of tranquility malt gets curvy, stylish makeover

One of Scotland's top whisky brands which is distilled in the Highlands is being relaunched today in new curvy bottles with a more up-to-date image.

The Glenmorangie Company, which produces its malt whisky at Tain in Easter Ross has unveiled wide-ranging and innovative plans to expand its global market presence and capture a bigger slice of the growing worldwide market.

The company's new brand identity includes new stylish bottles, new packaging, a new emblem and new products, and the move is being supported by a major marketing campaign.

A bottling plant has been built in Broxburn, near Edinburgh, to handle the new sculpted bottle shapes and the new Glenmorangie range will be on sale from next month.

Glenmorangie chief executive Paul Neep said: "We believe the stylish, contemporary look will appeal to a much wider audience at a time when more and more people are opening their eyes to the world of malt whisky.

"Glenmorangie is already seen as the very best in single malt Scotch whisky and we are confident these changes will further enhance the brand's status across the world."

A new range - Glenmorangie Extra Matured - has been introduced to replace the Wood Finish Range.

Following an initial maturation of at least 10 years in former bourbon casks, the new range will then be extra matured for an additional period in specially selected, high quality, casks that previously held port, sherry or Sauternes wine.

They will be bottled at 46% ABV (alcohol by volume) and they will take their names from the Gaelic language.

Glenmorangie Lasanta, meaning warmth and passion, will be extra matured in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, meaning ruby, will be extra matured in port pipes, and Glenmorangie Nectar D'??r, meaning golden, will be extra matured in the very best French Sauternes wine barriques.

All bottles and packaging will bear a new emblem, called the Signet, inspired by the Cadboll Stone - an ancient Pictish standing stone originally located on the estate of Glenmorangie House, close to where Glenmorangie whisky has been distilled since 1843.

Glenmorangie's head of distilling and whisky creation, Bill Lumsden, said: "We continually endeavour to provide the most delicious single malt Scotch whisky and our range delivers expressions that offer an extraordinary variety of tastes, textures and aromas."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 16

Leading distillery gets go-ahead for major expansion

A leading Speyside distillery has been given the go-ahead for a multimillion-pound expansion scheme, which could create up to 10 jobs directly plus spin-off employment for local construction companies.

The Edrington Group, owners of the Macallan Distillery, revealed plans earlier this year for six new warehouses, a cooperage and an operations building on farmland near the distillery at Overton, Craigellachie.

Moray councillors yesterday gave permission for the development to progress, despite almost 20 objections from people concerned about its impact on the landscape and loss of agricultural land.

Councillor Pearl Paul told members of the environmental services committee that this was a major development for Speyside and called on officers to keep councillors informed of any significant changes to the plans once approval had been granted.

She said in the past she had been shocked by changes made to applications once they had been determined.

"I just want to make sure and I think officers should take it seriously what I am saying. This application is important economically and I would not go against it but I want to make sure people in the area get what they are expecting," she said.

When the expansion plans were made public in March, Edrington said increased production and growing demand for the Macallan single malt were behind the proposals.

The group's director of corporate affairs, Emrys Inker, said last night he was delighted the plans had met with the approval of councillors.

The news comes just weeks after the company announced plans to invest £5million into bringing a dormant stillhouse at The Macallan back into active service after more than 10 years.

Sales of The Macallan have almost doubled in the last five years and the refurbished plant comprising mash house, tun room and stillhouse, will aim to increase output by 30% to 8million litres of whisky a year.

This, combined with the new warehouses, will form the start of a major investment for the distillery, said Mr Inker.

In the short term the plan will be to create two to three warehouses, followed by the rest at a later stage.

Mr Inker said he was unable to put an exact figure on the expansion costs but estimated them to be in the region of tens of millions.

The project will also create up to 10 permanent jobs at the distillery plus spin-off benefits for local construction companies.

Mr Inker said: "This is not only great news for the Edrington Group and The Macallan but also for Speyside and the whisky industry."

He added that for the first time in its 183-year history The Macallan had broken through the 500,000-case barrier and demands for the product were continuing to grow in the US and Asia and new markets were emerging in Russia and some Mediterranean countries.

The Scottish whisky industry is booming and Edrington is not the only firm with plans for heavy investment in the Moray area.

Last month, drinks giant Diageo lodged a planning application with Moray Council to build the first major distillery in Scotland for more than 30 years.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 15

Balblair Launches International Brand Partnership Marketing Campaign


Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced an ambitious new collaboration that will bring the whisky brand together with some of Scotland’s most prolific and esteemed cultural talent, challenging traditional perceptions of the country, and of whisky, at a global level.

From the diverse fields of fashion, design, art and literature, Balblair will be working with Scotland’s super-premium creatives; revered fashion house, Mackintosh Rainwear; award-winning, cutting-edge fabric and wallpaper designers, Timorous Beasties; internationally renowned publishing house, Canongate Books; and John Lowrie Morrison, or JoLoMo, one of UK’s most respected and well-loved painters.

Since its re-launch in March Balblair has been received with overwhelming enthusiasm from its key markets - concrete recognition that its new contemporary packaging and non-traditionalist vintage labelling, rooted in the distillery’s ancient Scottish history connects with today’s new consumer. By also reflecting the modern nature of Scotland – a dynamic, vibrant country, removed from its traditional ‘tartan and shortbread’ image – Balblair’s marketing initiative plans to strengthen a contemporary impression of whisky’s homeland across Europe and into key markets throughout the rest of the world through a series of innovative cross-promotional exercises with these strong, like-minded brands.

During the partnerships Balblair will work with the partners in a number of ways, including commission of new work and sponsorship support as well as publicising the partnerships in the single malt’s key core markets.

Karen Walker, Marketing Manager of Balblair commented:

“We are hugely excited about our plans as each of the companies who are committed to working with us are leaders in their fields, and like Balblair manage to combine a deep rooted Scottish ethos whilst be internationally recognised and portraying a revitalised view of Scotland. As modern brands with an eye for detail and a passion for quality, our partners reflect the values of Balblair – Scottish yet outwards looking and without cliché.

“Whisky is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance and appeals in many countries, to a consumer looking for quality premium products with a history and heritage they can appreciate and connect with. These partnerships will ensure accurate opinion of whisky’s birthplace and bring it in to line with the increasingly refreshed perception of Scotland’s national drink.”

John Lowrie Morrison, Artist commented:

“I love the ethos behind this campaign - I have always tried to portray Scotland as I see it, without the traditional twee/flowery imagery – that this range of Scotland born companies want to collaborate with Balblair to promote modern Scotland was definitely something I wanted to be part of.”

This is the first marketing initiative of Balblair’s since it relaunched earlier this year with three award winning vintages, Balblair 1997, Balblair 1989, and Balblair 1979 as part of a six figure sum investment. Further details of each partnership will be revealed in the coming weeks and will also be found on

An intriguingly complex and satisfying whisky, Balblair is light and fresh with a hint of autumn mist. Sweet to start, it has an appetising citrus tinge, followed closely by a slightly peaty note.

For further media information please contact:

Victoria Calder at Burt Greener Communications Ltd

T: 0141 248 6007, E:

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Aug 14

Back to school at Springbank

AS SCHOOLCHILDREN around Scotland prepare to pack their bags and look out their books after the summer holidays, Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown has announced that it will be offering a unique whisky-making experience to older students later this year.

Ever wondered exactly how your favourite dram is made? Fancy getting your hands dirty in the making of one of the world’s best-known single malts? The first ever Springbank Whisky School will give whisky fanatics from around the world the opportunity to do just that.

Headmaster and Course Co-ordinator will be Springbank’s Director of Production Frank McHardy, who will be on hand throughout each of the five-day “terms” to pass on the extensive knowledge he has gained during 44 years in the whisky industry.

Springbank’s status as the only distillery in Scotland to carry out 100 per cent of the whisky-making process on-site, from malting the barley through to bottling its own whisky, makes it the ideal location to learn the craft which has been practised in Scotland for hundreds of years.

Previewing the school, Frank McHardy explained: “We are looking forward to running the Whisky School because it gives us the opportunity to let ‘pupils’ get hands on experience of carrying out all the processes to turn barley into bottles of whisky. After all we are, at present, the only distillery in Scotland to do this.

“We have a good team at Springbank and our staff are keen to share our combined knowledge, gathered over many years, concerning production methods and the history of the Scotch Whisky industry.”

Six five day-long “terms” will be held in October and November this year with places strictly limited to six students per term.

Students will work alongside the Springbank staff learning the entire whiskymaking process, from malting through mashing, distilling and warehousing to bottling.

As well as the practical work, there will also be theory classes in malting, production and tasting.

While the Whisky School promises to be educational and provide a first class insight into the making of single malt Scotch whisky, there will also be an emphasis on enjoyment.

“The Whisky School will also be a fun experience and most importantly we will try to ensure that all attendees thoroughly enjoy themselves,” said Frank.

Classes will run from 8am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, with a written exam on the Friday morning followed by a graduation lunch and presentation with the course tutors in The Tasting Room.

Places at the Whisky School cost £875 per student. This fee includes five nights dinner, bed and breakfast in Campbeltown, four packed lunches, a graduation lunch at the end of the course, all class fees and Springbank-branded work wear. The cost of travelling to Campbeltown is NOT included.

The first term will run from Monday 8th - Friday 12th October and for each of five weeks thereafter. As places are strictly limited to six per week, prospective students are encouraged to register for the Whisky School as soon as possible.

To register, or request an e-brochure, telephone +44 (0) 1586 552009 or email

Article Courtesy of Springbank



Aug 13

Sales of Scotch whisky dwindle in India

A 200% tax imposed by Maharashtra - the world's largest whisky market – has frozen sales of Scotch Whisky.

There has been absolutely no sale of foreign spirits in Maharashtra. Nobody has sold a bottle.

In Mumbai, India's largest city and home to Bollywood, not a single case of Scotch whisky has been sold.

Spirit importers expect the city's bars and hotels to run out of some international brands within weeks.

Sunil Mehndiratta, chairman of the International Spirits and Wines association of India, told national Scottish newspaper, The Scotsman: "There has been absolutely no sale of foreign spirits in Maharashtra. Nobody has sold a bottle.

“The only reason that the hotels and bars have not run out is because of what they already had in stock."

The imposition of the unexpectedly harsh tax on July 10 by the state of Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, was a serious upset to Scottish whisky producers, who had only weeks before been celebrating their success in ending India's punitive import tariffs at a national level.

Maharashtra represents 30%-40% of the Indian whisky market - the world's largest.


The industry has been campaigning for the tax to be cut to a more reasonable level.

In a meeting last week, leading whisky producers Diageo and Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniels, persuaded the Maharashtra Excise Commissioner to put the new tax under review.

But that evening, he was transferred to a new role with the Maharashtra Government, leaving the companies clueless as to whether any real progress was made.

Mehndiratta said: "As an industry none of us really know how to take it. We've done good work with the Commissioner and we're not sure if we're going to have to completely reinvent the wheel."

Scottish whisky producers still expect to see their sales to India increase dramatically in the coming years.

Under heavy pressure from the World Trade Organisation, India reduced national tariffs on imported spirits to a flat rate of 150% at the start of July. Previously, the combined tax burden on imported spirits was often as high as 550%.

Maharashtra is the only state to have retaliated with higher taxes.

Excise bodies regulating taxes in all other states, including the major whisky-drinking areas Delhi, Bangalore and the Punjab, have opted to leave taxes on imported spirits unchanged.

Spirits importers argue that Maharashtra's new 200% tax on imported whisky plays into the hands of bootleggers. A bottle of Johnny Walker that costs around 1,800 rupees (£22) for a litre on the streets costs 4,000 rupees (£49) for just 75cl in the shops

Article Courtesy of Harpers



Aug 11

Distillery's ambassador toasts festival

A Speyside distillery is backing a new cultural festival which will take place on the banks of the Thames celebrating the best of modern Scotland.

The Balvenie Distillery at Dufftown is to sponsor the whisky and literature theatre at the inaugural London Gathering, to take place on September 8 and 9.

The festival showcases the best of Scotland and will include musical talents, whisky master classes, question sessions with literary greats, celebrity chef demonstrations and samplings, fashion, ceilidh dancing, retail and a mini-Highland games.

In The Balvenie Whisky and Literature Theatre, Scottish authors will take part in question-and-answer sessions interspersed with whisky masterclasses hosted by The Balvenie global ambassador David Mair and whisky expert Charlie Mclean.

The Balvenie's Geraldine Roche said a new limited-edition single malt would be launched at the event.

She said: "The London Gathering is shaping up to be a truly exceptional showcase for Scotland featuring the finest of food and drink, music and entertainment in stylish surroundings in the centre of London. It is amazing that something like this has never taken place before."

The event will take place at the capital's Inner Temple Gardens and ticket information is online at

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 10

anCnoc Calls for a Blogging Nation

anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has partnered with one of Scotland’s leading papers, the Sunday Herald to find the country’s best blogger in an exciting competition launched this week, Sunday 5th August.
An online phenomenon, with currently over 71 million appearing on the internet, blogging is the latest style for budding writers to talk, discuss, debate, share and enthuse on their opinions, and experiences. The competition invites readers to enter their own blogs relating to the title of ‘My Modern Scotland’. Whether it be Scotland’s contemporary art, music, architecture, film scene or other that inspires the writing, it’s the vibrancy and unique culture of today’s Scotland which anCnoc is searching for, to find captured in this fresh, uncomplicated and creative style.

To kick start the competition a number of well known Scots hit the keyboard to post their own blogs which are now viewable on the Sunday Herald website including leading Scottish authors William McIlvanney, Alexander McCall Smith, Rab C. Nisbett writer Ian Pattison as well as the popular singer Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble.

To enter readers are invited to post their blog on where they will be viewable to all, before the winner is selected at the end of August. Entries will be judged by a selected panel with the winning entry appearing in the Sunday Herald and online on September 2nd. The lucky winner will also win a writing masterclass writing with esteemed author Alan Spence over a luxury lunch at one of Edinburgh’s most celebrated restaurants before enjoying a complementary evening for 2, dinner bed & breakfast, at Edinburgh’s Apex hotel in the city’s historic Grassmarket area.

Elaine Mitchell, anCnoc Brand Manager, commented:
“Blogging has become an international phenomenon and an exciting new way for people to communicate and share ideas. For the past few years anCnoc has become renowned for supporting Scotland’s incredible arts and creative scene and we are delighted to sponsor this initiative which encourages individuals to write in this new, modern genre about something that affects their everyday lives – their own culture and surroundings. We are excited to await the entries and to understand how people feel about their Scotland and are grateful to have such strong support from Scotland’s well known figures including Alan Spence, William McIlvanney and Alexander McCall-Smith.”

Alan Spence, Author commented:
'This is a time of rapid change in the way we use language, the way we communicate, and the rise of the blog is a fascinating development. It's direct, democratic, gives everyone the possibility of reaching an audience worldwide. I always tell my students they learn to write by writing, and the blog is a way of doing just that - creating a piece of work and getting it out there. The competition's great in that it encourages focus and clarity. I look forward to reading the entries and to meeting the winner, talking through their story over a dram of anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky'

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Aug 09

Inver House Distillers Appoints The Leith Agency for Global Campaign

Inver House Distillers has appointed The Leith Agency to manage their first global direct marketing campaign for their super premium brand, Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky as part of a six-figure investment in the brand’s re-launch.
Balblair’s striking new vintage identity was revealed in March and now The Leith Agency, Marketing Services Company of the Year 2007 , has won a three way pitch to target discerning whisky consumers world-wide through a direct marketing campaign which will include a recruitment drive, trade and consumer incentives as well as an exclusive online membership club for Balblair enthusiasts.

This is the first time Balblair’s owners Inver House Distillers have worked with the Leith Agency, whose current clients include IRN-BRU, SEAT UK and the Scottish Executive.

Following the appointment Margaret Mary Clarke, Balblair’s Brand Manager commented:
“We see direct marketing as a core element of our brand strategy for Balblair and are excited about the appointment of Leith whose pitch was truly impressive – they exceeded our expectations by presenting a campaign that will connect with our target consumers in an innovative way, replicating the premium status, quality spirit and stylish offering of Balblair.”
Ian White, Partner, Direct Marketing of the Leith Agency commented:
“Through a variety of channels direct marketing offers fantastic opportunities for companies looking to encourage interest in their brand and build a relationship with their target market. We are really looking forward to producing a wide range of work with the team at Balblair - it’s an incredible whisky and the brief presents a fantastic opportunity to deliver an impactful and creative campaign for the brand across the UK and beyond.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Aug 09

Whisky plan set to raise the roof

More than £500,000 is being invested to replace two pagoda roofs at the Highland Park distillery in Orkney.
Contractors have flown to Kirkwall to carry out the Category B listed work.

The "intricate" work on one of the pagodas is due for completion in September, while the second is expected to be replaced next year.

The pagoda roofs sit high above the kilns and draw the smoke up through the barley, which Highland Park said was "integral" to production.

Councillor Stephen Hagan, convener of Orkney Islands Council, said: "Highland Park is one of Orkney's most famous visitor attractions and it's great to see them investing in time-old traditions at the distillery.

"The pagoda is a direct likeness of the original, which tourists have come to expect and love, and the council was more than happy to have granted the go-ahead for such a wonderful project."

The original pagoda roofing will be kept for display at the distillery.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Aug 8

Morrison Bowmore toasts profit hike

Morrison Bowmore Distillers enjoyed rocketing profits last year as it moved away from low-margin blended whisky business and focused more on its single malts.

The leap in pre-tax profits, to £2.65m in 2006 from just £154,415 in the prior 12 months, was also aided by a one-off gain of £1.39m arising from the closure of its final salary pension scheme to future accruals.

The buoyant earnings picture is in stark contrast to Morrison Bowmore's losses in 2002 and 2003, which prompted job cuts. The profit leap comes at a time when the Scotch whisky sector has been enjoying a strong run, with particular buoyancy in malts.

In spite of the boost to 2006 profits from the pension fund issue, a leap in the net deficit in the Glasgow-based company's final salary scheme from £7.13m to £15.35m during the year weighed heavily on the balance sheet.

Morrison Bowmore, known best for its eponymous Islay malt, closed its generous, non-contributory final salary pension scheme to new entrants on January 1, 2002. Its latest accounts, which have just become available from Companies House, report that the scheme was closed to "future accrual benefits" from September 30 last year.

The distiller, which was bought by Suntory of Japan in 1994, reports in its accounts that a full actuarial valuation of its pension scheme had been carried out at January 1 last year and had been updated to December 31 by a qualified independent actuary.

Morrison Bowmore says it was agreed that the ongoing contribution to fund the pension deficit would be assessed on a "solvency basis", placing a higher value on the liabilities than the "corporate bond basis" applied in its 2005 accounts.

It adds: "To reflect the ongoing funding of the scheme, and on grounds of prudence, the solvency basis has been adopted to assess the scheme deficit under FRS (Financial Reporting Standard) 17 at 31 December 2006. This reflects the agreement reached between the trustees and the company to wind the scheme up either within 10 years or over a reasonable period."

The accounts refer to "actuarial losses" of £15.88m relating to the pension scheme. These figure in its statement of total recognised gains and losses and, mitigated by a deferred tax asset of £4.76m, play the major part in driving the profit and loss account reserve in its balance sheet from a £31.5m to a £41.2m deficit during 2006 in spite of Morrison Bowmore's healthy earnings.

Explaining the one-off boost of £1.39m to 2006 profits arising from the pension scheme issue, Morrison Bowmore says: "At the end of 2005, the company was still providing a defined-benefit pension scheme and was therefore accruing for this future benefit within the FRS17 pension deficit. Now that the scheme has closed, these future benefit accruals have been reversed as a pension-scheme curtailment credit to the profit- and-loss account."

Setting aside this one-off gain, Morrison Bowmore, which enjoyed a 6% rise in group turnover to £31.6m while reducing its cost of sales from £17.59m to £17.46m, emphasises the significant improvement in its underlying performance.

It says: "Even without this non-recurring income, profit before tax is showing an improvement of £1.1m against 2005. The improvement in profitability is down to the firm's focus on moving away from low-margin blend business and concentrating on building our single malt brands. This is reflected in the performance of Bowmore, whose sales in 2006 continued to grow."

The distiller has made a significant strategic shift.

Chief executive Mike Keiller had, in the darker days of 2003, emphasised the company would not be reining back on the likes of supermarket own-label business. He told The Herald in December 2003: "We are going to try and focus and develop more business in that area. Essentially we have got, through our own and our parent company, surplus stocks of whisky for sale. We want to focus in on that area, to liquidate that, and turn it into good cash and, at the same time, develop some of our own blends as a by-product of that."

Morrison Bowmore subsequently exited an unprofitable supply contract with Safeway, now owned by Wm Morrison.

As well as Bowmore, the distiller's malts include the lowland Auchentoshan and the highland Glen Garioch. The company also produces the Rob Roy blend.

The accounts state the average number of employees in 2006 was 170, up from 164 in 2005. Aggregate payroll costs rose from £5.47m to £5.71m.

Directors' remuneration rose from £493,336 to £513,420, excluding compensation for loss of office paid in 2005. The emoluments of the highest-paid director rose from £286,371 to £295,985.

Net debt rose from £25m to £27m during 2006. Keiller was unavailable to comment on the results.

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Aug 7

Glenmorangie takes a oui step towards luxury on the continent

The distiller which produces the best-selling single malt whisky in Scotland is to shed its Gaelic image for one a little more Gallic.

Glenmorangie's range of single malts is to undergo a process the marketing men call "premiumisation" which will leave them looking more than a little French.

And it is claimed that in its efforts to portray itself overseas as a so-called luxury brand, Glenmorangie is willing to risk losing its leading market position in Scotland.

As part of the rebranding, the company - which has its headquarters and a warehouse in Broxburn, West Lothian, as well as a distillery in Tain, Ross-shire - will rename some of its most popular lines to give them a more continental flavour.

The prosaically named Port, Sherry, Madeira and Burgundy Wood Finish whiskies will be reborn under new names such as The Quinta Ruban, Nectar d'Or and LaSanta.

The bottles have also been redesigned and now look like "curvy cognac bottles", according to a company source. They will also feature an image of the Stone of Cadboll, a Pictish carved slab which was discovered in Easter Ross.

Details of the rebranding were revealed to more than 200 employees of the firm at its Broxburn headquarters, although the company is refusing to comment on the planned relaunch in October. Neither will it comment on claims it plans to increase the price of a bottle of single malt by £10 to project itself as an exclusive, expensive luxury brand.

But records show that the company has already registered a number of the new trademark names with the UK Intellectual Property Office ahead of the autumn relaunch.

The aim of the rebranding exercise is to propel Glenmorangie into the luxury goods market. Observers say this move was inevitable following the acquisition of the company by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy (LVMH) three years ago.

When Glenmorangie was sold by the Macdonald family in 2004 it was Scotland's last independent whisky distiller. The Macdonalds, who bought the distillery in 1918, made about £100m from the sale. The company was bought by Paris-based LVMH, the world's largest luxury brands group, for about £300m. LVMH owns a portfolio of luxury brands including TAG Heuer, Dom Perignon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Givenchy, Guerlain and Christian Lacroix.

A company source said: "It was only a matter of time before Glenmorangie got the LVMH treatment. There will be no change in what is actually put in the bottles, it's all cosmetic: it's purely an exercise in repackaging to make the product seem chic.

"The company seems willing to take the risk of losing market position in Scotland if it means capturing bigger and more lucrative markets abroad."

The rebranding is aimed at the emerging markets in Russia, Brazil, India and China.

A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said these "emerging markets" are key to the continued growth of Scotch whisky, which now represents a quarter of all UK food and drink exports by value.

He said: "Last year, there was a new high of £2.5bn worth of exports and that was an increase of 4% on the previous year."

Professor Paul Freathy, the director of the Institute of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, said: "The French-sounding names are an unusual innovation, because what makes whisky unique is the traditional tie to Scotland. It's a brave strategy."

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Aug 4

Premium prices strengthen whisky profits

A whisky distiller has reported an improvement in turnover and a sharp rise in profits in its latest financial year.

Family-owned Ian Macleod Distillers, founded by Leonard Russell in 1936, says in its annual report just released by Companies House that the whisky marketplace is being influenced by increased long-term forecast demand from emerging markets for premium aged product.

The directors add that production costs increased in the year to September 30 as a result of rising energy costs and would rise further in 2007 because of higher cereal prices, in particular malted barley.

Their report says: "There is tighter supply of malt whisky and to a lesser extent grain whisky. Selling prices need to rise to fund and cover the rise in costs. The directors are constantly reviewing market trends to ensure proper balance between margin and stockholding."

The report also highlights a significant development during the year in the form of a £243,000 investment to upgrade the visitor centre at its Glengoyne Distillery, near Loch Lomond, to provide additional facilities and allow for more visitors to be catered for at any one time.

The directors of the Broxburn-based company conclude in their report that they regard the state of affairs of the group as satisfactory, adding that they will continue to develop the business and do not plan any major changes in its size, scale or operations.

Ian Macleod Distillers, which became a fully integrated distiller, blender and bottler when it acquired Glengoyne Distillery in 2003, shows in its accounts that it achieved pre-tax profits of £783,060 for the year against profits of £156,489 the year before. Annual turnover improved to £24.32million from £22.76million.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 3

The Macallan pushes premium malt

The Macallan, the malt whisky brand, is rolling out a print campaign this month to push the tipple as a premium “handcrafted” malt.

The Macallan worked with London-based communications agency SHOP, who then commissioned Italian photographer Guido Mocafico to develop a variety of images for the campaign. The artwork is supported with the strapline: ‘The Macallan, The Malt’.

The campaign will initially target The Macallan’s key export markets - Taiwan and the US and aims to cement its positioning as a luxury whisky.

Ken Grier, director of malts at The Macallan’s parent company The Edrington Group, said: “We are really excited about the evolution of The Macallan campaign. Our previous campaign broke the conventions of single malt advertising, and this evolution will allow us to stand out even further from conventional advertising in this sector.”

Other whisky brands in the Edrington stable include The Famous Grouse and Highland Park.

Article Courtesy of

Aug 2

A taste of history from Scotland's whisky innovator

Multi-award winning whisky merchant Duncan Taylor has surprised and excited the whisky world with the launch of "Rarest of the Rare Blended 33 Year Old" - an exclusive blend of a number of Scotland's finest whiskies from distilleries now confined to the history books.

Coveted brands including Kinclaith, Ladyburn, Glen Mhor, Glen Albyn, Glen Craig and Carsebridge has been expertly combined by master blender Euan Shand to create the world's most exclusive blend, which features the names of the whiskies on the label.

He said: "Normally the make up of blends is kept very much a secret, passed down from generation to generation. We very much want to shout about what is included in rarest of the rare blended 33 year old. When the whiskies are so special, why hide them?"

Rarest of the rare blended 33 year old whisky has a wonderful balance of sweetness and spice with an incredibly silky texture, building to a powerful finish with citrus fruits, complemented by a touch of dryness.

Bottled by hand in Aberdeenshire, only 750 bottles of rarest of the rare blended 33 year old have been produced. Priced at £85, the product is available through specially selected independent retailers throughout the UK.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Aug 1

Bacardi invests more than £120m in whisky

Soaring global demand for Scotland's national drink has prompted international drinks giant Bacardi to pour more than £120million into expanding its Scotch whisky business.

Bacardi, which owns Perthshire-based Dewar's as well as distilleries in the north and north-east, said yesterday that it was trebling its production as more and more people around the world acquire a taste for premium whiskies.

The plans include a 100-acre tract of land in central Scotland to be developed as a second maturation and blending facility, in addition to its operation at Aberfeldy.

Bacardi was guarded about the likely location of the new site, saying only that several areas were being considered.

The company will also redevelop its existing site in Parkhead, Glasgow, where it will build new maturation warehouses and a blend centre, in addition to installing new bottling lines and packing equipment.

Bermuda-based Bacardi described the expansion as "one of the most significant investments in the Scotch industry".

It said the move would create new jobs and other benefits for the economy through the local sourcing of materials.

Senior global brand director Joaquin Bacardi - whose ancestor Don Facundo Bacardi got the name established by founding a rum business on Cuba in 1862 - said the investment in Scotland, being ploughed in over 10 years, would create at least 100 jobs.

On the plans for a new site, he said: "We are assessing our options."

Mr Bacardi said that the company had already embarked on a programme aimed at doubling production capacity, but worldwide demand for whisky was growing so fast the firm needed to ramp up output even more.

Sales growth is being driven by a thirst for premium brands in Asia and in other emerging markets around the world.

While the traditional neat and on-the-rocks options are still popular everywhere, the world's whisky drinkers are becoming more adventurous - making the tipple more fashionable.

China, for example, has developed a taste for whisky mixed with green tea.

As well as Dewar's, Bacardi owns - through its John Dewar and Sons subsidiary - the Aultmore and Craigellachie distilleries on Speyside, Macduff distillery in Banffshire and the Royal Brackla distillery at Cawdor, near Nairn.

The investment plans unveiled yesterday apply only to the Dewar's whisky operations.

Bacardi is just the latest drinks firm to announce major expansion in Scotland amid fast-growing export sales for Scotch.

The Scottish whisky industry is booming, with exports hitting a record £2.5billion last year, and both Diageo and Edrington have launched investment projects in recent months.

Diageo announced plans earlier this year to develop the first major distillery in Scotland for more than three decades.

Its planning application for the proposed £40million distillery at Roseisle in Moray - part of a total £100million investment - were lodged last month.

Whisky firm Edrington aims to bring a dormant stillhouse at The Macallan distillery on Speyside, mothballed in the early 1990s, back into service under a £5million investment that could create up to 10 jobs and which would increase output by 30%.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal
July 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Jul 31

Distillery birds caught ducking and diving

First there was Sam the shoplifting seagull who was caught helping himself to his favourite snack at a newsagent in Aberdeen.

Now, three ducks have been caught by staff at a Moray distillery acting in a similar cheeky fashion, breaking and entering the maltings plant to get a good feed.

The ducks were spotted by malt man Kenny McWilliam, who was working night shifts at the Balvenie Distillery at Dufftown. When he arrived to start work he discovered the birds happily feeding on the germinating barley on the malt floor. It then took him more than two hours to get them out of the building.

Balvenie brand ambassador Rob MacPherson said: "How the ducks managed to get into the maltings is still a mystery. Kenny, our maltman, was keen to lay the blame on my shoulders as I closed up after the last visitor tour of the day but I am certain the ducks at Balvenie are a rare breed that can open doors. The Balvenie is one of the very few distilleries to still grow and malt its own barley and we believe this adds a special quality to our whisky."

Just two weeks ago, a seagull turned shoplifter was caught wandering into a city store and helping himself to cheese Doritos.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 28

Scots set for world’s first dram-powered hospital

A TOWN in the far north of Scotland will soon be home to the world's first "whisky-powered" hospital. Cutting-edge energy technology is already allowing waste heat from the Pulteney Distillery in Wick to be piped into homes in the northern town - and from October, Caithness General Hospital is to be connected to the unique, environmentally friendly power supply.

The Caithness Heat and Power (CHaP) project has been providing energy to 270 homes since last December through a biomass, wood-burning power source at the malt whisky distillery. The aim is to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty faced by many elderly residents and low-income families during long, harsh winters.

Project manager Peter Creasey described the £5 million scheme as "ground-breaking". He said: "Every bit of useful energy from the gasified woodchip can be turned into hot water or electricity, so it's zero carbon. It is extremely low-cost and is already saving connected householders between £15 to £20 a week. The hospital will soon be able to benefit by reducing its costs and its carbon footprint."

Most of the homes currently connected are rented council property in the Pulteney area, but over the next few months pipelines are being laid and heating systems installed across Wick. Around 500 council-owned homes will find their central heating bills reduced to as little as £7.50 a week.

The community company intends to expand the project to include many other public buildings, including Pulteney House, Wick High School and the town's care home.

According to Creasey: "Our long-term strategy is to have the whole of Wick on the district heating scheme, so the whole town becomes carbon neutral. You'd hope everyone would want to jump on the bandwagon."

Highland councillors hope the scheme can be implemented in other towns and villages in the county, possibly Thurso, Lybster and Halkirk. Councillor Graeme Smith, a director of CHaP, said: "The project is the first of its type in Scotland and CHaP is proud to have brought the idea to an area of Caithness where ever-rising fuel prices are a real issue.

"The people have a chance to take part in an exciting development which should save them money and contribute to a reduction of carbon emissions."

CHaP was set up in 2005 as a not-for-profit partnership between Pulteney Distillery, Highland Council and Pulteneytown People's Project. The idea that excess thermal energy generated in whisky distillation could be boosted to a higher temperature in a woodchip-fired boiler was considered daring but workable. It received initial funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Energy Saving Trust.

After visiting the Pulteney Distillery, environment minister Mike Russell said the pioneering scheme had the potential to be used elsewhere in Scotland. "I was enormously impressed by this project," he said. "This is world-beating technology providing a valuable service to the hospital and community of Wick."

He added: "This a model district heating scheme that I hope will inspire co-operative action in many other towns around Scotland."

When it becomes fully operational later this year, the plant will require 30,000 tons of woodchip annually. At present, forests around Caithness could supply its needs for 25 years.

Russell also announced that a £3m funding package would be provided to create woodlands to help allay fears that biomass business would be a threat to forestry. The minister estimated that the creation of around 2000 hectares of forest would be needed to supply the industry.

The CHaP project has been given the seal of approval by the Forestry Commission Scotland and was recognised as best community initiative at the Scottish Green Energy Awards.

Graham MacWilliam, manager of Pulteney's parent company Inver House Distillers, said: "To have won such a prestigious award is testament to how ground-breaking the initiative is.

"We're delighted that our distillery is going to play such a key role in helping the Wick community."

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Jul 25

Runrig to toast gig with special whisky

Celtic rock band Runrig will toast their sell-out concert near Loch Ness next month with their own special commemorative malt whisky.

To mark their Beat the Drum gig in front of 5,000 people at Drumnadrochit on August 18, the band have selected a 20-year-old malt with help from Huntly's award-winning whisky merchant Duncan Taylor.

The whisky, named after the event, will be limited to just 500 bottles and will be available to buy on-site at the festival. Each bottle is individually numbered and accompanied by a certificate signed by the band.

Band member Iain Bayne said: "In this significant year of Highland culture we thought there was no better way to mark our own involvement than to do so in the company of one of the finest, most vibrant and special of Highland malts. It also seemed appropriate and fitting to name it, Beat The Dram."

Euan Shand, of Duncan Taylor, said: ''This is one of the most exciting private bottlings we have been involved in. The marriage of whisky and music has always been strong, and lovers of both will not be disappointed."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 24

The Famous Grouse signs new marketing deal

Scotch whisky brand The Famous Grouse and Maxxium UK have signed a global marketing deal with Woo Communications. Financial details were not disclosed.

Maxxium, which handles the marketing and distribution of The Edrington Group's The Famous Grouse and brands such as Jim Beam Bourbon and Aftershock, will work with Woo as it handles the below-the-line marketing in both the UK and overseas.

AdvertisementLondon-based Woo, which is part of the Engine Group and counts Belgium-based brewer InBev among its clients, will start working with The Famous Grouse and Maxxium immediately.

Mark Reardon, Woo Communications managing director, said: "There is no doubt that spirit brands, and Scotch whisky in particular, face interesting challenges going forward. We are really excited about working with Maxxium UK and The Famous Grouse and are honored to have been asked by such a globally renowned iconic brand to help them develop their future plans."

Article Courtesy of Drinks Business Review


Drinks Business Review

Jul 24

David off on his travels as whisky ambassador

A Distillery worker who has been named the brand's global ambassador is preparing to jet around the globe promoting malt whisky.

Dufftown-born David Mair is planning trips to Canada, France, Sweden, Russia and Portugal in his new role promoting the Balvenie malt whisky.

Mr Mair, who now lives at Lossiemouth, has worked for William Grant and Sons for more than 20 years. Based at Glenfiddich and the Balvenie Distilleries at Dufftown, he helped the development of The Balvenie Distillery Visitor Centre and tour.

His new post will see him travelling the world to meet whisky specialists and consumers giving presentations, tutored nosings and tastings.

Mr Mair said: "Before the Balvenie Distillery was open to the public it was part of my role to show special visitors around and their reaction has always been extraordinary.

"It is a very special distillery that makes a very special whisky so when I saw the role for global ambassador it was irresistible."

Mr Mair said the malt's markets were in the UK, France and the United States. It is hoped the new post will help promote the malt in other countries including China, Taiwan, India and Russia.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 23

Islay firm's new whisky

An Award-winning Islay whisky company is releasing a new addition to its collection next month as a result of an unusual international alliance between Scotland, America, France and Austria.

Bruichladdich's first 18-year-old dram is being released on August 15 in new bottling, designed by master distiller Jim McEwan, who has 43 years' experience in whisky distilling, tasting and coopering.

Matured for 18 years in American oak casks, Bruichladdich 18 was selected for an additional cask evolution for several months in premium quality French oak.

And Mark Reynier, managing director of Bruichladdich, who has 25 years' experience in the fine wines trade, said: "The casks chosen come from Austrian maverick Willi Opitz, the engaging, ever so slightly mad, wine producer.

"It took four years to persuade him.

"Opitz's irreverence - he produces a sparkling wine called Fizzy Willy - appeals to me, as does his huge vitality and enthusiasm to challenge the norm.

"One such idea which even changed Austrian wine law, was to create ??ber-sweet wines by drying harvested grapes on straw mats, a Vin de Paille or straw wine."

Speaking of the new whisky, Mr Reynier added: "Officiandos hooked on sherry casks will be blown away - there are similar traits but more complexity, finesse and fruit thanks to the finer oak and totally unique straw wine."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 23

Maha duty dampens Scotch industry spirits

The reported imposition of excise duty by the government of Maharashtra on imported liquor has dampened the spirits of the Scotch whisky industry that was celebrating the Indian government's decision earlier this month to withdraw additional duty.

David Williamson of the apex industry body, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), told the media: "Individual states in India must tax imported and domestic spirit drinks on a non-discriminatory basis. We are disappointed that Maharashtra has introduced a new excise policy without waiting for Federal authority to do so and we are studying the details of the new regime.

"Early indications are that the new policy may not be fully compatible with WTO rules and we will be discussing our concerns further with EU and Indian officials. We will be following very closely how this is applied in practice.

There has to be a level playing field, with the same taxes for domestic spirits."

At present, individual states in India are reportedly not empowered to apply excise duty to imported spirit drinks. However, following the withdrawal of the Additional Customs Duty, the Indian Government indicated it would bring forward new legislation allowing states to do so on a non-discriminatory basis in line with WTO rules.

This was expected and the legislation will now be considered in draft form. Maharashtra has therefore acted ahead of its adoption, SWA officials believe.

Peter Power, a spokesman for the European Commission, said, "The EU welcomes the Indian decision to respond to EU pressure by repealing these discriminatory duties. EU wines and spirits exporters deserve a level playing field in India.

This decision brings us closer to that goal."

Article Courtesy of Economic Times, India


Economic Times, India

Jul 19

Diageo names Humer as next chairman

Drinks company Diageo said today that Franz Humer, currently chief executive of Swiss drugmaker Roche, would succeed James Blyth as chairman of the world's biggest spirits maker from July 1st, 2008.

Roche said earlier today that Mr Humer would step down as head of the Swiss pharmaceutical group in March 2008.

The British maker of Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness said in a trading statement in June the upturn in sales growth in early 2007 would mean the group's underlying sales for its year to end-June would rise more than 6 per cent in its first half.

Article Courtesy of The Irish Times


The Irish Times

Jul 16

Whisky tax plans to curb binge drinking

Tory plans to add a 25p "treatment tax" to the cost of a bottle of Scotch in a bid to curb binge drinking would damage the whisky industry, it was warned last night.

The plan to raise the tax to pay for measures designed to curb alcohol abuse was spelled out in a new Conservative social policy document drawn up by former party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

Its recommendation "is that an incoming Conservative Government seriously considers how to affect the price of alcohol including the possibility of a treatment tax."

Liberal Democrat shadow Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael said this would put new pressure on distilleries, some in remote communities.

He said: "These Conservative proposals show a complete lack of understanding of the issues surrounding alcohol abuse and binge drinking.

"Slapping a new tax on a major Scottish industry could do serious damage to some of our most economically fragile and remote communities."

He added: "They look more like the Tory stealth taxes of old."

Scotch Whisky Association Government and Consumer Affairs director Campbell Evans said: "We already have the third highest rates of duty in the European Union.

"The idea that raising taxes will tackle alcohol misuse has not worked in other countries that have tried it."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 15

Scotch whisky association tells India: We'll be watching you

The Scotch Whisky Association said yesterday it would be keeping a close eye on how Indian state governments use new powers to levy duties on spirits.

Earlier this month, India's government caved in to demands for an end to discriminatory taxes on imported wines and spirits. The move followed a European Commission complaint to the World Trade Organisation that India was flouting an earlier ruling that the duties - up to 550% on whisky - were discriminatory and illegal. But removing the "additional duty" left wine and spirits exporters from Europe facing a "basic customs duty" in India of 150%.

Now there are fears that individual states will apply their own crippling taxes under new powers granted by the national government.

Legislators in Maharashtra, home to India's largest city, Mumbai, have already imposed a 200% tax on Scotch Whisky and other states could soon follow suit, it was reported yesterday.

While any new taxes must not discriminate against imports, which would be against WTO rules, state governments can apply them to bring imports into line with duties which local producers have to pay.

"We will be following very closely how this is applied in practice," said an SWA spokesman, adding: "There has to be a level playing field, with the same taxes for domestic spirits."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 13

Alcohol industry attacks tax hike plan

The alcohol industry is up in arms against a Tory proposal to raise taxes on alcohol by up to 10% in a bid to combat binge drinking. The proposal was announced by Conservative leader David Cameron earlier this week as part of plans to overhaul the family tax credits system.

In a letter to shadow Chancellor George Osborne (pictured), five trade associations have expressed concerns over the proposed move. The letter questions whether the tax hike will be able to solve the problem of alcohol misuse.

The British Beer & Pub Association, the Gin & Vodka Association, the National Association of Cider Makers, the Scotch Whisky Association and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association also say the tax could have a damaging effect on businesses in the sector.

The British Beer & Pub Association director of communications Mark Hastings adds: "Such a tax hike would do nothing to target or tackle binge drinking and everything to drive drinking underground. It would lead to a surge in booze cruise shopping, black market and illicit alcohol sales. It would drive drinking out of the controlled environment of the licensed market into the arms of the bootleggers."

The initiative has been proposed under the new Tory policy review recommended earlier this week.

Article Courtesy of Marketing Week


Marketing Week

Jul 12

Plans lodged for new £40m Moray distillery

Scotland's first new whisky distillery for more than 30 years came a giant stride closer yesterday when international drinks company Diageo lodged a formal planning application with Moray Council.

The £40million distillery at Roseisle, near Burghead, could be in production as early as 2009.

The ambitious plan was announced by Diageo earlier this year as part of a £100million expansion of its operations in Scotland.

Work could get under way at Roseisle - where Diageo already has a major maltings complex - by the end of the year provided there are no planning delays.

The company is hopeful that the distillery will open early in 2009 which would see its first mature spirit available in 2012.

The single malt spirit will be used in Diageo's range of blended Scotch whiskies.The capacity of the new distillery will help meet the anticipated long-term demand for Diageo brands in growing markets such as China, Russia, India, Brazil and Mexico.

The distillery will use the most up-to-date environmental and distilling techniques. It comes at a time of sustained growth in the company's Scotch whisky business worldwide.

It is expected that the distillery will create around 25 jobs.

Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland, said: "This substantial investment in Moray underpins our commitment to the area and to Scotland as a whole.

"It is an investment that is essential to the long-term strategy for the development of our business here and has been made possible by the close and constructive relationship we have nurtured with Moray Council, the wider community and other key stakeholders."

Mr Donaghey added: "With this new state-of-the-art distillery we aim to meet demand well into the future - a good deal for the local area, the Scotch whisky industry and the Scottish economy."

Moray Council's development control manager Alan Short confirmed the council had received the application.

"We have had pre-application discussions with Diageo," said Mr Short.

"It is a major development and we would like to do what we can to support it."

However, he said the council could not pre-judge the application nor could it give a timescale for the application to be determined.

Last night Moray MP Angus Robertson, a vice-chairman of the all-party Whisky Group at Westminster, welcomed the latest move.

He said: "Diageo's announcement that they have lodged an application for a new distillery is great news for the whisky industry and demonstrates the potential for growth in Moray's economy.

"This investment by Diageo makes the whisky industry's base all the stronger in Moray."

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said the whisky industry was a vital sector of the Moray economy.

He said: "Investment such as this provides security not just for Diageo employees but for the industry as a whole. Not only does it provide direct employment for Diageo, but there are also associated haulage jobs, engineering industry work and many other spin-offs."

Diageo already has 27 malt distilleries and two grain distilleries and employs more than 4,000 people in Scotland.

Around 90% of its whisky produced in Scotland is sold overseas.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 11

Islay malt proves to be early hit

It Is a mere whipper snapper in the whisky world, but a five-year-old Islay "newcomer" has scored a considerable coup after being placed in the same league as mature single malts seven times its age.

America's most influential whisky enthusiasts magazine, The Malt Advocate, has rated PC5, the new peaty whisky from Bruichladdich, as "outstanding" and "the best for its style".

The highest scorer was a single cask bottling of the legendary 35-year-old Springbank. At 93%, and costing £300 a bottle, a single cask of 34-year-old Glenfiddich followed.

But third equal, with a score of 93%, was the five-year-old Bruichladdich PC5 which shared its position with a 36-year-old Mortlach. A 27-year-old Bunnahabhain and 26-year-old Highland Park followed. The Malt Advocate review said of PC5: "If you like your smoky Islay whiskies young and masculine, this one is for you. Multi-dimensional and balanced. Youthful, but not immature."

The PC5, Port Charlotte five-year-old, was the first whisky to be distilled under the new management at Bruichladdich Distillery, following six years of dormancy. Bruichladdich's master distiller Jim McEwan said: "We are particularly proud to have it rated in such exalted company."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 05

Whisky exports set to rocket as India scraps punitive duty

Britain's Scotch whisky producers believe they could see a quadrupling of exports to India within five years following this week's abolition of punitive import tariffs by the Indian government.

The decision to scrap an "additional duty", which Brussels has said imposes a tax burden of as much as 550pc on exports to India, may not, however, be enough to prompt the European Union (EU) to call off a complaint to the World Trade Organisation over the issue.

A basic customs duty of 150pc will remain in place for spirits imports, and in a show of defiance, the Indian government this week raised the duty on wines to the same level.

Industry sources said last night that while the basic duty was WTO-compliant, it was likely to be a focus for discussion at forthcoming Free Trade Agreement talks between the EU and India.

"Abolition of the discriminatory Additional Duty is a significant step towards fair competition in an important emerging market for Scotch whisky," said Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

"The duty has unfairly restricted market access in contravention of WTO rules. Reform will not transform the Scotch whisky market in India overnight but it opens up new possibilities for Scottish distillers to compete with domestic producers on a level playing field."

The Indian government's tariff reform came within weeks of the takeover of Whyte & Mackay, one of the world's largest Scotch whisky producers, by the Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya.

People close to United Spirits, Mr Mallya's drinks business, said last night that he was likely to be supportive of the government's move, though it was not clear whether he had directly lobbied for it.

Currently, Scotch whisky represents less than 1pc, or about 750,000 cases, of the overall spirits market in India, according to the SWA.

"We believe that could rise to 3m cases within five years," said one source.

Mr Mallya paid almost £600m for Whyte & Mackay, adding brands such as Isle of Jura and Vladivar vodka to a business empire that includes Kingfisher beer.

The deal marked a remarkable entry into the industry for the Indian tycoon, who had long been at loggerheads with the SWA over its stance towards United Spirits' own whisky products.

Mr Mallya is likely to consider listing United Spirits on the London Stock Exchange once he is satisfied with the operating performance and strategic development plans of Whyte & Mackay.

Robert Tchenguiz, the Iranian entrepreneur, and Vivian Imerman, his brother-in-law, were the main beneficiaries of the Whyte & Mackay deal, landing them windfalls worth tens of millions of pounds.

Article Courtesy of Telegraph



Jul 05

Investment in premium malt brands bearing fruit for whisky producer

Edrington Group said sales of its flagship whisky brand, The Famous Grouse, had exceeded 3million cases for the first time and sales of The Macallan single malt had reached a new record of over 500,000 cases in the year to March 31.

Chief executive Ian Curle said yesterday: "Our brand development strategy is bearing fruit as The Famous Grouse, The Macallan and Highland Park all continued to show strong growth, aided by a positive trading environment for Scotch whisky.

"Due to the strong performance of our brands and our confidence in their long-term prospects, we plan to invest further in increased distillation and warehousing at The Macallan estate on Speyside.

"The investment will take place over the next few years and demonstrates our commitment to support the anticipated growth of our business.

"We are well placed to meet future demand."

Privately owned Edrington, which employs more than 800 people, said that The Famous Grouse had been the market leader in Scotland for 27 years and in the past 12 months had improved its position in the UK, its largest market, as a whole

Mr Curle said: "We continue to invest significantly behind The Famous Grouse in international markets and the brand has grown and developed its premium positioning in all of the key territories: Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

"The Macallan achieved over 500,000 cases sold for the first time in 2006-07.

" More importantly, the value growth of The Macallan outpaced the increase in volume and reflects how the group is focusing on opportunities to 'premiumise' and broaden our appeal to a wider and more discerning consumer base.

"Through development of the premium ranges, single-minded focus on quality, and the success of the new Fine Oak range, The Macallan is now the number two single malt Scotch whisky in the world by value.

"Our malt whisky brands are performing ahead of the industry average, both in volume and value, and we believe that this sector will continue to grow strongly in years to come."

Mr Curle added, however, that overall, Edrington's strong brand performance had been dampened by more than £3million of negative currency movements, mostly related to the US dollar.

He said: "Our results will continue to be affected as long as the dollar remains weak."

Edrington reported pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items, of £68.9million: up 6.8% from its £64.5million haul the year before.

Turnover was up 5.7% at £278.5million on the previous year's £263.4million.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 04

India Scraps Additional Tax on Liquor After U.S., EU Complain

India, the world's biggest whiskey market, scrapped an additional import tax on liquor, wine and beer after the U.S. and the European Union complained the duty curbed demand for products such as Jack Daniel's whiskey.

India removed the duty that ranged from 20 percent to 150 percent, the finance ministry said in a statement. It lifted the basic import tax on wine to 150 percent from 100 percent.

U.S. makers of spirits estimate the Indian market is worth more than $14 billion a year and say it is protected by tariffs high enough to keep out almost all American-made products. Lower Indian import tariffs may benefit European liquor companies such as Diageo Plc and Pernod-Ricard SA that are seeking growth in the world's second-most populous nation.

Import duties, including the extra levies, of as much as 550 percent helped keep out foreign competitors, according to the EU. Some of India's trading partners complained that the additional customs duty isn't equal to the excise duty rates on similar products in some Indian states, the ministry said.

The World Trade Organization had agreed on June 20 to investigate a U.S. complaint against India's alcohol imports that said India imposed ``excessive'' tariffs on imported wine and distilled spirits.

Exports of U.S. spirits to India were valued at $540,000 last year, Washington-based Distilled Spirits Council said.

India's spirits market, comprising whisky, rum, brandy and vodka, grew an average 8.3 percent to 1.96 billion liters in five years to 2006, according to Euromonitor. The sale of wines rose 18 percent annually to 5.4 million liters.

Consumption of spirits is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 8.5 percent by 2011. The wine market is projected to grow 14.5 percent annually to 10.5 million liters in the same period, the London-based Euromonitor said.

Article Courtesy of Bloomberg



Jul 03

Malt whisky is choice for live earth concert

Orkney-based Highland Park yesterday became the official single malt whisky for this weekend's global music event Live Earth.

The drink has been selected as the exclusive single malt being served on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, in London, during the 24-hour, seven-continent benefit concert.

More than 150 musicians will perform to an estimated global audience of 2billion in an event aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues.

Jason Craig, global brand controller for Highland Park, said: "We are both delighted and honoured to be supporting an event as important as Live Earth, which is using the global reach of music to engage people on a mass scale to live a more environmentally aware lifestyle.

"At the Highland Park distillery we are putting in place a number of initiatives to demonstrate our own green credentials."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jul 01

BenRiach Launch 3 Heavily Peated Wood Finishes

We are pleased to announce the release of three new 12 years old BenRiach Single Malt expressions, each of which is distilled from heavily peated malted barley and originally matured in American oak, then finished in either Pedro Ximinez Sherry Butts (‘Heredotus Fumosus’), Aged Tawny Port Hogsheads (‘Importanticus Fumosus’) or Jamaican Dark Rum Barrels (‘Arumaticus Fumosus’).

Each whisky is non chill filtered and bottled at 46% (92 proof) and natural colour, and comes housed in an individual gift tube. All 3 whiskies were launched towards the end of May 2007, and are available in strictly limited quantities, with a 1st production of just 530 six-packs of Heredotus, 420 six-packs of Importanticus and a mere 290 six-packs of Arumaticus.

With Curiositas and Authenticus we have established a tradition of giving our heavily peated malts Latin names, and we have decided to continue this with the 3 new releases.

Tasting Notes:


‘Heredotus Fumosus’ literally translates to ‘Smoky sherry’

Nose: Sweet peat and smoke, clean citrus and vanilla notes with a rich backdrop of Pedro Ximinez Sherry.
Colour: Golden.
Taste: Sweet peat and smokey kippers, bog myrtle, lavender and sultanas, with a sublime Pedro Ximinez Sherry finish.


‘Importanticus Fumosus literally translates to ‘Smoky port’

Nose: A big experience with peat, seaweed, vanilla and herbs complementing the rich Tawny Port presence.
Colour: Copper.
Taste: Wonderful sweet peat, bog myrtle and seaweed, with hints of vanilla,
citrus and wild flowers, with a rich infusion of Port.


‘Arumaticus Fumosus’ literally translates to ‘Smoky rum’

Nose: Peat reek and smokies, moor herbs and heather, followed by a cascade of rum and sultanas.
Colour: Light gold.
Taste: Peat, eucalyptus, smokies, wild flowers and vanilla, with a huge infusion of sultanas and rum.


For more information or pictures please contact Alistair Walker on:

Tel : +44 (0) 1324 682220

Article Courtesy of Benriach


June 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Jun 30

Chivas invests £4.75m in bottling plants

CHIVAS BROTHERS will invest £4.75 million in two bottling operations in Scotland to keep up with worldwide demand for leading brands such as whiskies Chivas Regal, Ballantine's, The Glenlivet and Beefeater gin.

The investment, which is backed by a £950,000 grant from the Scottish Executive, will increase capacity at plants in Paisley and Dumbarton, the company has revealed.

It was only last year that Chivas Brothers's parent company, Pernod Ricard, spent £2m on the Newbridge bottling operation in Edinburgh.

According to Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers, the outlay on the bottling plants is the result of "a very successful and dynamic year with our key brands".

The Executive grant comes out of regional selective assistance funds, Scotland's principal scheme for supporting industry, that is earmarked for projects that increase or safeguard jobs in "assisted areas".

In a statement, Martin Togneri, chief executive of Scottish Development International, pointed out that the spirits industry "helps support around 41,000 jobs in Scotland". According to official figures, the Scotch industry alone is worth £2.47 billion a year in exports.

Chivas Brothers is in the middle of a £30m campaign for this year to roll out Ballantine's across the world and has re-launched Beefeater gin in Spain and elsewhere. According to Porta, the company, which employs 1600 staff across 31 sites in Scotland, has ambitious plans "to become the leading producer of premium Scotch whisky and gin".

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Jun 29

Diageo warns of US slowdown

Diageo, the owner of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, warned of a slowdown in the US spirits market as it forecast an 8 per cent rise in full-year profit growth.

The UK distiller's shares fell 29p, or 2.7 per cent, to £10.36 after it said in a trading statement that it was sticking with its target of 8 per cent organic operating profit growth this year.

Analysts had been hoping for a further increase in the group's full-year financial targets after Diageo raised its profit guidance in February.

But on Thursday Diageo said spirit sales in the US, its biggest market, had slowed in recent months, raising fears that the weakening of the US economy may lead to a decline in alcohol purchases.

Diageo has a strong position in the US market, with its Johnnie Walker and Bailey's brands among the country's five most profitable spirits brands. It plans to put up prices on its premium brands to help increase sales revenues.

While Diageo claimed that its brands were not affected by the US spirits slowdown, some analysts said they were worried by the group's comments, given that the US is core to its growth.

Morgan Stanley said: "There is scope for premiumisation, but that is not the same as pricing growth on the mainstream product base."

Diageo owns 16 of the world's top 100 premium spirits brands, according to research from Impact Databank. However, it does not own any of the fastest-growing premium brands, which include Patron tequila, Svedka and Russian Standard vodka, and Presidente brandy.

In Europe and Asia, Diageo has been increasing the amount of money it spends on marketing and yesterday it said this had helped sales in the second half of its fiscal year.

Analysts said the higher marketing spending should help the group produce organic sales growth of about 6 per cent.

Article Courtesy of msnbc



Jun 28

Whisky strength boost for Diageo

Strong demand for scotch whisky in the US and Latin America has boosted trading at UK drinks firm Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker.

Whisky brands remained the "key driver" of its global growth, Diageo said, while adding that Guinness continued to perform strongly in Africa.

European trade has been tougher, with the alcopop market in decline.

Diageo reiterated earlier forecasts of 8% profit growth this year but said the weak dollar would cost it £80m.

The US remains the firm's most important market, making exchange rate movements important to its business.

Brand strength

Diageo has benefited from resurgent global demand for whisky and recently announced plans to invest £100m in modernising its distilleries.

The firm will report its full-year profits at the end of August.

The firm will report its full-year profits at the end of August, but in a market update Diageo said it had outperformed the market in the US this year and had also seen strong growth in Latin America and Africa.

It added that trading had improved in Europe and Asia in the second half of the year following higher marketing expenditure.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said the performance reflected the strength of the firm's brands.

Diageo's shares fell 1% as analysts expressed some disappointment that profit forecasts had merely been restated rather than increased.

But Keith Bowman, from Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said attitudes to the firm's shares were likely to remain "favourable".

"The important North American market is making progress, whilst the group's push into emerging markets continues to build momentum," he said.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Jun 27

It's a snip at £800 a bottle

Whisky drinkers are being offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to sample a rare Scottish malt.

A limited edition bottle of Highland Park 1958, which claims to be the "best spirit in the world", is being sold at Oddbins in Aberdeen.

Only 665 bottles of the whisky were ever made and it is the only one of its kind left in Britain.

But whisky connoisseurs will have to splash out £800 in order to fill their glass with the nectar.

Todd Baldwin, 27, who works at the city centre shop, today said: "It is a collector's dream.

"Everybody seems to want to taste the whisky but not everyone can afford it.

"We have lost count of the number of people who have stopped and stared as they walked past the window. They obviously have expensive taste."

Staff at the wine merchants have showcased the bottle, numbered 327, in the window of Oddbins in Union Street, Aberdeen.

The 40-year-old whisky, which was bottled in 1998, is the last of its kind to be offered for sale to the public.

Todd, an Australian who moved to Scotland six months ago, added: "I wasn't a big fan of whisky until I moved here and now I love the stuff."

Highland Park Distillery, based in Orkney, said it was surprised the rare bottle was only being sold for £800 and claimed it was a bargain.

Pat Retson, visitor centre manager at the company's distillery in Kirkwall, said: "It is rare to hear of a bottle of this kind being sold on the open market.

"We have saved a sample here but they are not for sale in that way and if they were they would be worth thousands - so this is a bargain."

Simon Downs, of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said: "It is rare to find a 40-year-old malt available in the shops."

But he added: "This sale should create a bit of interest from people who drink whisky all over the world."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jun 27

Whisky winner from Bruichladdich

The 12-year-old single malt whisky made on the Hebridean Isle of Islay by privately owned Bruichladdich Distillery has become the only UK spirit to be awarded the top three-star rating in the International Taste & Quality Institute's Superior Taste Awards.
The distillery's whisky, which is sold in cases of six, is claimed to be the purest in Scotland and derives its creamy texture and long finish to the group's artisanal techniques that date back to the late 1880s.

Bruichladdich uses six varieties of the island's organic and heritage barleys along with pure spring water to make the whisky, which undergoes a microchip-free slow distillation in tall, narrow-necked stills followed by slow maturation and natural bottling on the island. Bruichladdich uses three distillation techniques and three peating levels but avoids chill-filtration and colourings.

Article Courtesy of Caterer Search


Caterer Search

Jun 26

The Global Market Review of Blended Whisky – Forecasts to 2012 announces that a new market research report related to the worldwide alcoholic drinks industry is now available to its catalogue.

Global market review of blended whisky – forecasts to 2012

This brand new report, the Global market review of blended whisky, looks at what is happening to blended Scotch in emerging and mature markets.

The publisher examines their opportunities and challenges, and ask the question; is the industry correct in believing that blended whisky will enter a new golden age via the potential in the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC)?

The publisher examines whether there has been a change in the nature of whisky marketing, and answer questions such as:

Is blended Scotch (r)evolutionary or simply resilient?
If the 'purist view' is falling away, what is it being replaced with?
Can the same approach be made to work both in the eager new markets, and the sluggish mature markets?
Brand image, self-image and innovation are addressed, plus the publisher takes a look at the role of, and the opportunities for 'smaller' brands.
Interviews with key executives from the top players in the industry are a main focus of the report, and the publisher provides commentary from executives at J&B, Chivas Bros, Diageo, Whyte & Mackay, Burn Stewart, Cutty Sark and Beam Global among others.

The report discusses the issues around current shortage of supply of blended Scotch, and finally, the publisher gives a perspective on the future of this global category.

Chapter 1: Introduction - A brief overview of the report coverage.

Chapter 2: Emerging markets – The publisher provides an overview of the BRIC economies, and discusses if the positive trend which is being seen in all of these emerging markets is as a direct result of each country's economic performance.

Chapter 3: Mature markets - This chapter covers the mature markets and looks at the more mixed market situation in the UK, France, the US and Southern and Eastern Europe. The publisher also includes comments from key executives, including James Pennefather, whisky portfolio brand director (GB) at Diageo and Bob Brannan, of Whyte & Mackay

Chapter 4: Brands and shifting sands - This chapter looks at whether brand owners need to radically challenge the imagery surrounding blends, and give the category a dramatic and innovative makeover in order to capture a new consumer. Plus, the publisher discusses if smaller brands ever effectively challenge the hegemony established by Diageo and Chivas Bros. This chapter includes comments from Alberto Gavazzi, category director for whisky, gin and Reserve brands at Diageo and Michael Cockram, Scotch brand director at Beam Global.

Chapter 5: Stock and supply - The premiumisation of the blended market has changed the category's shape - perhaps permanently. These days, the entry point in most of the emerging markets is 12-year-old; from a consumer perspective that means two brands, JWBL and Chivas Regal. Many firms have tried to launch 12-year-old variants to tap into this trend but very few of these brands have captured the public imagination, but if this is the new entry point, will all the others be forced to follow suit?

The publisher also looks at the rise in sales within emerging markets that has led to the industry upping production significantly over the past two years. Firms are now investing heavily in production infrastructure in order to meet anticipated demand, illustrated by Diageo announcing a GBP100m investment in infrastructure in February 2007, and Chivas doubling capacity at Glenburgie.

The chapter is strongly supported by interviews with, among others Burn Stewart's Fraser Thornton, Cutty Sark's marketing director, David King and Sophie Gallois, brand director, super-premium at Chivas Bros.

Chapter 6: Projections - Blended whisky total volume estimates in major markets and overall 2006-2012 (nine-litre cases)

Article Courtesy of Business Wire


Business Wire

Jun 21

Scotch Whisked To England

The Scottish master distiller responsible for various Laphroaig and Chivas malts, Iain Henderson, is to manage the launch of England's first whisky distillery, the St George's Distillery in Roudham, Norfolk.

The distillery has already produced 250 casks of spirit which will be available for purchase in 2009 having been aged in oak for the required three years. England's first single malt is expected to be light-bodied with sweet toffee flavours.

Made using the same techniques as in Scotland, the English whisky cannot, however, be referred to as Scotch, a label this week granted more protection from the European Parliament. The move has been introduced in a bid to tackle misleading practices overseas and also addresses unfair practices such as the addition of flavours or sweeteners to whisky.

Article Courtesy of Berry Bros & Rudd


Berry Bros & Rudd

Jun 20

Rothes firm bolsters headcount

A North-east design and manufacturing firm has added more than 20 staff.

Forsyths, which has its headquarters at Rothes, has expanded its team by taking on an additional 22 employees: four at its Forblast operation at Buckie, 12 at its Buckie base and an additional six at Rothes.

This brings the total number of staff to more than 140.

The company said increases in work for both the oil and gas and whisky industries - two of its main areas of expertise - had resulted in a booming business climate.

Forsyths chairman Richard Forsyth said: "With both the whisky and oil and gas industries continuing to thrive, we are in an excellent position to take advantage of the many new business opportunities that lie ahead. The appointment of even more staff will ensure we are in the best possible position to serve both new and existing clients.

"These are exciting times for Forsyths, and although we continue to extend our reach internationally, we are particularly committed to the local area, encouraging local employment and skills.

"Last year, Forsyths had a turnover of £13million, and this looks set to rise by 25-30% this year. All in all, we are extremely happy with the firm's position and, as the main pot-still maker in the world, we are building a reputation as a market leader."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jun 20

Whisky industry raises glass to Europe

Scotland's £1bn whisky industry yesterday welcomed tighter rules on the production and labelling of the spirit in the European Union, claiming they will bolster exports and protect jobs.

Members of the European Parliament approved an updated and clearer legal definition of whisky, designed to help distillers tackle labelling which they have criticised as unfair and misleading.

The rules state that whisky cannot be flavoured or sweetened. They also update the protection of the geographical indication "Scotch whisky" in line with World Trade Organisation rules.

Nick Soper, the Scotch Whisky Association's European affairs director, said: "Improved EU protection for the traditional way of making Scotch whisky is a significant step forward. It will be easier to protect Scotch from unfair practices, supporting export success and the jobs that depend on that continuing success."

Whisky and other spirits drinks have been defined in EU law since 1989, but a spokesman for the SWA said the old rules proved difficult to interpret and appeared to offer loopholes. The association has pursued a string of court cases to protect the Scotch whisky brand. An example included taking action against a French producer who added sugar to whisky to sweeten it and sold the resulting product as whisky.

The spokesman said that the industry will now look at how best to bring forward national rules on Scotch whisky branding and labelling to the European level. This process will include talks on protecting the Gaelic language version of Scotch whisky - uisge-beatha Albannach - as a distinctive brand.

Yesterday's vote on spirit drinks also has important implications for vodka producers, in that those making the spirit from more than just potatoes or cereals will in future have to identify the extra ingredients on the label. The decision affects about one-third of the UK's vodka production, which includes molasses in the mix.

The UK is the second-biggest producer of vodka in Europe and the new labelling requirement, if endorsed by ministers, would mostly affect supermarkets' own-label vodka and other budget brands made from sugar beet.

The compromise avoids a tougher demand from Polish and Scandinavian vodka producers that the drink should only be called "vodka" when made from potatoes and cereals.

Labour MEP Linda McAvan, who brokered the deal, explained: "Only vodka made from either potatoes or cereals can simply be called vodka.

"All other vodkas will have to be labelled - but all European vodka producers will be able to keep their products on the market."

The European Vodka Alliance welcomed the compromise, which allows vodka to be made from any agricultural raw material as long as manufacturers comply with the need to stipulate on the label all the raw materials other than potatoes or cereals.

EVA spokesman Chris Scott Wilson said: "The Alliance has supported this compromise from the start. We hope now that EU governments will endorse the European Parliament vote and that this issue can be resolved once and for all."

The compromise on vodka was welcomed by Diageo, Europe's biggest spirits company, whose chief executive Paul Walsh had described efforts by some countries to tighten the rules as "protectionism".

The deal will be put to EU ministers for a final vote at the end of the month.

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Jun 19

Distiller grasps Thistle over sales

Burn Stewart Distillers said yesterday it had revamped its sales operation and brought it back in-house.

Its whiskies, including core brands Scottish Leader, Black Bottle and Bunnahabhain, were previously distributed by Paragon Vintners.

Following a review of the Burn Stewart Distillers business, the East Kilbride-based company decided to support its brand development programmes from Scotland and, as a result, took direct control over all sales and marketing activities of its UK business.

The UK sales team has been completely restructured, with several staff coming on board from Paragon Vintners and new recruits added. Andy Calder, regional sales director, is heading up the team.

He said: "This new structure is already working, especially for Scottish Leader.

"We are very passionate about our brands and with this new structure we are always striving to add value to our wholesale and retail partners but importantly our end consumer."

Burn Stewart is owned by CL WorldBrands, the global drink arm of Trinidad-based CL Financial.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jun 15

First whisky store opens at Cyprus airport

Uisge Beatha – a new concept for new operators

‘Uisge Beatha’, the water of life, is the first of its kind malt whisky concept that has opened inside the partly refurbished Larnaca airport departure lounge with the aim of attracting the whisky connoisseurs and well-to-do travellers on their way to short or long journeys.

This pilot project is the brainchild of the marketing team of the airport’s new management, CTC ARI Airports, and plans are underway to imitate the same shop-in-shop, located within the upgraded duty free store in other countries where the Hermes Airports venture partner Aer Rianta International has a presence.

Uisge Beatha is manned by a well-trained ‘shopping advisor’ who will guide the potential buyer through the initial selection of 61 Scottish single malts, that is expected to see a number of Irish malt whiskeys added very soon.

Tasting also takes place on the spot depending on the customer’s preference or inquiries. Some of the ‘most interested’ are some Scandinavians and Russians who are prepared to spend big amounts for a quality whisky, while others are still rushing through trying to get the odd Scotch blend for the father-in-law and the cologne for the mother-in-law, while trying to catch the flight in time.

For the unknowing visitor, the best bargains are the Glenfiddichs for about a tenner while the most expensive in the store is a 30-year-old ‘Glen’ going for CYP 110 (EUR 187). This shop is expected to engulf whiskies and blends from other continents as well, such as the U.S., and is regarded as having the best whisky collection at any airport.

All four major Scottish malt producing areas are represented at Uisge Beatha – Highlands, Speyside, Islay and Lowlands and you can ask the shop keeper anything you want. If he doesn’t know it (which he probably does), then he has a vast supply of books and other resources.

But it is not just quality brands and their nice display that will attract buyers to the shop. The company’s management has secured competitive prices rating Larnaca Airport as one of the “most affordable” for whisky purchases.

“On some brands we have at least a pound’s difference from outside market prices, but in the case of others we have resorted to special deals by incorporating taxes or other costs in order to make our shop attractive for new customers,” explained Gerry Crawford, General Manager, CTC-ARI Airports that operates the Cyprus Airports Duty Free, as well as the smaller Xpress shops dotted around the airport terminal building.

“My objective is to completely demystify the sector for our consumers,” said Crawford, adding that, “we will be initially specialising in distillery bottled editions as I think it is a lot more interesting and collectible for the consumer.”

Article Courtesy of Financial Mirror


Financial Mirror

Jun 14

Packaging firm to double its workforce

AN enterprising Port Glasgow company is planning to build a new factory and double its workforce.

McLaren Packaging specialises in making high-quality tubes for many of the world’s best known whiskies.

And things are going so well that, over the next two years, it hopes to build a new plant next to the existing Devol industrial estate premises and increase the workforce from 53 to about 100.

Chief executive Jim McLaren told the Tele: “We are the only company in Britain who can provide a complete whisky-packaging service on one site. We produce high-graphic tubes and cases as well as partitions which are assembled and packed for delivery direct to the whisky bottling plants, ready for filling and shipment throughout the world.

“These tubes are technically very difficult to make and a great deal of skill is required. Our company’s been doing very well and the time is right for us to expand.

“We are a family company based in the Port Glasgow Industrial Estate and that’s where we would like to stay.

“Most of our workforce is local and they’ve been with us for a number of years, and I think that is one of the keys to our success.”

The company was praised in the House of Commons by Inverclyde MP David Cairns for its contribution to Inverclyde’s economy.

He said their investment and training strategy had kept them at the forefront of their industry.

Mr McLaren added: “The Scotch whisky industry is thriving at the moment, and companies such as McLaren Packaging allow Scotch whisky to expand into markets where it is seen more as a niche product.”

The company has been in Port Glasgow Industrial Estate for 22 years.

Article Courtesy of Greenock Telegraph


Greenock Telegraph

Jun 12

Chinese-speaking guide to help distillery bosses deal with influx of oriental tourists

A Rise in the number of oriental tourists sampling whisky at a Speyside distillery has prompted bosses to hire their first Chinese-speaking guide.

At the age of 20, Hong Kong-born Ines Hiu Ting Shek speaks five languages, including Cantonese and Mandarin.

She has been taken on by Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown to host tours for the growing number of visitors from China.

Last year the number of tourists from this country rose by 37.5% and already this season the distillery has encountered record levels of Chinese visitors.

Elizabeth Lafferty, spokeswoman for the distillery, said: "We have recruited over 30 guides to help us out over the busy summer months and between them they speak 10 different languages.

"Ines, however, is our most talented linguistically, able to speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Dutch and French."

Miss Shek, a management studies student at Aberdeen University, said: "It is very exciting to be living at Glenfiddich. I have just started my training as a guide and there is a lot to learn but I am really looking forward to taking my first tour group around."

Ian Allan, visitor centre manager at Glen Moray Distillery in Elgin, said yesterday its tours were hosted in English although there were language cards available.

"The only way we tend to get Chinese visitors is if they stumble across us during the whisky trail," he said.

Staff at The Macallan Distillery, at Craigellachie, and Glenfarclas Distillery at Ballindalloch, which both offer English tours only, said although there had been no noticeable rise in Chinese visitors they did regularly attract Japanese tourists.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jun 10

Renewed ‘Imperial’ Seeks to Dominate Whisky Market

"Imperial," the best-selling whisky brand that has been in top place in the South Korean market for more than a decade, aims to maintain its lead with a new look and strengthened consumer protection policy.

Jinro Ballantines, the South Korean unit of Pernod Ricard, said Friday that it will launch this week ``Imperial 17,’’ which maintains the smooth taste and legitimacy of the super premium whisky.

Imperial’s new look features a bold, confident exterior to enhance the brand image as a successful, magnetic and masculine brand. While the new ``Imperial 12’’ was already released on May 28, the new ``Imperial 17’’ is to be distributed in the market from June 12.

In particular, the new Imperial presents a different kind of ``product guarantee’’ device, called OK Mark (Original Keeper Mark), in addition to its famous ``Keeper Cap.’’

When the laser-printed four-digit number on the cap and cap sealer of each bottle matches the last four digits of the 10-digit product code on the label, the bottle is guaranteed to be genuine Imperial, according to Jinro Ballantines.

Imperial has maintained its lead on the domestic whisky market for 13 consecutive years since its launch in 1994 and has led changes through the past decade to meet consumer needs with the introduction of various protection devices and promotion and advertising campaigns.

``We think we have done well, but one can never stop,’’ Anthony J. Budd, marketing director of the company, said in the press conference to launch the Imperial renewal. ``A leader cannot stop.’’

He added that Imperial would launch a new advertising campaign beginning in mid-June to support the newly designed bottle. Jinro Ballantines also plans to launch promotional events and other massive advertisement campaigns through the Imperial Web site (

``Since consumers look for more of an emotional connection to their whisky brand, we will focus on the activity that appeals to them through the launch of the new bottle design and the introduction of advertising campaigns using celebrities who match Imperial’s brand image as a pioneer and a leader,’’ Budd said.

Jinro Ballantines President Jean-Christophe Coutures said that he hopes the company’s market share would grow from the current 35 percent to over 38 percent by 2008.

Jinro Ballantines, which produces Imperial, Ballantines and other famous brands, had a 36 percent share of the whiskey market in the first four months of this year, followed by Diageo Korea, which markets brands such as Windsor, Dimple and Johnnie Walker, with 35 percent.

South Korea is the world’s fourth largest whisky market. Currently, premium whisky brands account for 72 percent of the market, while super and ultra premium whisky brands take up some 26 percent.

Pernod Ricard acquired Allied Domecq, the British group that formerly owned Jinro Ballanties, in 2005. But the French company decided to maintain the name Jinro Ballantines for a while in consideration of the brand power of Jinro and Ballantines in South Korea.

"Ultimately, we plan to use our own company name, Pernod Ricard _ hopefully in a couple of years," Coutures told The Korea Times.

He shouted, ``Imperial, Nareul Ttareura! (Follow Me),’’ the tagline for the advertisement for the new Imperial during the press launch, calling for participants to follow him and pour each other a glass of the new Imperial 17.

Article Courtesy of Korea Times


Korea Times

Jun 7

Highland Park and The Macallan whiskies win medals

Scotch whisky group Edrington's premium single malts have scooped 12 medals, including four golds, in this year's International Wine and Spirits (IWSC) competition.

Each expression entered by Highland Park and The Macallan in the Islands and Speyside categories were recognised for their quality by the judges.

Orkney-based Highland Park won awards for the brand’s complete portfolio, including the top award of “gold best in class” for its oldest expression, Highland Park 30-year-old. The brand was also awarded gold medals for its 12, 18 and 25-year-old bottlings, silver best in class for its 15-year-old and silver for its 16-year-old duty free exclusive.

The Macallan also enjoyed success winning three silver medals for its 10, 15 and 30-year-old Fine Oak single malts, silver for its 18-year-old Sherry Oak and bronze for both its 12-year- old Sherry Oak and 12-year-old duty free exclusive Elegancia.

Ken Grier, director of malts at Edrington, commented: “We are thrilled to have won this recognition across our malts portfolio. This seal of approval from the IWSC shows our whiskies continue to excel amongst the best in the world in one of the most stringent annual spirit trials.”

Over 200 single malts were put through their paces in the IWSC’s rigorous two stage judging process of professional blind tasting and detailed analysis.

Founded in 1969, it is the premier competition of its kind on the international stage and promotes the quality and excellence of the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs.

Edrington’s best selling blended whisky, The Famous Grouse, also scored highly, receiving a gold, best in class in the Scotch whisky pure malt 30-year-old category and a silver medal in the Scotch whisky blended category (no age) for The Famous Grouse Finest.

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail


Talking Retail

Jun 7

Lewis distillery planned

Lewis could be given the go ahead for the western isles first distillery in around 200 years. Although many illicit stills existed on the Hebridean island until relatively recently.

Lewis entrepreneur, Mark Tayburn plans to build a malt whisky distillery using the peaty water of Uig.

Article Courtesy of



Jun 5

Distillery toasts whisky's success in Europe

Europe's premier chefs have awarded top marks to an Islay whisky - making it the only UK spirit to receive a maximum three-star rating from the International Taste and Quality Institute.

Bruichladdich 12-year-old malt was bestowed with the institute's three-star superior taste award at a black-tie dinner in Brussels.

More than 600 products were tested by Europe's finest chefs and sommeliers - wine experts - internationally recognised by world-renowned culinary guides, such as the Michelin and Gault et Millau.

Mark Reynier, chief executive of Bruichladdich, said the company has just won several prizes in the annual International Wine and Spirits awards.

But he added that this latest European award was particularly welcome because it was judged in a "blind-tasting assessment" by food and drink professionals who take the commercial decisions about which products to buy.

Winning a 92% rating at the event, the whisky was judged on its intrinsic quality, intensity of flavour, purity and the "hedonistic feeling of pleasure" given to the consumer.

Bruichladdich sales director Andrew Gray said: "We are obviously very pleased to be the only whisky to be awarded the maximum three stars. There are of course many awards, and we win more than our fair share of them, but these are serious people who know a thing or two about quality.

"Their judges appreciated the natural flavours of Bruichladdich - acknowledged as the purest in Scotland - which come from slow distillation and natural bott-ling."

He added: "Uniquely, from barley to bottle, we do everything at the distillery. With Islay's pure spring water, rejecting chill-filtration and colouring, this is as natural as it gets.This is exactly what Bruichladdich is all about - £27 buys you pure hedonism."

The International Taste and Quality Institute is the leading independent chef and sommelier-based organisation dedicated to judging, honouring and promoting superior tasting food and drink.

This year 601 products from 58 countries have been evaluated by the institute, but only 7% of them were granted three-star status.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jun 2

Duncan Taylor Wins Global Commendation For Its Premium Whiskies

Aberdeenshire-based Duncan Taylor & Co has this week won prestigious awards from International Wine and Spirit (IWAC) and respected whisky titles both here in Scotland and America

The independent bottler’s Caperdonich 33 year old was awarded overall winner in the well-respected Scottish Field Whisky Merchants’ Challenge 2007, now holding 2nd place in the magazine’s All Time Best £30-£50 charts.

Meanwhile the company’s Invergordon 1965 and Strathisla 36 year old were revered by Malt Advocate, America’s most regarded beer and whisky title.

Finally two gold awards, one silver, one bronze and two best in class were awarded to the independent bottler by International Wine and Spirit (

The privately-owned company fought off stiff competition from whisky distillers and independent bottlers and its premium whiskies impressed all three expert judging panels on nose, taste & finish.

International whisky expert Charlie MacLean commented on Caperdonich’s “Wonderful nose” and pronounced it “The best of the bunch”. While Keir Sword was pleasantly surprised by Caperdonich’s “gentle, subtle character which continues on the palate, where the delicate winey sweetness fades to a creamy, more-ish finish.”

John Hansell from the Malt Advocate gave Duncan Taylor’s Rare Auld Invergordon 1965 an unprecedented 94/100 for cask 15510, which was exclusively selected by Park Avenue Liquor Shop in New York. Additionally the company’s Strathisla 1968 Cask 7009 was awarded an equally impressive 93 points.

Duncan Taylor’s Cask Strength 41 YO Tomatin Rare Auld Scotch Whisky scored 91.1 as did the company’s Carsebridge 27 YO Cask Strength Rare Auld Scotch Whisky also scoring achieving a coveted 91 score.

Duncan Taylor Cask Strength 38 YO Caperdonich Rare Auld Scotch Whisky was awarded 85.8, while Duncan Taylor 12 YO Imperial from the NC2 Range Single Malt Scotch Whisky scored 78.3. NC2 is a non-coloured, non chill filtered whisky of twelve years plus.

Commenting on the launch of NC2 range earlier this month, whisky writer Dave Broom said, “The move towards ‘natural’ whiskies is to be welcomed. As consumers around the world become more educated, so they don’t mind if their dram goes a wee bit cloudy when water is added. They know that if it does they will be getting added character. Whisky is about flavour. Natural whisky gives you that…and more.”

Described by Whisky Magazine as ‘A jewel in the crown of Scottish whisky’, Duncan Taylor has one of the largest collections of rare Scottish whiskies.

Euan Shand, owner of Duncan Taylor commented. "We are delighted that our commitment to working only with Scotland’s leading distilleries, using the finest casks available, adopting rigorous cask husbandry and creating ideal warehouse conditions has resulted in even more awards for our whiskies. Duncan Taylor has a reputation for quality that dates back to its inception in 1938 and we are proud to maintain this gold standard for generations to come.”

Duncan Taylor whiskies are available from leading independent whisky shops. To check for stockists log on to

Article Courtesy of O'Leary PR


Duncan Taylor

Jun 01

The Balvenie rolls out Artisan Awards

As part of a campaign to build awareness of The Balvenie and its credentials as a premium Single Malt Scotch Whisky which prides itself on retaining and nurturing a high standard of craftsmanship, the brand has rolled out The Balvenie Artisan Awards across the UK for the first time this year.

The awards, which have previously been running in Scotland for 4 years, are designed to reward and celebrate individuals who, like the makers of The Balvenie, keep traditional crafts alive.

‘These awards have been extremely successful in Scotland so it seemed natural to extend the opportunity to recognise those businesses who are committed to upholding traditional crafts and skills to the rest of the UK.

'We still use traditional methods to make The Balvenie such as growing our own barley, maintaining a traditional floor maltings, coopers, and a resident coppersmith. We are totally committed to retaining all areas of craftsmanship throughout the process,’ explained Geraldine Roche.

‘By forming an exclusive media partnership with Country Living magazine, we have been able to closely target potential drinkers and gifters of premium malts who are likely to appreciate and identify with these values.’

The top accolade at the awards, The Country Living Balvenie Artisan of the Year 2007, was presented at the award ceremony in London this month. It went to Steven Laing, founder of Traditional Masonry in Aberdeenshire, who impressed the judges with his commitment to training, education and quality.

Other winners included a wooden boat builder from Cornwall, an upholstery designer from London and a wood carver from Suffolk.

In addition to The Balvenie Artisan Awards, the brand has also formed a number of partnerships with well respected, luxury brands who also adhere to traditional craftsmanship, to bring the brand’s quality and heritage to life. These include Gieves & Hawkes Savile Row bespoke tailors and Morgan cars as a means of engaging with discerning whisky drinkers.

‘Our programme of support for the brand continues to communicate our commitment to hand crafted quality by linking with craftsman from high end tailors through to stonemasons. Partnerships such as those with Gieves and Hawkes and Morgan cars will be rolled out continually throughout the year in a bid to keep these messages alive,’ adds Roche.

The Balvenie continues to win the highest accolades from industry experts and the distillery now offers Scotland’s most in-depth whisky tour. It is the only distillery in Scotland to allow visitors to bottle their own whisky in a distillery warehouse direct from the cask.

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail


Talking Retail
May 2007 Scotch Whisky News

May 31

Scottish maltster invests £12m to increase capacity

Scottish maltster, Simpsons Malt, has invested £12 million to increase malting capacity at its Berwick-on-Tweed plant.

The move, which will see capacity increased by 40,000 tonnes to 180,000 tonnes, follows the closure in recent years of malting plants at Carnoustie, Kirkcaldy and Kirkliston.

The closures were blamed on poor returns for malt and concerns that a shortage of malting capacity could limit the uptake of malting barley from Scottish farmers.

Distillers have warned they may have to import more malt to meet the soaring world-wide demand for Scotch whisky.

Tim McCreath, Simpsons’ managing director, welcomed the recent strengthening of the malting barley market, which has seen contract prices for this year’s harvest rise by £40 a tonne compared with last year, and the offer of longer-term contracts by distillers to secure future supplies.

“The price of malt and therefore malting barley has been undervalued for the last few years,” said Mr McCreath.

“We have seen a more realistic value returning to the malt market this year and higher prices have to be passed down to growers to make malting barley a competitive and sustainable option.”

Simpsons said it has secured several long-term deals with distillers and a major brewer which justifies its investment in new plant.

The company sources most of its malting barley requirements from the Borders, Lothians and Northumberland. It also has sites in Norfolk and Essex, with total malting capacity reaching 270,000 tonnes.

Trade sources believe the rise in the malting barley price has been enough to halt the decline in the spring barley area in Scotland.

It is expected that the June census will confirm the area down to spring barley has stabilised.

Article Courtesy of Farmers Weekly


Farmers Weekly

May 30

Pernod Ricard Looks To Boost China Sales

French wine and spirits group Pernod Ricard is looking to strengthen its position in China, where it is the leading western drinks brand, by targeting households with an income of over $5,000 per year, according to Le Monde. This sector of the population is expected to reach 10% in 2010, from 8% in 2005.

The group's premium brands, which sell for over $30 per bottle, account for about 30% of its sales worldwide, but make up 100% of turnover in China. The report said the group is now planning to concentrate on champagne and whisky due to their increased popularity in China.

Article Courtesy of Kam City


Kam City

May 28

Oil shortage hits whisky island

Distillers on Islay face not being able to make whisky during the island's annual celebration of malt and music due to a shortage of oil.

A £4m pier extension was built on Loch Indaal to accommodate an oil tanker but low tides and silting have prevented it from docking regularly.

The company which supplies the oil said it could not guarantee deliveries.

Bad weather prevented the tanker unloading on Sunday and shallow water means it could dock below capacity.

With the tanker only only holding one tenth of its possible load, the oil will only last until Wednesday.

The Bruichladdich distillery, which stands opposite the pier, will have to stop distilling on Monday, just as hundreds of visitors are enjoying the island's malt and music festival.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

May 24

Whisky cheers to eastern promise

THE new Indian owner of Invergordon Distillery plans to invest around £10 million in the plant and double its output, creating new jobs, it has been revealed.

Vijay Mallya, the drinks billionaire who last week snapped up Whyte & Mackay for £595 million, proposes turning Invergordon Distillery into the biggest whisky plant in Scotland to satisfy booming demand on the sub-continent.

Mr Mallya's investment in the distillery through his United Spirits business will see its capacity increase from 40 million litres of alcohol a year to 80 million litres.

The whisky produced at Invergordon will be shipped in bulk to India where it will be bottled. The company is targetting India as next April will see the removal of tariff barriers on the sale of whisky which will put the drink within the reach of ordinary consumers. Currently there is a huge demand for whisky among India's middle classes.

A spokesman for the company said the plans were likely to mean new jobs at the distillery but could not say how many.

With the multi-million pound investment,Invergordon will rival Diageo's huge Cameronbridge plant in Fife and the Diageo/Edrington North British distillery in Edinburgh.

The move was this week welcomed by Maxine Smith, one of the new Highland councillors on the Cromarty Firth ward.

Ms Smith said: "I'm absolutely delighted, for two reasons. Firstly because it means Scotch whisky will be promoted all over the world which is good for the Highlands and for Scotland, and secondly it will be tremendous for Invergordon because we really need that regeneration.

"This will underpin the security of the existing jobs at Invergordon Distillery and also create new jobs, and because this is Scotch whisky industry and a high quality product, I'm sure these jobs will be long term."

She added: "There has been a period of uncertaintly at the distillery while these negotiations have been ongoing and I know the employees have not been given a Christmas bonus for the last two years because nobody knew what was happening. This news will end that uncertainty."

Vijay Mallya now plans to spend a week every month at Keillour Castle in Perthshire, one of 26 homes which he owns worldwide, from where he will oversee Whyte & Mackay.

Meanwhile Whyte & Mackay employees, including those at Invergordon Distillery and the Dalmore plant in Alness, are to share a £26 million bonus after their outgoing chief executive offered to pay it out of his own pocket.

South African tycoon Vivian Imerman, who sold Whyte & Mackay to Vijay Mallya, has offered to pay all 500 employees the equivalent of three month's salary as a thank you.

Mr Imerman bought Whyte & Mackay in 2005 and turned around the business. He said he wanted to reward staff for the hard work they had put in to help transform Whyte & Mackay's fortunes.

Article Courtesy of Highland News


Highland News

May 23

Parasite threat to salmon stocks and whisky industry

Salmon fishery boards have joined forces with the country's canoeists to try to prevent a deadly parasite entering Scottish waters.

It is feared the gyrodactylus salaris (Gs) parasite could devastate salmon stocks and have a major impact on the economy with angling and canoeing suffering along with the whisky, paper and bottled water industries, which rely on fresh water.

The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) and Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) want a high-profile campaign at ports and airports to raise awareness of the threat from the Gs parasite, which has already devastated stocks of Atlantic salmon in Norwegian rivers.

The two organisations say although the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department is taking the issue seriously and their own organisations give advice for anglers and canoeists on how to avoid accidentally importing Gs into this country, more effort should be made, especially by English agencies, to tighten defences.

The ASFB and SCA would like to see: clear information about Gs at ferry ports and airports; leaflets and posters on ferries linking the UK to Scandinavia; and greater effort being made at Westminster to encourage agencies to spread the message across the rest of the British Isles.

Mike Dales, SCA access and environment officer, said: "We are doing all we can to raise awareness of the issue among canoeists and to recommend ways of disinfecting.

"It concerns us that anyone travelling overseas, especially to Norway where many paddlers go each summer, will not pick up this message at the ferry terminal or on the ferry if they hadn't learned about it before they left home. We are concerned that the authorities are not responding with sufficient urgency.

Andrew Wallace, ASFB director, added: "Gs is the single greatest threat salmon stocks in Scotland have ever faced. It is vital that every conceivable effort is made to prevent its introduction.

"It concerns us greatly that the ferry, port and airport interests do not appear to be taking sufficient precautions."

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

May 22

Fond of a wee dram

Not many people know that whisky matches food just as well as wine. Whisky importer and connoisseur Bart Burgers got straight up with Naomi Mitchell.

Bart Burgers, one of New Zealand's premier whisky connoisseurs, had his first tipple of whisky during a visit to Scotland in 1991.

He can't remember which whisky he drank, but he says it changed his life.

"What I did remember was that as I sipped the tantalising, flavoursome whisky cupped in my hands, its warmth enveloped every bone in my body."

Burgers has been passionate about the whisky industry ever since.

He will be hosting a whisky tasting evening in Nelson at the Boat Shed Cafe on June 1.

He moved to New Zealand from the Netherlands five years ago but couldn't get his hands on good-quality whisky, so he arranged for cases to be sent to him in New Zealand.

"New Zealand is still in its infancy when it comes to single malts."

Burgers runs the website Malts of Distinction as well as wine stores in Auckland, and says he has access to 300 single malts.

"For the last 3½ years, I have been busy educating the New Zealand audience that there is another level of whisky - single malt - and telling them about the different regions."

Single malt is the term used for a whisky produced from only one distillery.

Blends contain whisky produced from two or more distilleries as well as industrially produced grain whisky, which is used as "bulk" for the blend.

"There are about 93 or 94 working distilleries in Scotland, and between them they bring about 3000 different whiskies."

Burgers says there are five main whisky-producing regions in Scotland - Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, Island and Islay - and each is known for producing a different type of whisky.

Under Scottish law, a whisky must be matured in an oak barrel for a minimum of three years, he says.

His partner Katey Rudlin is interested in food and whisky, and they enjoy hosting tastings together.

"If you do a wine and food tasting, people drink the wine quite readily with different dishes.

"The difference with single malt whisky is that you don't drink the whisky as you would a wine or beer. It is more for a taste comparison.

"There are so many different flavours in whisky.

"A lot of the Islay whiskies, which tend to be the smoky whiskies, match well with chocolate and a good espresso coffee.

"Caol Ila (an Islay whisky) tends to be silty, and it goes really well with your oysters, which tend to be really silty."

Others have white peppery flavours, which go well with an angus beef black pepper steak, he says.

Burgers says it can be very challenging, but also rewarding, to match whisky flavours with food.

He also likes matching whiskies with cigars, and plans to do this in Nelson.

Tickets to the whisky tasting evening on Friday, June 1 are $75, which includes finger food and tastings of more than 20 malt whiskies. Cuban cigars will also be available to complement the whisky list.

Article Courtesy of

May 21

Whyte & Mackay may be listed on LSE: Mallya

Liquor giant UB Group on Monday said it might enlist the newly-acquired Scottish whisky maker, Whyte & Mackay on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

"This (the listing on the LSE) can happen," company Chairman Vijay Mallya told reporters here when asked whether he was planning to enlist the company on the stock exchange to raise funds.

He, however, did not give any time-frame.

Mallya-promoted United Spirits had last week acquired Scottish whisky company Whyte & Mackay for Rs 4,819 crore, making the UB Group the second largest liquor company in the world.

He added that Whyte & Mackay would remain a 100 per cent subsidiary of the UB Group and he has no plans to change the management.

"We should allow it to operate on its own and I don't see any change required in the current management," Mallya said.

Mallya said that the acquisition of Whyte and Mackay was required to make scotch whisky available in India, China and the Gulf.

Mallya said that the acquisition would be financed through loans from ICICI Bank ($325 million), Citibank ($310 million) and through sale of United Spirits treasury stocks.

"We will pay it off prematurely," Mallya said. He had earlier stated that the earnings of Whyte and Mackay would cover the cost of acquisition in the near future.

Whyte and Mackay's annual operating income is now approximately 50 million pounds and expected to grow at 20 per cent per annum.

Mallya said the capacity of Whyte and Mackay would be increased, but did not give further details.

United Spirits was the third largest liquor company in the world before this acquisition, with a sale of 66.4 million cases of spirits in 2006-07.

Now it will add another 9 million cases. The combined capacity of the company would increase to 75.4 million cases per annum, making the UB Group the second largest company in the world.

He had also earlier that Whyte & Mackay has 140 brands, some of them are dormant, which could be revived.

Whyte & Mackay brands include The Dalmore, Isle of Jura, Glayva, Fettercairn, Vladivar vodka and scotch whisky brands such as Mackinlays, John Bar, Cluny and Claymore.

The Glasgow-based company has four malt whisky distilleries in Scotland.

Article Courtesy of DNA India


DNA India

May 18

£26m 'thank you' to whisky staff

Employees of whisky giant Whyte & Mackay are to share a £26m bonus after their outgoing chief executive offered to pay it out of his own pocket.
South African tycoon Vivian Imerman, 52, sold the firm to the Indian-based United Breweries Group in a deal worth £595m earlier this week.

He has offered to pay all 600 employees the equivalent of three month's salary as a thank you.

Mr Imerman bought Whyte & Mackay in 2005 and turned around the business.

He said he wanted to reward staff for the hard work they had put in to help transform Whyte & Mackay's fortunes. Employees were told of the windfall on Wednesday.

'Handsomely rewarded'

He told the Herald newspaper: "Clearly it has been a team effort by all the people involved, not just senior management.

"The 20 or so people at the top have been handsomely rewarded but I wanted to reward everybody.

"I therefore felt it appropriate, on a discretionary basis, to give every single employee this bonus. It is effectively a 25% bonus which is worth around £26m in total."

Staff were reported to be delighted with the bonus. One employee said that if there was a vote for the king of Scotland, Mr Imerman would probably win.

Mr Imerman and his brother-in-law paid just over £200m for Whyte and Mackay in 2001 as part of a group of investors. He took full control two years ago.

He initially oversaw a round of job cuts and closed a bottling facility in Leith, but the company's profits quickly began to increase.

Whyte & Mackay's self-branded whisky holds about 3% of the UK whisky market. Most of its staff are based in Invergordon and Grangemouth, as well as its headquarters in Glasgow.

The company also owns the Dalmore and Jura brands as well as Vladivar vodka and Glayva liqueur.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

May 16

Whisky giant sold to billionaire

An Indian billionaire has bought the Scottish whisky distiller Whyte & Mackay in a £595m deal.

The spirits giant United Breweries, which is headed by Vijay Mallya, announced the all-cash acquisition to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

In a statement, the firms said the deal would help expand the market for Whyte & Mackay's brands in emerging economies such as India.

It will also help UB Group add Scotch whisky to its portfolio of products.

Vivian Immerman and his brother-in-law, Robert Tchenguiz, had taken full control of Glasgow-based Whyte & Mackay two years ago.

Mr Immerman had been part of a group of investors who paid £208m for the company in 2001.

He said he was selling the company because it would be "very difficult" for him to take it to the next level.

Mr Immerman told BBC Scotland that the only opportunities for further acquisitions were either in family hands or "extremely expensive".

"It needed a parent that had international distribition and could take the business to the next stage, and I wasn't capable of doing that without such a platform," he said.

"Vijay will bring the international distribution, expecially in the emerging markets where Scotch has exponential growth which has not been seen over the last several decades, and that is vital for this business."

Spirits market

He said all the existing staff would be transferring over to the new owner and dismissed suggestions that any of the company's brands could be distilled in India.

"Scotch whisky can only be made in Scotland," he stressed.

UB Group dominates the Indian spirits market, which is the world's largest for whisky.

But Scotch whisky only makes up about 1% of the Indian market, as a result of tariffs imposed by the country's national and state governments.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

May 15

New whisky distillery planned for Aberdeenshire

Click here to watch this video report in Windows Media format

Plans have been revealed for a new £3.5million distillery in Aberdeenshire.

A whisky merchant in Huntly is lodging a planning application to renovate a former creamery on the outskirts of the town.

The building, in an idyllic setting just outside Huntly, has lain derelict for around 10 years after the creamery which it once housed closed down.

The whole two acre site could be about to receive a new lease of life with the construction of a distillery.

Local whisky merchant Euan Shand also wants the project to include a bottling plant and visitor centre.

Mr Shand's company already runs a bottling operation from the town, which deals with some of the world's most popular single malts.

They also have a retail shop which sells malts and blended brands to more than 30 countries.

If the distillery plans are approved, work will begin immediately to get the development completed by June next year. 

Article Courtesy of STV



May 15

Frosty reception likely from Scotch Whisky Association

There will be toasts all round tomorrow in Glasgow when Whyte & Mackay is formally acquired by the Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, but one onlooker may be nursing a hangover.

The Scotch Whisky Association, which promotes one of Britain's most best-known industries around the world, faces the challenge of welcoming into its ranks a company which has been a staunch opponent of its efforts to force the abolition of whisky import tariffs in India.

"This imposition of British imperialism is unacceptable," Mr Mallya was quoted as saying last year. "The SWA has to understand there are two sides to the coin. They have double standards. I will continue to oppose SWA coming to India until they allow us to sell in England and Scotland."

The World Trade Organisation is in the process of establishing a dispute settlement panel to hear the European Union case against what the SWA has called India's "discriminatory tax regime for imported spirits and wines", which levies a tariff burden of as much as 550pc on affected imports. A WTO ruling is expected by next April.

Gavin Hewitt, the SWA chief executive, is understood to have met VK Rekhi, president of United Spirits (part of Mr Mallya’s UB Group), last month to discuss issues including the Indian tariff position and United Spirits' plans to protect the international image of scotch whisky following the Whyte & Mackay takeover.

Yesterday, the SWA declined to comment on Mr Mallya’s proposed takeover.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

May 14

Distillery plan to lure tourists

Plans for a £3.5million distillery that could create a dozen jobs and bring more tourists to a north-east town will be revealed this week.

Local businessman Euan Shand confirmed yesterday that he would be submitting a planning application to Aberdeenshire Council within a few days for the development at Huntly.

The planned distillery would produce its own-blend malt whisky along with gin and vodka.

Mr Shand said the distillery could put the town on the map as a top malt producer and on the north-east tourist Whisky Trail.

"It is a very exciting project, the realisation of a lifelong ambition to me and potentially a big boost to the town," said Mr Shand, managing director of Huntly-based whisky merchant Duncan Taylor and Co.

The company began bottling operations four years ago and sells malt and blended brands to more than 30 countries. The new scheme would involve relocating the bottling operation to a two-acre site off Huntly High Street, where former creamery premises also provide scope for offices, warehousing and a visitor centre.

Mr Shand, the son of a former manager of Glendronach Distillery at nearby Forgue, started as a cooper and has long experience in all aspects of the industry and innovative expertise in grain whisky. The Huntly site would house single-malt copper pot stills, a four-column neutral grain plant alongside a single experimental still.

"The idea is to produce single malt and neutral grain, which is unusual," said Mr Shand. The distillery would market a top-quality malt whisky that would be slow to mature, while grain whisky, vodka and gin would reach the market earlier.

"The project comes at a significant time, with the opening up of the markets in China and India. Europe is also rediscovering Scotch whisky and we intend to be at the fore of this renaissance in the industry.

"As a company, Duncan Taylor has established routes to markets and that will help the growth of the new Huntly brands."

Mr Shand recently returned from a business trip to China and has just recruited a Chinese member of staff to promote trade with the booming country.

A name has still to be chosen for the planned distillery and its products but Mr Shand said they would be selected with "a local flavour" to promote the north-east worldwide.

"The plans will provide 10 to 12 jobs in Huntly," Mr Shand said. "A visitor centre will be an integral part of the project, to attract more tourism to the town."

Huntly community council chairwoman Hilda Lumsden-Gill said: "The concept of a local distillery is certainly an exciting one for the town, providing employment and tourism potential."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

May 14

Profits soar for whisky producer

Whisky producer Chivas Brothers made pre-tax profits of nearly £63million in its last financial year, it emerged at the weekend.

Its latest results from Companies House show profits soared to £62.8million in the year to June 30, 2006, up from £39million the previous 12 months. Turnover also rose to £362.6million from £336.2million.

Chivas Brothers is one of the main subsidiaries of Pernod Ricard. Its brands include Chivas Regal, Clan Campbell, Aberlour, The Glenlivet, 100 Pipers, Something Special and Royal Salute. The Chivas Brothers directors' report said they were satisfied with its current trading performance and optimistic for the future. The highest-paid director received emoluments of £536,000 during the year, compared with £458,000 the year before.

Chivas Brothers said at the end of March it had achieved annual sales of over 4million cases of Chivas Regal. It had also sold 500,000 cases of Something Special in the same period.

Chivas Brothers chief executive Christian Porta said: "These milestones show how all our brands are benefiting from consistent investment and the commitment of the Pernod Ricard global distribution network. Both mark significant increases in volume and growth since they were acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2001. The company's continued commitment to investing both time and money in these brands and the creation of engaging marketing and communications activity has turned them around and ensured they are reaching their true potential in terms of global sales."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

May 12

Whisky deal talks continue

Whisky group Whyte and Mackay said yesterday it was continuing to have productive discussions with UB Group, of India, which has for months been seen as a likely buyer of the Glasgow-based firm.

The company also said that it would be inappropriate to make any comment on pricing at this time.

It added that when Vivian Imerman became chief executive of Whyte and Mackay at the start of 2003, and in that same year took majority control of the company, he had set out a vision to transform it into an international premium spirit business.

It said since then he and the management team had delivered on the milestones laid out.

W &M was responding to a report which said UB Group would make a decision on a possible acquisition in two weeks to give it a solid foothold in the European market.

UB unit United Spirits is the world's third largest spirit maker and has 60% of the Indian market, but it is keen to add brands such as Whyte and Mackay blended whisky and Isle of Jura and Dalmore single malts, to its portfolio.

UB chairman Vijay Mallya said yesterday that the asking price for W &M was £700million, although he did not say how much he was willing to pay.

Mr Imerman said last year that the Scottish company was valued at £600million.

UB Group said earlier it had earmarked up to £500million for an overseas acquisition as part of its strategy to boost global and domestic spirit sales.

It said it needed to have Scotch whisky in its portfolio as more and more Indians had started switching to the premium drinks segment.

It added it was focusing more on the premium segment to further improve its top line. UB Group is also gradually including premium vodka brands in its product portfolio, while wine is another niche segment it is eyeing for expansion.

Billionaire Mr Mallya has been chairman of UB Group since 1983, growing it to a conglomerate of more than 60 companies. He has also started a domestic airline in India called Kingfisher, which takes its name from United Breweries Group's flagship beer brand, Kingfisher.

UB Group has Scottish origins, however, having been founded in 1915 by a Scot called Thomas Leishman.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

May 12

Whisky makers win fight for standard bottle sizes

Scotch whisky makers have won their battle against Brussels bureaucrats to keep a standard range of bottle sizes for the national drink.

The European Commission had proposed doing away with current restrictions which have allowed just nine bottle sizes within the European Union (EU) spirits industry since 1993.

Representations made by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and other spirits producers around the EU forced a change of heart at the commission and the amended proposals have now been approved by the European Parliament.

MEPs have agreed to size deregulation for a wide range of goods but spirits and wines escaped the change.

The drinks industry feared that the move, if it was extended to spirits and wines, would confuse consumers and substantially increase bottling costs.

Welcoming the successful conclusion to a seven-year campaign to retain the current range of whisky bottle sizes, SWA European affairs director Nick Soper said: "This decision is good news for consumers. Research shows consumers prefer standard sizes, finding them easy to understand and an aid to making shopping decisions.

"Before regulation over 60 bottles could be found on the market, all of slightly different sizes and quantities. It was confusing for consumers."

He added: "Standard bottle sizes have also supported distillers' investment in high-speed bottling facilities as well as in lightweight glass, which brings substantial raw material and energy savings.

"At the same time, the existing regulation of bottle sizes promotes fair competition in the spirits sector and we are delighted that the European Parliament has voted to retain these standard sizes in the years ahead."

Among the MEPs who helped to fend off the deregulation of spirits and wines was the SNP's Ian Hudghton, who said: "The importance of this issue has been well emphasised by the SWA and others.

"I am glad we were able to support a campaign which protects an industry of such economic importance to Scotland.

"It was one that I wholeheartedly backed to ensure the industry would not face unnecessary expense and disruption."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

May 10

Whisky for sale first come, first served

If you have R75 000 in your wallet to spare and fancy purchasing a limited edition 50-year-old Glenfiddich whisky, then get down to the Whisky Expo at Suncoast Casino where a bottle is on sale.

But be warned, there is only one bottle at the expo, so it's first come, first served.

If, however, that is slightly out of your price range, you could always just stare at it and dream. Maybe even touch it.

The Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as "the World's Most Valuable Spirit" after another bottle from the same year sold for about $80 000 (about R548 800) at an auction in Milan in 1991.

This translates to about $2800 per 25ml dram. Only 500 bottles of this whisky were produced and only a few bottles remain. They can be found at The Glenfiddich Distillery Shop in Scotland and sell for ?6500 (about R89 440) a bottle.

Glenfiddich brand ambassador Jason Duganzich said the whisky was matured in ex-bourbon barrels in Scotland between 1937 and 1939 by independent family-owned distillers William Grant & Sons in nine casks. Each cask represented one of the nine children who had assisted the founder in building the Glenfiddich Distillery in 1886.

After lying undisturbed for 50 years, the whisky was hand-bottled on July 26 1991.

Duganzich said that whisky did not mature once bottled, so regardless of how long it remained in the bottle, it would still be 50 years old.

Glenfiddich brand manager Grant Sayers said the whisky had a "well-balanced, mellow nose" with a pleasantly sweet and woody aroma.

"It is smooth with a fruity, lightly peeled and slightly oaky taste. The finish is shorter than younger whisky and is not dissimilar to rare old cognacs. It is best drunk straight, without adding water," he said.

Sayers said the Bascule Whisky Bar in Cape Town had purchased its second bottle of the whisky after finishing the last by selling it at R15 200 a shot.

Article Courtesy of

May 10

Efforts to rejuvenate whisky are scotched

Distillers' attempts to revitalise the UK Scotch whisky market by introducing more "accessible" brands are faltering badly, and some recent campaigns intended to attract a younger generation of drinkers have been axed.

Even though exports of Scotch whisky are growing at a healthy clip, the picture is far less promising at home. According to the latest figures from the Sutherlands Scotch Whisky Yearbook, the UK market for Scotch slumped by 6.2% from 30.1 million litres in 2005 to 28.2 million litres last year.

Recent launches that industry insiders had hoped would help reverse declining UK sales by rejuvenating the image of Scotch at home include JMR's Easy Drinking Whisky Company (majority-owned by The Famous Grouse parent Edrington Group), Diageo's J&B -6c and William Grant & Sons' Monkey Shoulder.

Diageo confirmed yesterday that it has ceased production of J&B -6c Scotch. This virtually-clear blended whisky was specifically intended to attract younger drinkers to Scotch. Chill-filtered down to minus six degrees celsius, the product was billed as a "classic for a new generation" and distributed to carefully selected style bars and nightclubs.

Diageo said: "We have ceased production of J&B -6c. The decision has been made on a global level and there are currently no future plans for the product."

"In Britain, despite gaining good distribution and building a reasonable consumer base, J&B -6c has not met the stringent performance criteria set by Diageo for ongoing production."

Meanwhile, JMR Easy Drinking Whisky Company, founded in 2003, has withdrawn its range of three blended malt whiskies - the Big Spicy One, The Smokey Peaty One and The Smooth Sweeter One - from the UK market after disappointing sales.

The company, backed by Edrington, had hoped to "demystify" the world of Scotch and make the sector more palatable to outsiders. Its three founders, brothers Jon and Mark Geary and master blender David "Robbo" Robertson, claimed they had "chucked out the Scotch whisky rule book" through their quirky and irreverent approach to marketing.

However, the company yesterday confirmed it has thrown in the towel in the UK market. Founder director Mark Geary said it will instead be focusing on the US market.

Geary, who also works as a head of planning and research at Edrington Group, said: "The UK is a tougher market in which to introduce new brands as a result of the low margins available. Because of its sheer size, there is a greater number of consumers open to this sort of thing in the US. It gives us a larger target to shoot at. The opportunity is huge over there."

Geary said JMR will focus on exporting to California, Colorado, Texas and Florida, where he said the company has had some success in persuading youngish Americans to acquire a taste for malt whisky.

The products were launched in the US in 2005 and Geary said sales rose to 4000 cases during 2006. He said JMR's products continue to be distributed by the French group Remy Cointreau in the US.

A spokesman for William Grant & Sons says it is committed to persevering with its own youth-oriented brand, Monkey Shoulder.

Launched in 2005, this is a blend of three Speyside malts. It is named after the sore shoulder that Scottish distillery workers got from turning the malted barley by hand.

The spokesman said: "We are gaining traction with retailers and the on-trade is becoming more interested. But there's no denying the UK is a tough market, and blended malts is a relatively new category."

Alan Gray, whisky analyst at brokers Sutherlands Edinburgh, said: "Just because these attempts at revitalising the UK Scotch whisky market seem to have failed does not mean the industry should give up trying. Eventually, someone's going to come up with a breakthrough product that revolutionises the domestic market."

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

May 8

Organisers delighted as whisky festival is branded a great success

A Four-day festival which has given visitors to Scotland's famous whisky country the chance to indulge in their favourite tipple came to a close last night.

The annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has attracted thousands of people to Moray over the last few days.

Events have ranged in taste and style from ceilidhs with traditional Scottish music to distillery tours, walks, tastings and art.

There has been something for everyone including those who crave the sweeter, more pleasurable things in life such as chocolate.

Paul Martensson, a connoisseur of both whisky and chocolate, led a tasting session at the Whisky Museum at Dufftown yesterday.

It was a chance for visitors to try a selection of specialist chocolates which had been carefully matched to different whiskies.

Festival revellers were also given the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive tour of the Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie, learn the art of coopering at Glenfiddich, explore the Braes of Glenlivet and take part in a hike over Gownie hill, and enjoy a dram at Aberlour Distillery.

Festival trophy winners were awarded with their prizes at a lunch held at the Fleming Hall at Aberlour and activities were rounded off with people attending the Dregs Party at the Whisky Shop in Dufftown last night.

Festival co-ordinator Ros Lewis said she was thrilled with the success of the festival.

"Speyside has certainly been buzzing. Our first impressions are that numbers are significantly up compared with last year. The majority of whisky events were sold out as were many of the wildlife events.

"Many restaurants and accommodation, certainly in the Aberlour and Dufftown areas, were also fully booked.

"We have had very positive feedback from visitors, particularly those who had not been before. The general feeling was that they would come again.

"More importantly many people who did not know Speyside very well said they would think about returning at a different time of the year as well."

Awards were presented to Spirit of Speyside Chef of the Year Graham Harvey, of the Craggan Mill restaurant in Grantown, runner-up Stuart Aitken, of Baxters in Fochabers, and Alan Robertson, of the Cock and Bull, Balmedie, in third place.

Lorna McNee, of Forres, won the Spirit of Speyside Amateur Chef of the Year competition, followed by Kelly Greenhowe, from Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.

Winners of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards were the Glenlivet Distillery for 12 years and under, Cragganmore Distillery for 13-18 years and Glen Moray Distillery for 30 years and older.

Allan Adam, of Elgin, won the photographic competition, followed by Graeme McHardy, of Keith, in second place and Steve Smith, of Banff, in third.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

May 7

Indians going for costlier whisky

Indians are migrating to more expensive whiskies. The figures tell as much. While sales of ‘regular whisky’ — by far the biggest segment in this alcoholic beverage category in terms of volumes — is stagnating with sales growing 8-10% in past three years, the prestige segment has been witnessing a 30% rise during same period.

Whisky is classified into three types: regular, prestige and premium. While regular whiskies retail for Rs 160-240 depending on local taxes, prestige variants cost in excess of Rs 280. The premium category, still a small market in India, starts at Rs 400-plus.

“Our prestige segment is growing at a rate over 40%, while the regular segment is almost stagnant. If this trend continues, the prestige category will catch up with the regular segment in three-four years,” United Spirits CEO (east) Kaushik Chatterjee said.

“Better living standards, which have resulted in a sizeable population having higher disposal incomes, have played a prominent part in driving up sales in the prestige segment,” he added. A spokesman of Radico Khaitan echoed this view.

Industry experts, however, attribute the falling sales of cheaper whiskies to a combination of two factors: a rapidly changing customer profile and difficulty in procuring inexpensive brands from liquor outlets. Recently, United Spirits, the biggest player in the Indian alcohol industry, said it may phase out five-six low-end whiskies which are currently available in north and south India.

“The cost of the main input, molasses, is rising. As a result, there is a pressure on margins. Regular whiskies cost 15-20% less than prestige varieties. But prices in the prestige segment are almost 60-80% higher than regular segment,” Chatterjee said, admitting that companies were themselves de-emphasising cheaper whis kies. None of the major players in whisky segment has launched inexpensive whiskies in the recent past. However, both United Spirits and Radico have been active in introducing new variants in the prestige category.

Article Courtesy of India Times


India Times

May 4

Whisky festival serves tasty opener

THE Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2007 had a mouth-watering start last night (Thursday) when hundreds of guests sat down to a gourmet dinner created by Professional Chef of the Year, Graham Harvey, of the Craggan Mill Restaurant, Grantown.

His award-winning menu – each dish accompanied by a complementary Speyside malt – was served up in Glen Moray Distillery's cooperage store in Elgin.

Over the weekend there will be cookery demonstrations, opportunities to enjoy and buy Speyside's superb produce, and a host of other delicious dinners and lunches, as well as traditional whisky events.

And for two days running Speyside can also enjoy the best of contemporary Scottish music with concerts featuring Wolfstone, Donnie Munro, Shooglenifty, Ivan Drever with Duncan Chisholm and The Lush Rollers and supporting bands at the Ice Rink, Moray Leisure Centre, in Elgin tomorrow (Saturday), and at the Osprey Arena, Macdonald Highland Aviemore Resort on Sunday.

The festival will finish in grand style on Monday with a new awards lunch in Aberlour at which the winners of the Speyside Whisky Awards and photographic competition will be announced.

The menu will be accompanied by the winning malt whiskies chosen for the awards.

All the festival events may be booked on-line at

Article Courtesy of The Northern Scot


The Northern Scot

May 4

Pernod Ricard Sales Ahead Of Forecasts

Pernod-Ricard, the world's second-largest wines and spirits group, said its nine-month sales had risen stronger-than-expected, boosted by demand during the Chinese New Year for Martell cognac and Chivas Regal whisky. The company said sales in the nine months to March 31 rose 7.2% to E4.9bn, with underlying sales up 10.3%.

Its third-quarter sales rose 6.8% to E1.39bn. Excluding negative currency effects of 4% and a negative impact of 0.9% from changes in the group's structure, Pernod said underlying third-quarter growth was 12.2%.

Chairman Patrick Ricard said "These very good results are in line with our expectations and indicate favourable prospects for the second half of the year. We therefore confirm guidance of around 20% growth in net profit from ordinary activities, excluding foreign exchange impact, for the full year”.

Article Courtesy of Kamcity



May 3

Cheers! Whisky firm offers 200 full-time jobs

DRINKS GIANT Diageo is celebrating a major jobs boost at its Kilmarnock bottling plant.

More than 200 full-time jobs are up for grabs in the wake of a multi-million pound investment at the Johnnie Walker base in Hill Street.

And although site director Ewan Andrew confirmed this week that many of the vacancies will be filled from the company’s current temporary employee pool, a ’significant number’ of posts will also go to new starts.

The Kilmarnock site is already one of the area’s biggest employers with a workforce of more than 850 at peak production periods.

More than 11 million cases of Scotch whisky are bottled there each year.

Said Ewan Andrew: “Our production volumes have increased significantly in recent years and we expect this to continue with the growth in the Scotch whisky category. Therefore, we are now in a position to move forward with our recruitment process to increase the site labour base to deliver this growth.”

Emphasising that the new permanent jobs wouldn’t just go to ‘temps’ presently on the Walker’s payroll, he added: “We have also advertised externally to ensure all positions are filled.”

The site director also confirmed the company’s ongoing commitment to apprenticeships with a further two on offer this year.

Said Ewan: “Diageo has recently announced an investment of £100 million in Scotland to ensure we meet the growth in our brands and I am delighted for both the town of Kilmarnock, and the wider region of Ayrshire, that this growth is creating opportunities for permanent employment.”

The Hill Street site is one of three packaging plants that Diageo operates in Scotland.

It has 16 bottling lines that can handle a broad range of bottle sizes from 5 cl miniatures up to 4.5 litre flagons and more than £30 million has been invested over the last five years on infrastructure development and asset improvements including new high speed bottling lines and automatic equipment.

At Kilmarnock the focus is on Diageo’s high quality, high value premium whisky brands, including the Johnnie Walker de luxe range, mainly for Asia; Johnnie Walker Red and Black Label for the USA; Dimple and Windsor Premier blends, for South Korea; Buchanan’s, for Latin America; and Cardhu single malt for Spain.

The town itself of course has long-established links with the Scotch whisky industry as the original John Walker established his business in Kilmarnock in 1820.

The current plant was purpose-built and has been used by Walkers since 1956 and has been extended several times since then.

Diageo also operates warehousing at Barleith, which puts together more than 10 million cases of part loads for export.

Article Courtesy of IC Ayrshire


IC Ayrshire

May 2

A dram-atic gesture seals the deal for top dog

A LEADING sled-dog racer has used a uniquely Scottish bargaining tool to broker a deal for a new world-class racing dog.

Aviemore businessman Alan Stewart embarked on a shopping trip to Austria with a difference, armed only with some of Speyside’s finest whisky to buy a high-class Alaskan Husky.

The animal, five-year-old female Too Slow, arrived safely back at Mr Stewart’s Cairngorm Sleddog Centre in Rothiemurchus at the weekend. He shelled out 67 bottles of whisky from The Macallan distillery as a trade for the dog – and a 42-year-old cask barrel was thrown in as a clincher.

Mr Stewart had contacted long-time friend and famous musher Dr Gerhard Offer to ask if he had any of his prized pack of dogs for sale, following the end of the racing season earlier this year.

The query led to Too Slow being transferred from Dr Offer’s Austrian base to Mr Stewart’s at the foot of the Cairngorms. But instead of asking for a cash deal, Dr Offer suggested the unusual method of payment.

Upon returning to the strath with his new arrival, Mr Stewart said he hoped the addition of Too Slow would give his pack a new edge come the start of the new winter racing season.

“I then spoke to The Macallan and they gave me a very good deal,” he said. “I offered around 67 bottles of whisky and an old 1965 cask barrel in exchange for Too Slow, and Gerhard was more than happy to accept.”

He added: “To be honest, the dog was worth a lot more than the cost of the whisky I gave to Gerhard, but money wasn’t an issue to him. He was more concerned about where she would end up and he knew Too Slow will be well looked after and a much-loved addition to our centre.”

During the week-long trip, Mr Stewart also visited Germany-based friend Heini Winters, another leading name in the world of sled-dog racing, to purchase a second Alaskan Husky.

This time money swapped hands, resulting in five-year-old male Lidl joining Too Slow on the 18-hour ferry journey back to Scotland. The pair are not best of friends yet and are still fighting over who is top dog.

Lidl has been one of Mr Winters’ leading lights on the competitive North American racing circuit for the last few years.

Mr Stewart added: “Both of my new dogs are in amazing shape, as they came from two of the very best sled-dog racers in Europe, if not the world. I met them years ago whilst competing, and we have been friends ever since.”

The centre is also due to feature in a BBC TV programme, 'Mountains’, hosted by comedian Gryff Rhys Jones, to be aired over the summer.

Article Courtesy of Strathspey Herald


Strathspey Herald

May 1

Canada's first Whisky Auction to benefit Parkinson's disease - 50 Year Old Scotch up for Auction

A 50 Year Old single malt whisky - easily the rarest Scotch ever available for purchase in Canada - will be auctioned at Canada's first ever Rare Whisky Auction, a special feature of this year's Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala on Saturday, May 12 at Roy Thomson Hall.

"This particular whisky was distilled at the Glenury Royal distillery in northeast Scotland," according to Johanna Ngoh, executive producer of the Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala and one of the auction's organizers. Ngoh, editor and publisher of Single Minded, A Single Malt Whisky Journal says, "The distillery shut down in 1985 and only 498 bottles of this 50 Year Old were produced in 2003; all bottles were purchased immediately so there is little likelihood of being able to buy such an item anywhere else in the world, much less in Canada."

Ngoh estimates this bottle alone will fetch over $2500, likely by a corporate bidder, many of whom are regular guests at Spirit of Toronto, an annual whisky tasting gala now in its third year. Proceeds are going to the Parkinson Society Canada as a tribute to Michael Jackson author of the "Malt Whisky Companion" and a person living with Parkinson's disease.

"Wine auctions have become a dime a dozen, but a large number of single malt lovers in Canada don't have the opportunity to acquire the whiskies that will be auctioned next month," explains Ngoh. "Specialist whisky stores in the U.K. easily carry upwards of 800 different bottles of single malt Scotch. In Canada you are lucky to see any one store stock more than 50 whiskies, and this would only be in Calgary where they have private retailers."

Debbie Davis, Executive Director of the Central & Northern Ontario Region, Parkinson Society Canada, says "We are delighted that Spirit of Toronto has chosen to honor someone with Parkinson's by making Parkinson Society Canada the recipient of proceeds from this "first ever" event. Over 100,000 Canadians have Parkinson's."

In addition to the Glenury Royal 50 Year Old being offered for sale, Scotland's most sought after distilleries will be represented at the auction including Ardbeg, Springbank and Macallan. A full auction catalogue is available online at All guests attending Spirit of Toronto will be able to participate in the auction by sealed bids.

The Spirit of Toronto Whisky Gala includes sampling of more than 100 single malt whiskies, masterclasses with distillers, a whisky cocktail bar, live jazz and an outdoor cigar bar. Tickets are $105 and more info is online at

Article Courtesy of CNW



May 1

Distillery is toasting one-third profit rise

An Islay distillery's profits rose by almost a third last year amid claims that the amazing growth is a result of increasing consumer demand to trace products back to their roots.

Energy-saving measures at Bruichladdich Distillery led to a 33% reduction in electricity since 2004, while production doubled to 650,000 litres of alcohol in the same period. A 21% reduction in oil, per litre of alcohol produced, has also helped achieve the distillery's 29% profit rise.

But the X-factor in securing higher profits is believed to be the fact that in the same way that wines can be traced to a particular vineyard and quality meat can be traced to the place it was reared, Bruichladdich can trace its whisky back to the very field where the barley to make it was grown.

The increase in profits, which has led to the creation of three new sales jobs, was made on a turnover of £5.3million.

Bruichladdich company chairman Sir John Mactaggart said: "This performance continues the improvement in both profitability and turnover achieved over the past three years. Earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and goodwill provisions rose to £1,123,000 from £932,000, with overheads remaining static."

Managing director Mark Reynier said: "From barley to bottle we distil, mature and bottle our whisky on Islay. Like wine, we believe in provenance so are increasingly distilling organically grown barley around Islay and Scotland."

Mr Reynier added: "Provenance, authenticity and quality, those are the three important factors and we have got them in spades. The consumer is more turned on to traceability and authenticity and quality than ever before." He added: "Our policy of buying barley direct from farmers means I can give you whisky from an individual field. It is entirely traceable."

The distillery, which employs 44 people, has invested in the infrastructure of the distillery this year, with the installation of a new boiler and bottling line, increasing the capacity to handle larger volumes as the business grows.

But production has ground to a halt at the moment as the burn which provides water for the cooling process has been reduced to a trickle due to a long spell of dry weather.

Mr Reynier said the next two weeks were programmed for a break in production anyway as the distillery is being painted.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal
April 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Apr 30

Mey Selections Barrogill North Highland Blended Malt

Scotch Whisky Launched at the Castle of Mey.

Inver House Distillers and North Highland Products launched the first ever North Highland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Barrogill, as part of the prestigious Mey Selections range of food and drink products, at the Castle of Mey in Caithness today.

Mey Selections Barrogill Blended Malt Scotch Whisky takes its name from the history and heritage of the Castle of Mey, the most northerly castle on the Scottish mainland just a few miles from John o’Groats. Originally built and named the Castle of Mey between 1566 and 1572 by George, 4th Earl of Caithness, it was renamed Barrogill Castle in the early seventeenth century.

Uniquely, Barrogill is blended from single malts from distilleries situated in the North Highlands of Scotland and is named after the castle’s royal heritage. HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay selected the final blend of malts which make up Barrogill. The bottle carries the Mey Selections brand name and logo, incorporating a watercolour of the castle by His Royal Highness who launched the North Highland Initiative, from which the Mey Selections brand has grown.

Barrogill has a full bodied, floral and sweet fruity aroma. Its sweet and spicy flavour and a warm peaty undertone leave a long lasting finish to the palate which is complex yet balanced. Barrogill will be available throughout the UK at the recommended retail price of £19.99. It will also be distributed in export markets around the world.

Karen Walker, Marketing Manager of Inver House Distillers commented: “As a company Inver House Distillers is committed to the traditions and heritage of Scotch Whisky distillation and producing products of exceptional quality, however always open to innovation. Therefore, we were delighted to be invited to produce the first ever North Highland Blended Malt. We are thrilled with the resultant whisky, a complex but superbly balanced blended malt that we fully expect locals and the rest of the world to enjoy.”

Dr John Strak, Managing Director of North Highland Products Ltd, added, “This new whisky is a landmark for the whisky industry in the North Highlands and for lovers of fine whisky around the world. Inver House has blended some great malts and added a serious piece of history to produce a drink that evokes all that is memorable about the far north of Scotland. A taste of far north, tradition, a royal heritage, and a guaranteed provenance that no other blended malt can match.”
The launch coincides with the opening of the Castle of Mey’s stylish new Visitor Centre and Tea Room, which offers guests the chance to taste some of the Mey Selections products and relax before taking a stroll around the historic grounds. The new facilities will be open from 1st May –to 30th Sept, with the exception of 27th July to 7th August.

For further media information please contact:
Maureen Brill, Mey Selections press office: 01993 822210

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Apr 30

Prince's whisky to help Caithness

A whisky chosen by Prince Charles could help a project he set up for promoting the north of Scotland.

The malt is called Barrogill, which is the original name for the Castle of Mey in Caithness, the Queen Mother's home in the Highlands.

One pound from each sale will go to the North Highland Initiative, which aims to support the sale of local products.

Airdrie-based Inver House will produce the whisky and its label will feature a drawing of the castle by the prince.

Distinctive region

A year ago he visited Caithness to launch the Mey Selections brand, which promotes local farm produce, as part of his North Highland Initiative.

The second phase of his project - Pleasure in the Extreme - was launched last year.

It aims to present the north Highlands as one distinctive region, to encourage people to stay longer and to visit more than once a year.

Mey Selections, which markets beef, lamb and cheeses from the region, has seen a turnover of £2m in its first year.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Apr 28

Whyte and Mackay Hires 15 Pareto Graduates

Leading scotch whisky producer Whyte and Mackay, has called in graduate recruitment and training specialist Pareto Law to build its national sales force focusing on the pubs and clubs “on trade” throughout the UK. Initially Whyte and Mackay took on 15 graduates from Pareto along with a customised training package both for these and existing experienced sales staff.

Rosslynn Law, Operations Director at Whyte and Mackay, commented: “We have invested millions in our brands so were looking for people that not only excelled in sales but, more importantly, individuals who would share our passion for our brand values and positioning within the market. Pareto Law offered a bespoke solution, with ready-made high calibre and highly trained sales people.”

To support the new graduate intake Pareto have delivered four bespoke training modules, designed specifically around Whyte and Mackay’s corporate values and business requirements. The Business Development Executives (BDEs) are also given intensive product training, including visits to distilleries and meeting the company’s master blender; the award- winning Richard Paterson.

Jonathan Fitchew, joint managing director of Pareto Law, added: “The Pareto Law approach is designed to provide businesses with a highly effective sales recruitment solution through the selection of the top graduates. We have worked hard to build a strong understanding of the requirements of Whyte and Mackay, and this has enabled us to design a selection, assessment and training process that provides graduates with the skills to grow and develop with the company.”

The training for Whyte and Mackay’s existing Sales Managers is to familiarise them with the four modules of the Pareto BDE training programme and help build individual sales skills. Over the first year some 65 additional sales staff will go through the Pareto training programme.

Full information on Pareto’s recruitment and training is available at

Article Courtesy of PR Leap


PR Leap

Apr 27

Whisky Galore At Tesco’s 'Enjoy The Taste Of Scotland' Event

Tesco’s ‘Enjoy the Taste of Scotland, Get to Know Your Locals’ event once again brings together a selection of the very best of Scotland’s larder on the 4th – 6th* May at the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh.

Producers from some of Scotland’s premier beverage suppliers will be in attendance throughout the three day event to provide visitors with tales and tastes of their produce. Household names and speciality producers from the drinks industry will come together to present their very own, individual taste of Scotland.

Visitors to this free event will be able to sample an array of thirst quenching soft drinks as well as an extensive range of beers, wines, whiskies and spirits, all produced in Scotland.

Sangs (Banff) Ltd have been producing soft drinks for over 100 years and will be showcasing their range of refreshing, ‘sugar free’ flavoured waters, a wonderful collection of fruity flavours made from their award winning spring water.

Premium bottled beers from Edinburgh’s Caledonian Brewery will be on display from Scottish and Newcastle as well as a range of ‘Historic Ales’ from Heatherale, made to ancient recipes using plants, fruit and flowers indigenous to Scotland.

Traditional Scottish Ales will be displaying a fabulous selection of hand crafted ale, including the world’s FIRST whisky ale, 1488. The beer is matured in Tullibardine distillery oak bourbon casks before bottling. This gives the beer a whisky colour, nose and aftertaste. 1488 was the year James IV, returning from his Scone coronation and purchased beer from the site of the present distillery.

Visitors to the Edinburgh event will be able to sample whisky galore with an array of Scotland’s finest distillers showcasing their own special dram of the ‘Amber Nectar’.

Moet Henesey will be sampling a range of their finest whiskies, including their 10 year old Glenmorangie Malt Whiskey with a port wood finish and their 15 year old Malt with a burgundy wood finish. The company will also be displaying Baillie Nicol Jarvie a premium blended scotch whisky as well as Ardberg a 10 year old malt whisky.

Gordon & MacPhail will be exhibiting a selection of single malt scotch whiskies from their extensive portfolio, including various expressions and new releases from their award winning Benromach range. They will also be exhibiting their new malt whisky liqueur, Dunkeld Atholl Brose.

Ian MacLeod Distillers will be showcasing both their Isle of Skye Whisky, as well as both their Glengoyne and Smokehead Whiskies and Diageo will be showcasing the world’s number one deluxe whisky, Johnnie Walker, as well as some of the most unique single malts available.

Crabbies will be offering visitors a taste of their Old Scottish Green Ginger Wine, the perfect tipple to enjoy sitting by a roaring fire, either on its own or in the famous ‘Whiskey Mac’, equal measures of Crabbie’s and scotch whiskey.

Blackwood’s, Scotland’s most northerly distillery will be displaying their award winning Vintage Dry Gin as well as JAGOs, a fresh cream liqueur, made with Blackwood’s vodka, 100% fresh Scottish cream and real vanilla.

And if visitors are looking for inspiration on how best to enjoy the wonderful range of drinks on display, Barrie Wilson from Diageo will be on hand in the Celebrity Cookery Theatre mixing up an array of amazing cocktails.

Following the success of last years event, this year is set to be unmissable with over 90 regional suppliers covering the length and breadth of Scotland, showcasing their local produce at the Edinburgh event.

Visitors to Tesco’s ‘Enjoy the Taste of Scotland, Get to Know Your Locals’ event are bound to savour this unmissable experience, enjoying an array of delicious flavours, textures and aromas sourced from throughout Scotland.

Open to Public:
Saturday 5th May 2007, 10am – 6pm
Sunday 6th May 2007, 10am – 4pm
Venue: The Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh
Entrance: Free of charge. Tickets to the celebrity kitchen are FREE and are collected from the event registration on a first come, first served basis.
Sponsors: Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Food & Drink

There is strictly no admission to under 18 year olds unless accompanied by an adult.

Article Courtesy of Easier



Apr 27

Raise a glass to festival of good spirit

MORAY WILL BE celebrating on Thursday. Glasses will be raised, toasts drunk, and friendships made.

No, we are not talking about the election (which, going by past experiences, is more likely to cause enmity than foster cordiality), but about the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

The 2007 festival kicks off on polling day, so if you feel jaded by politics as the Holyrood and local government campaigns draw to a close, then this celebration of Scotland's national drink – and Malt Whisky Country in particular – is the perfect way to lift your spirits.

Like the amber liquid it honours, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival goes from strength to strength. It is even bigger and better than ever this year – testament to the drive and energy of the talented team who plan, promote and present the many and varied events that will take place throughout Moray over the weekend.

And you don't even have to drink whisky to enjoy yourself: the festival is also a celebration of Moray's wonderful food, crafts, music and dance ...and let's not forget that most famous of Moray virtues, hospitality.

Visitors will be flocking to Speyside from all over the world, but this is also a festival for local people; an opportunity to find out more about our most valued indigenous industry; to make friends from around the globe; sample new – and old – products; and enjoy the spirit of Speyside.

'The Northern Scot' is proud to be associated with the festival, and to be one of its sponsors. 

Article Courtesy of The Northern Scot


The Northern Scot

Apr 26

Whisky With Strawberry Nose

TWO Scots are enjoying the sweet taste of success - thanks to their fruity new dram.

Norman Brown, 42, and John Smith, 58, are the brains behind Strawberry Kiss, a liqueur made with a Speyside single malt.

And in just over a year, the pair have gone from experimenting in Norman's kitchen to international success. They are now on track to make a £500,000 turnover.

One retailer said: "On the nose you know it is whisky and it has a light fresh taste."

Article Courtesy of Daily Record


Daily Record

Apr 26

Bidders not sold on rare whisky

A Rare bottle of Johnnie Walker failed to sell at auction yesterday because it did not reach the reserve price.

Bonhams said bids did not hit the minimum £12,000 needed to ensure a sale.

Bonhams had expected the Johnnie Walker 1805 blended whisky to go under the hammer for up to £16,000.

Bonhams said: "The vendor may decide to enter it into ano-ther sale with another reserve price or it may be that somebody comes along post-sale, but it is out of our hands."

The 1805 limited edition bottle was made in 2005 from whiskies at least 45 years old to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of John Walker.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 24

Inver House Distillers announced as official Partner to Highland 2007

Inver House Distillers – the dynamic drinks company distinguished by its reputation for innovation and originality – is delighted to announce its partnership with Highland 2007, Scotland’s year-long celebration of the area’s unique cultural landscape.

In a deal that includes both financial and in-kind support, Inver House will unite the popular single malts created in its distilleries in and around the Highlands - Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc and Speyburn - with Highland 2007’s diverse cultural events programme which invites locals and visitors alike to enjoy the area’s rich heritage, stunning landscape and contemporary as well as traditional customs.

The year-long celebration presents a highly anticipated programme across the Highlands covering six strands of culture: arts, sport, heritage, language, science and environment. It will include such varying events as the O’Neill Highland Open, which will see 144 of the world’s top professional surfers descend on the legendary Thurso East reef break, to InvernessFest – a new cultural festival in Inverness between 15 and 29 July featuring one of the world’s most celebrated musicians, Sir Elton John.

Inver House Distillers will welcome audience and participants to events with warming drams of their single malts which include Old Pulteney - one of the UK’s best selling malts distilled in the northerly town of Wick; the premium malt whisky Balblair which has just been re-launched in stylish new packaging inspired by its pictish roots; anCnoc a supporter of Scotland’s leading arts and creative bodies; and Speyburn, the company’s most popular brand in the USA.

Karen Walker, Marketing Manager of Inver House Distillers commented: “Inver House Distillers has five distilleries located in and around the Highlands and we feel passionately about the whisky we produce and its heritage. We are thrilled to be able to support Highland 2007 which is providing so many opportunities for locals as well as visitors to experience and celebrate the unique culture of the Scottish Highlands. We hope that everyone will enjoy the taste of our malts when attending the superb programme of events and raise their glass to the year of Highland culture!”

Alison Magee, Chair of Highland 2007 said: “We are delighted to welcome Inver House Distillers as an official Partner to Highland 2007 and the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture. The business community has been tremendously supportive of Highland 2007 and this adds significantly to the quality and range of events and activities taking place throughout the year across the Highlands & Islands.”

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers


Inver House Distillers

Apr 24

Whisky museum helpers plea

People with a taste for whisky and a knowledge of the industry are being sought to help out at a museum in the heart of Moray's whisky country.

The Whisky Museum at Fife Street, Dufftown, is currently open to visitors on weekday afternoons.

Throughout the summer months committee members would like to see the venue's opening hours extended with the help of more volunteers however.

Glo Ramon, who helps run the museum with her husband Rene, said yesterday: "At the moment we are very short on volunteers and normally open in the afternoon from 1pm until 4pm.

"We would like, however, to open in the mornings from 10.30am until 1pm but we do not have any volunteers for that nor do we have any for the weekends.

"We have a notice up at the museum so that anyone wanting to look around when it is not manned can contact us and we will go down and open it up for them, but we cannot sit in all the time.

"If we had a few more volunteers on board - people with an interest in whisky or knowledge of the trade or even retired distillery workers - we would be able to extend the opening hours. It would help if people had some knowledge of whisky but it is not essential.

"It is always nice for the visitors though when volunteers have stories to share about their own experiences of the industry."

The museum, which is owned by Dufftown 2000 Ltd, hosts an interesting collection of whisky and barrel-making memorabilia.

There are currently just four volunteers involved with its day-to-day running.

Anyone interested in volunteering a few hours of their time can contact Mr or Mrs Ramon on 01340 820507.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 23

Rare whisky to fetch thousands

One of the most rare and sought-after whiskies in the world is to go under the hammer at auction in London this week.

A bottle of Johnnie Walker 1805 - one of only 200 in existence - is expected to fetch between £12,000 and £16,000 when it goes on sale in Bond Street on April 25.

Proceeds from the sale - which is particularly significant since the 1805 blend has never been available for retail sale - will be donated to The National Trust for England, Wales and Scotland.

Johnnie Walker created the special edition 1805 blend from whiskies that are at least 45 years-old and are predominantly from distilleries that no longer exist.

It was made in 2005 to celebrate the birth of John Walker on July 25, 1805.

Johnnie Walker released just 200 bottles as gifts to high-profile individuals renowned for making a significant contribution to modern life.

The vendor of the bottle to be sold at Bonhams is keen that the National Trust for England, Scotland and Wales benefit from the sale.

"The emergence of one bottle on the auction market is historic in its importance for the wine and spirit worlds," said Richard Harvey, European Director of Wine at Bonhams.

"Bonhams is delighted to have the opportunity to present the 1805 blend on the auction market and we are confident it will invite extremely competitive bidding."

The tasting notes for the whisky read: "Nose this whisky, even at bottle strength, and it is soft and welcoming with ripe fruitness and vanilla sweetness.

"Add a little water and individual fruits reveal themselves: ripe cherries, apples, pears and peaches.

"Taste, and the impression is of early autumn - ripe fruits, plums, hints of moss and fallen leaves with light smoke gently threading its way through the fruits.

"All the flavours are held within a smooth and amazingly mature texture which lingers after the last drop has been swallowed. A truly exceptional whisky."

Each bottle was presented in a handmade Victorian-style writing case together with an antique nib pen to echo the era in which John Walker blended the whiskies himself.

In addition, 200 replicas of the original handwritten recipe book of Alexander Walker - John Walker's grandson - had been printed and included in the commemorative set.

The bottle itself features a gold bust of John Walker and a "handwritten" etching reading - "The inventory of the stocks and effects of John Walker, November 1819".

Article Courtesy of 999 Today


999 Today

Apr 20

A wee dram for charity

Whisky miniature is our latest eBay charity auction

To mark the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which kicks off on May 3 and boasts more than 200 events over five days, we’re auctioning an eminently collectable miniature of the special edition malt that’s blended each year to celebrate the occasion.

Twenty-six Speyside distillers have each donated their spirit to create this unique blend, and it could be yours – or at least 5cl of it.

To bid, search for item number 120110480654 on, or use the link on the right. Proceeds will go to the Licensed Trade Charity.

And for more information on the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival go to

Article Courtesy of The Publican


The Publican

Apr 17

Burn Stewart and Distell in African venture

UK-based Burn Stewart Distillers is aiming to build sales of its three major Scotch whisky brands by establishing a joint venture in sub-Saharan Africa with wine and spirits giant Distell.

The agreement builds upon the South African company’s existing distribution of CL WorldBrands-owned Burn Stewart’s Scottish Leader brand, and will also cover Bunnahabhain Islay single malt and Black Bottle blended Scotch. Scottish Leader is growing fast in South Africa and is Namibia’s best-selling Scotch.

Distell has built a strong distribution network in recent years beyond its native South Africa, particularly in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius. “We have created a sound infrastructure from which to profitably market and distribute our brands in these countries, strengthened by a growing conversancy with local trading environments, each with their own specific set of demands,” said Distell MD Jan Scannell.

Burn Stewart MD Fraser Thornton described the deal as “extremely significant”, adding that it highlighted the company’s long-term commitment to brand-building.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International


Drinks International

Apr 16

Glasgow hosts whisky conference

One of the biggest names in the drinks industry is set to address senior figures from the international whisky industry in Glasgow.
Vijay Rekhi, president and managing director of India-based United Spirits, will deliver a speech to delegates at the World Whiskies Conference.

Despite a global increase in demand for Scotch whisky, the amount exported to India last year dropped by 6%.

The Scotch Whisky Association blames India's tax regime on alcohol.

Both spirits and wine can attract 550% in import duty .

In his speech to delgates, Mr Rekhi will stress the potential of the Indian market for Scotch whisky.

United Spirits are currently in advanced talks about buying the Glasgow based distillers Whyte and Mackay.

This will give United Spirits access to European markets and pave the way for Whyte and Mackay products to enter into India and possibly China.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Apr 13

Project set to tap into whisky coast

The merits of the east and west coast have been debated among whisky lovers for years - but now the claim "west is best" is being promoted to the world at large with a new initiative.

A company called The Whisky Coast was launched yesterday to highlight the fact that 16 of the world's best-known whisky brand names originate from the west coast of Scotland.

As well as uniting some of the best examples of the "water of life", the £100,000 project aims to raise the profile of the area as a unique, diverse and dramatic tourism destination.

The initiative, which was launched at Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen, Islay, homes in on the fact the west coast enjoys a high concentration of distilleries against the backdrop of a dramatic rugged coastline.

Local distilleries have united with three tour companies, 18 hotels, restaurants, golf courses and attractions, and the project has secured funding support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland.

Chris Conway from Scotland Whisky, one of the founding directors of The Whisky Coast, said that whisky plays a crucial role in Scottish tourism.

He said: "Over 1million tourists visit a distillery in Scotland every year according to the Scotch Whisky Association and distillery visitor centres generate £17.3million in economic benefit from ticket and gift sales.

"Whisky is a fantastic icon for Scotland and is internationally recognised, and being able to tap into its global reach is an amazingly powerful marketing tool for the west coast of Scotland.

"Its single malts are known throughout the world, and now its tourism experience should be celebrated in the same way."

The Whisky Coast stretches from Campbeltown in the south up to Skye and Fort William. Laphroaig, Talisker, Arran, Jura, Bowmore, and Springbank are just some of the distilleries behind the initiative, along with Turnberry resort, Kinloch Lodge, Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, the Three Chimneys and Machrihanish golf course.

The initiative's new website went live yesterday at the same time as a UK-wide promotions campaign got under way.

And the campaign to attract more visitors, and to encourage them to stay longer and spend more, includes a 30-page brochure showing the drama of the area.

Mark Reynier, chairman of The Whisky Coast and managing director of Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay, said the project was designed to benefit the whole economy.

He said: "It's about much more than trying to encourage people to visit one or more distilleries. We're encouraging them to explore further and see more of this dramatic, wild indented coast, to stay longer and spend more. Whisky may be the most tangible element of the initiative, but it's the misty harbours and moonlit mountains which add the drama and live on in memories."

The project has received around £25,000 from VisitScotland and a similar amount from HIE, with the 16 member distilleries and other members providing most of the remaining project costs.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 11

Craigellachie barman gets in the Spirit

SOME of the country’s top bartenders have competed to create a Speyside whisky cocktail, in celebration of the forthcoming Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2007, from May 3-7.

The winning cocktail was created by Chris Brennan, head barman of the Whisky Bar, Highlander Inn, Craigellachie. Chris used the 2007 Spirit of Speyside blended malt, Macallan Amber, apple and mango juice, ginger ale and flamed orange zest to produce a refreshing aperitif that was an instant hit.

Chris fought off stiff competition from bartenders from a number of prestigious UK hotels and venues including boutique hotel Rocpool Reserve in Inverness, the luxurious Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa in Surrey and Lainston House Hotel in Hampshire.

The winning cocktail was chosen by a panel of judges including representatives from Gordon & MacPhail and Glen Moray Distillery and the competition was organised by Regis Lemaitre, president of the Scottish Bartenders Guild.

The cocktail will be served at the gourmet dinner which is held on May 3, the opening night of the annual festival, and will also be available at the Highlander Inn throughout May.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is expected to attract more than 12,000 visitors to the picturesque region to indulge in all things whisky. Festival events include tastings, tours, food fairs, concerts and ceilidhs.

For further information or to book any of the festival events visit or contact Elgin Tourist Board on 01343 542 666

Article Courtesy of The Northern Scot


The Northern Scot

Apr 10

Highland park voted top distiller

Orkney-based Highland Park has clinched the coveted title of distiller of the year at an international awards ceremony.

The brand was also awarded double gold medals for its 12, 18 and 25-year-old single malts and gold awards for its 15 and 30-year-old expressions.

The San Francisco World Spirits Awards 2007 attracted more than 700 entries from 51 countries spanning six continents.

Highland Park distillery manager Russell Anderson said: "We are honoured to receive the title of distiller of the year.

"Our distillery draws on over 200 years' experience of making this exceptional single malt whisky.

"We are one of the few distilleries that continue to insist on slowly malting its barley on a stone floor, physically turning it by hand, for a more balanced flavour.

"We pride ourselves on this uncompromising dedication to combining old-time traditional methods and the very best craftsmanship to produce outstanding single malt."

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition was established in 2000 and is the largest annual international spirits judging held in the United States.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 7

Malt stills returning to Girvan

WILLIAM GRANT & Sons is investing in a new distillery in a move that will see the return of malt distilling to its operations on the southwest coast of Scotland.

The multi-million pound distillery will take nine months to build and it is hoped it will be producing by the end of the year.

The plant will be sited next to Grant's grain whisky distillery in Girvan, Ayrshire and will have four wash stills and four spirit stills. The single malt whisky will be used for blending.

Roland van Bommel, chief executive of William Grant & Sons, said: "Thanks to the continued profitable growth of our Scotch whisky brands and the likely increase in demand in the future with new markets opening up, there is a need to increase capacity and supply of malt whisky for blending.

"To service our ambitions for the future, we need to ensure sufficient capacity and we will also be increasing our grain whisky capacity at Girvan," he added.

The Girvan site also includes a laboratory for new product development. It employs 130 people and produces Grant's whisky and Hendrick's gin. The site previously housed the Ladyburn single malt distillery, which closed in 1975. It is not known how many jobs will be created at the new plant.

Whisky distilleries in Scotland are experiencing a boom time at present. Last month Diageo announced that it is to build a malt whisky distillery in Speyside to meet demand in Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico.

This followed independent whisky producer Bruichladdich's announcement that it plans to reopen the Port Charlotte distillery on the southern shores of Islay which was shut in 1929.

The Girvan development follows last week's news that the company is to invest £23 million in a new marketing drive for its Glenfiddich brand. The company hopes to sell more than a million cases a year.

Van Bommel's hope is that the Glenfiddich brand could grow to take on market leaders Johnnie Walker and The Famous Grouse. The marketing campaign, called Every Year Counts, ambitiously aims to take Glenfiddich to that point within 18 months.

Glenfiddich reported a 7% increase in sales last year, taking it through the 900,000 cases a year mark.

Whisky exports experienced a boom in sales last year, with the Scottish Whisky Association reporting a record year with sales of around £2.5 billion, improving on a previous best of £2.4bn back in 1997. Blended whisky accounted for the bulk of sales abroad, with £1.92bn recorded, while malt exports grew to £408m, an increase of 7%.

Demand for whisky has soared in recent years with strong demand in Asia, the US and South America. However, the consumption of whisky has fallen in Britain.

Article Courtesy of Sunday Herald


Sunday Herald

Apr 7

Callum takes up premium post

Whisky maker Edrington Group has strengthened its main board with the appointment of Callum Barton as a non-executive director.

Aberdeen-born Mr Barton has more than 30 years' experience of the luxury goods business.

He is the former chief executive of Richemont North America and has also been CEO of Alfred Dunhill in London. Prior to that, he held senior management positions with Cartier in Paris and Piaget and Baume & Mercier in Geneva.

The 57-year-old trained as an accountant with Arthur Andersen in London before joining Cartier in 1975.

Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington, said: "Callum's experience of the luxury goods market, coupled with his extensive knowledge of consumer loyalty and brand-building, will be of valuable assistance to the group as we seek to develop our own premium brands. He will be an important member of the board as we commit increased resources to the long-term development of our key brands, especially our award-winning single malt portfolio."

Edrington's Orkney-based Highland Park clinched the Distiller of the Year title at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards 2007. The brand was also awarded double gold medals for its 12, 18 and 25-year-old single malts and gold awards for its 15 and 30-year-old expressions.

Edrington won 20 awards with Highland Park and The Macallan at the competition, which attracted more than 700 entries from 51 countries.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 6

The name's the same as distillery toasts guest

These days it is not unusual for parents to name children after places, celebrity icons or even plants and flowers.

But a 26-year-old man from the US has an everlasting reminder of his father's favourite tipple.

Born in 1980, Nicholas Glenfiddich Lahren shares the same name as the Moray whisky distillery purely and simply because his father, Lacey, loved that particular dram more than any other.

And despite living thousands of miles away - in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, - he has inherited his dad's taste for the whisky.

Mr Lahren was born in Norwich, in East Anglia, but moved to Portugal when he was three months old and, shortly after that, to the US.

Yesterday, he made a special visit to Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown.

Distillery spokesman David Mair said that, when staff discovered how he had been given his middle name, they vowed to present him with a special bottle of whisky on his 18th birthday. But because the family moved from the UK the handover never happened.

Eight years on, however, Mr Mair said they were delighted to make good their promise.

He added: "This is a unique occasion and it is an honour for us."

Mr Lahren, who was joined by his mum, Rosie, and younger brothers ,Alex and JT, was presented with his special bottle of Glenfiddich and a decanter set.

He was also given a tour of the distillery and the chance to sample the famous malt on site.

He said: "The reception we received was totally unexpected. It has been incredible.

"I always keep a bottle back at home, but tasting it here is so much better."

His mother said she had been quite happy with the choice of middle name for Nicholas, and if their first child had been a girl she too would undoubtedly have been a Glenfiddich.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 4

Whisky galore as sales hit record

The amount of scotch whisky sold abroad rose to record levels last year as more than one billion bottles were exported.
The value of global sales rose 4% to £2.5bn ($4.9bn), representing a quarter of all the UK's food and drink exports.

There was growth in all leading markets in Europe, the Americas and Asia with demand in Venezuela, China and South Africa particularly buoyant.

The industry has recovered strongly in recent years after Asia's financial crisis hit sales in the late 1990s.

Bright prospects

Diageo, the world's leading scotch producer, recently announced plans to invest £100m on upgrading its distilleries across Scotland, a move which was seen as a signal of health in the industry.

The latest sales figures, published by industry body the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), were derived from HM Revenue & Customs sales data.

Sales volumes rose 6% to 1.051 billion bottles last year, eclipsing the previous high of 1.013 billion in 2001. The best previous year in terms of sales value was 1997, when sales totalled £2.4bn.

The US remains the industry's most valuable market, with sales rising 7% to £400m.

Venezuela, however, saw the strongest growth last year, as sales rose 45% to £106.7m.

There was also encouraging growth in China, where demand for whisky has taken off in the past five years. China is now among the industry's 10 biggest markets.

The industry said its prospects were brighter than they had been for many years.

"I am greatly encouraged that distillers, large and small, are investing in facilities in Scotland and taking advantage of opportunities worldwide, with markets in Asia, North and South America offering strong potential for growth," said Richard Burrows, SWA chairman.

Article Courtesy of BBC News


BBC News

Apr 3

Performance pleases whisky firm's bosses despite slimmer surplus

Directors at whisky company Inver House Distillers have reported a satisfactory result for the last financial year against a background of what they describe as an increasingly challenging competitive environment.

They say in the company's annual report, just released by Companies House, that Inver House operates in highly competitive markets, but its diversity of operations reduces the possible effect of action by any single competitor.

The directors' report also revealed that the Airdrie-based company continued to promote brand development and that new and replacement business was being won continually while new markets had also been developed.

The report added that new products were continuing to be developed for both existing and development markets, and production efficiencies had been gained.

The directors noted, however, that because of increased expenditure by the business on marketing activities, operating profits fell during 2006 compared with the year before from £2.9million to £2.6million.

Pre-tax profits were also lower, down from £2.4million in 2005 to £1.83million, while turnover came in at £38.05million compared with £38.49million the previous year.

In the report with the accounts, the directors cite the small fall in turnover as a reflection of more difficult trading conditions experienced by the firm during the past year.

Inver House - led by managing director Graham Stevenson and whose brands include its flagship Old Pulteney single malt whisky, produced at Scotland's most northerly mainland distillery at Wick - is a subsidiary of Blairmhor Limited.

Blairmhor, in turn, is a subsidiary of Pacific Spirits, a company which is wholly owned by International Beverage Holdings (InterBev), the international arm of Thai Beverages (ThaiBev), one of the largest alcoholic drink businesses in south-east Asia and the maker of Chang beer.

InterBev acquired Pacific Spirits last year for an undisclosed but substantial eight-figure sum.

Also released yesterday by Companies House were the annual report and accounts of Blairmhor.

Its activities are described as the holding of investments in companies involved in distilling malt whisky, warehousing mature and maturing whiskies, and the blending and sale of bulk whiskies and branded products.

Blairmhor's accounts do not disclose turnover, but show that pre-tax profits were £1.04million in 2006 - up from a surplus of £762,000 the year before.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Apr 2

Scotch Whisky Blend From 2005 May Sell for Up to 16,000 Pounds

A Scotch whisky blend bottled two years ago to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Johnnie Walker may fetch as much as 16,000 pounds ($31,600) when sold later this month, according to the auctioneer.

The bottle of Johnnie Walker 1805 was produced by Diageo Plc, the world's largest liquor maker, from a mix of whiskies at least 45 years old and mainly from distilleries that have since closed. It goes on sale in London on April 25, the Bonhams auction house said in an e-mailed statement today.

The prices collectors are willing to pay for Scotch have risen, though typically for older, single malts. Bonhams sold a half-sized bottle of malt about 150 years old for 14,750 pounds in November, while an anonymous Asian collector paid the equivalent of $74,700 in September 2005 for the last bottle of 1926 Macallan malt whisky, a record for a public auction.

``This will probably be the most expensive bottle of blended Scotch ever sold,'' Charles McLean, an Edinburgh-based whisky consultant to Bonhams, said in an interview. McLean, the author of eight books on whisky, said he couldn't remember a bottle of blended Scotch that's ever sold for more than 1,000 pounds.

The Johnnie Walker bottle is one of only 200 produced. Bonhams set the price estimate at between 12,000 pounds and 16,000 pounds, the statement said. The proceeds from the auction will be donated to the National Trust heritage charities of England, Scotland and Wales, said Bonhams.

The five Johnnie Walker brands sell about 150 million bottles a year and Red Label is the world's best-selling Scotch whisky.

``We are confident it will invite extremely competitive bidding,'' Richard Harvey, European director of wine at Bonhams, said in the statement.

Article Courtesy of Bloomberg


March 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Mar 30

Master Gordon to retire from distillery

Master distiller Gordon Mitchell is retiring in May.

Gordon truly is a master of his craft and will be missed at the distillery.

Robin Bell, visitor centre manager, said: ‘If it wasn’t for his talent we wouldn’t have the whisky we have.

‘Because of him we have won many awards for our whisky and we are regarded very highly by whisky fans around the world.’

Before he came to Lochranza in 1995 Gordon was master distiller at Cooley Distillery in Southern Ireland, where he made Connemara Whiskey.


It was for this blend that he was awarded the coveted ‘Double Gold’.

He is one of only three master distillers to be blessed with this honour, which is awarded when a gold award is not considered high enough to match the standard of the whisky.

Following on from their recent success in being voted Distillery of the Year, Arran has just entered three new markets.

Dropping into the Banner office whilst on the Island this week, Managing Director Douglas Davidson said: ‘We have just received our first orders from Bulgaria, Cyprus Duty Free and United Arab Emirates duty free sector.

The company is already in Charles De Gaulle duty free in Paris, Kaistrup duty free in Copenhagen, all London airports and Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh.’

Isle of Arran Distillers are currently researching the growing whisky markets of Mexico and India. Mr Davidson said: ‘We don’t have a huge marketing budget so we are not overstretching ourselves.

‘We entered the Chinese market last year with a first delivery of over 13,000 bottles.’

Explaining the extensive travelling involved he said: ‘You can’t export sitting behind a desk in Scotland.’

He added that the company will gradually be moving away from the blended whisky market.

‘We will always keep the Lochranza and Robert Burns blends, but malts are our game.’

Article Courtesy of Arran Banner


Arran Banner

Mar 30

Glenfiddich in £2 million marketing campaign

A new identity and £2 million marketing spend in the UK is being introduced in a bid to secure single malt Scotch whisky category leadership for Glenfiddich.

The innovative new communications campaign aims to increase Glenfiddich’s brand equity by delivering a distinct and motivating image while underlining the brand’s award-winning malt credentials.

The new campaign by 180 Amsterdam will go live in May and encompass TV (60, 30, 10 second spots across C4, Film4, More4), print, PR, CRM, sales promotion, online and brand ambassador activity.

It will be accompanied by the strapline, ‘Every Year Counts’ which aims to parallel the heritage of Glenfiddich with the life opportunities that can often take years to realise. New packaging will hit shelves in the UK in September.

Managing Director, First Drinks Brands, Chris Mason, said, “The record investment we are putting into the brand with new packaging and our first fully integrated marketing campaign will help the category as a whole while Glenfiddich’s possibilities for increased growth are excellent.“

The UK marketing push is part of a £23 million global investment in the brand by independent, family-owned, William Grant & Sons.

Glenfiddich saw record UK sales in 2006 is showing year on year value growth (4.8 per cent), against a category whose value and volume have been declining during the same period

First Drinks Brands LTd claims Glenfiddich now enjoys 18.9% more sales than the UK’s second ranked malt whisky.

Article Courtesy of UTalk Marketing


UTalk Marketing

Mar 30

Diageo brands in world's top 20

Drinks giant Diageo said yesterday that eight of its spirit brands were among the top 20 premium spirits in the world.

Smirnoff was the number one premium spirit in the world in 2006, with estimated volume sales of nearly 23million nine-litre equivalent cases.

Seven other Diageo brands were listed in the top 20, including: Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Jose Cuervo, J &B, Gordon's Gin and Crown Royal.

Johnnie Walker led the whisky category and claimed the number three spot overall.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 28

Mandelson seeks WTO help over whisky imports dispute

The Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the European Union's decision to seek a ruling from global free trade watchdogs on India's controversial decision not to cut import duties on spirits and wines.

As expected, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has called on the World Trade Organisation to establish a panel to settle the dispute.

In last month's Indian budget some concession was expected on a system which subjects all imported spirits to an additional duty of between 25% and 550%.

advertisementNo reforms were forthcoming. Mandelson has asked the WTO consider the EU's request for a panel at the organisation's next meeting on April 11.

Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: "Scotch whisky distillers have long campaigned for fair access to India.

"The EU's decision is welcome and sends a clear message to India that it must act now to reform its tax regime or face a dispute panel."

Mandelson said: "India has maintained extremely high duties on imported spirits and wines for many years. They restrict European exports and are in clear breach of WTO rules."

He said Europe was not closing the door to an amicable settlement but "the ball is now in India's court" to solve the dispute.

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Mar 26

Moray distillery in US spotlight

Staff at a Speyside distillery were celebrating yesterday after their distillery tour was awarded top spot by an American-based website. Aberlour Distillery's win came at the first annual Drammies awards run by Scotch Blog, an online news and commentary site which focuses on the Scotch whisky industry.

The award comes just a few weeks after the distillery again achieved the prestigious five-star status from VisitScotland, ranking it as a world-class visitor attraction. Whisky enthusiasts from around the world voted online to put the Aberlour Distillery tour, which more than 5,500 visitors experienced last summer, in number one place.

Visitor centre manager Caroline Mitchell said it highlighted the distillery's excellent reputation and was recognition for the dedication and professionalism of staff. "We had a very busy season in 2006 and this year promises to be another busy year, with many bookings already taken from tour operators around the globe." The visitor centre, with others in the Chivas Brothers group, reopens for the new season next Monday.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 27

Green Whisky better by half

A WHISKY distillery is aiming to make the world's greenest tipple.

Bruichladdich bosses on Islay hope to use biomass, hydro-electric and woodchips to meet their energy needs.

The scheme will be used at a new site not far from their current base at Port Charlotte.

Managing director Mark Reynier said: "Without a doubt, this would be the greenest whisky in the world.

"Our new plans will focus on our energy requirements for steam, heat and electricity.

"Steam is needed to heat the stills and is our biggest need.

For this, we are looking at either burning woodchip or using bio-gas, not unlike a giant compost facility.

"Heat will come from heat pumps and electricity from a hydro-electric system."

The project is being backed with £400,000 from an Executive scheme to promote green biomass energy.

Bruichladdich hit the headlines in 2003 after a mix-up led US spies to suspect the distillery of having weapons of mass destruction.

Article Courtesy of Glasgow Daily Record


Glasgow Daily Record

Mar 26

Distiller to take bite of Big Apple

Single malt distiller Glenfiddich has signed a three-year deal to sponsor Scotland's main tourism showcase during Tartan Week - New York's celebration of all things Scottish.

The whisky makers has sponsored the Scottish Village, to be stationed inside Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall. Tartan Week begins on Saturday.

The village, which featured in Tartan Week for the first time in 2005, is the centrepiece of the week and a focal point for New York media.

Three expert coopers from the Glenfiddich Distillery on Speyside, with a combined experience of 140 years with Glenfiddich owner Wm Grant and Sons, will bring the zone to life with live cooperage demonstrations every day.

VisitScotland uses the village to encourage Americans to book a trip to Scotland.

It highlights a range of themes to inspire them, including ancestral tourism, golf, Scotland's cities, events and festivals. Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh will all be showcasing their range of events and festivals on offer.

Peter Lederer, VisitScotland's chairman, said: "The event will give Glenfiddich and Scotland as a whole major exposure in a key international market. By working together, the whisky and tourism industries can bring major benefits for each other."

Tartan Week gives Scotland massive exposure in America, with an opportunity to cut through one of the world's busiest media environments.

Last year VisitScotland's Tartan Week efforts alone generated 4million of coverage in US TV, radio and newspapers, reaching 97million potential travellers.

More than 60,000 Americans spent time in the Scottish Village last year, with 55% of those surveyed stating they were more likely to book a trip after visiting the village.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 23

City whisky shop nips in to win prize

A GLASGOW whisky retailer has beaten some of the country's biggest supermarket chains at a national awards event.

The Whisky Shop has won the Innovation of the Year award at the prestigious 2007 Drinks Retailing Awards in London.

Against stiff opposition from Tesco and Majestic Wines, the company was described as "bristling with new ideas" and one of the most innovative firms in Britain.

Ian Bankier, of The Whisky Shop, said: "We are delighted to be recognised at such a prestigious event.

advertisement"To win at this level is a gratifying reward for the passion we have for our business. Our unique approach brings an exciting new concept to the high street."

The firm, which has a store at Buchanan Galleries, also won the Independent Retailer of the Year award at the same event.

Article Courtesy of Glasgow Evening Times


Glasgow Evening Times

Mar 21

One single malt whisky, one trek

If you enjoy a team challenge, spectacular scenery, and have a taste for whisky, the Talisker™ Trek on the Isle of Skye could be your idea of heaven.

From 1-3 June, the UK's leading land and water explorers are leading the Talisker™ Trek 2007, a trekking challenge held on the Isle of Skye, to help raise awareness and arrest the decline of the UK's woodland areas which are affected by climate change.

From base camp at the foot of the Cuillin hills, teams of four will trek around the famous landscape and complete tasks to collect points in a challenge to win the Talisker™ Trek team title. The weekend culminates in a celebration at the Talisker™ distillery and an exclusive tasting with Talisker™ Master Distiller, Charlie Smith. Here you'll get to experience the soft smoky nose and deep, sweet taste of the only single malt from Skye, famously declared by Robert Louis Stevenson to be "the king o' drinks".

Leading the charge

Leading this year's challenge will be Lewis Gordon Pugh (the 'Polar Bear' of arctic waters), Tom Avery (North & South Polar record-breaking explorer) and Dean Richards and Martin Bayfield (former Lions and England Rugby legends).

Polar swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh was the first to attempt and conquer the 'holy grail' of swimming by completing a long distance swim in all 5 oceans: Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans. He'll be opening the Talisker™ Trek by swimming into Glen Brittle bay on the shores of Skye.

Sowing the seeds

The Talisker™ Trek aims to raise enough funds to help plant a quarter of a million new trees across the UK by 2009 in association with woodland conservation charity the Woodland Trust. The inaugural event, held last year and led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, got things well on the way, and this year's trekkers will continue fundraising to reach this target.

Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust says, "The UK is currently one of the least wooded countries in Europe, with only 12% of the land taken up by woods, compared to the European average of 36%. Raising sponsorship money by taking part in the Talisker™ Trek means we get the opportunity to help plant new trees and raise awareness, really giving something back to our beautiful countryside and nurture its long term future."

Take part in the challenge of a lifetime

If you're looking for a challenge that combines excitement, adventure, teamwork and inspiration, as well as offering a chance to contribute to the Woodland Trust's massive planting project, the Talisker™ Trek is it - but be quick as places are limited to 200 participants.

You can register in teams of two or four, and each trekker is asked to raise £500 for the Woodland Trust Talisker™ Trek Fund. The trek is suitable for adults with a moderate level of fitness - it'll test you mentally and physically, but the sense of achievement and camaraderie will make it all worthwhile. Find out more and apply for your place by visiting

Article Courtesy of Guardian Unlimited


Guardian Unlimited

Mar 20

Blackwood losses up, but turnover rises

Blackwood Distillers has said its planned distillery on Shetland "would be built by now" if it had stuck with its original site at Catfirth near Lerwick, a plan to which it is returning to following an aborted attempt to build on the island of Unst.

Blackwood was forced earlier this month to abandon plans, announced last May, to redevelop an RAF site on Unst, though founder Caroline Whitfield said yesterday that the plan had been "the right thing" to try, given island economics.

The original site had been due to start construction two years ago.

advertisementShe said: "It is frustrating not getting a distillery built but we are now back at Catfirth. The regulatory environment in which we work is one of the toughest, not only (HM) Customs but environmental practice ... (where) there has never been a distillery before."

She added: "We have got to go to our contracting suppliers and get everything recosted ... 10% either way on £2.5m would be a lot of money for us."

The company has published results for 2006 which show a loss widening from £2.16m to £2.44m, though turnover rose 11% to £1.28m and gross profits were up 35% to £319,000.

Blackwood has been developing white spirit brands to bridge the gap to whisky production, originally due to start next year.

Joanna Dennis, finance director, said: "We have been focusing this year on building long-term profitable business and have stopped activities such as consumer shows, which brought in revenue but on which we were making a loss.

"Our growth in underlying sales of key customers has been improving and these provide better margin sales."

Whitfield added: "People think nothing is happening but getting planning permission and full consent to operate on Catfirth has, in total, cost us over £400,000 hard cash.

"We have received no public money, no loans, no grants - this has been entirely financed by private shareholders."

Blackwood also launched its Diva vodka in test markets in Edinburgh and Singapore with an investment of £90,000, and continued to invest in Blackwood's Gin, which has added Majestic Wine Warehouse and Oddbins to its UK-wide listings, which also include J Sainsbury.

"This has been funded by ongoing private investment in the business including an additional £750,000 of further investment since the accounts were approved," Whitfield said.

Article Courtesy of The Herald


The Herald

Mar 17

Whisky ale renews Broch's link with Japan

Fraserburgh's most famous son, Thomas Blake Glover, helped launch Japan's biggest brewery during the industrial revolution he helped create in that country.

The brewery went from strength to strength and later became the Kirin Brewery Company, which continues to sell millions of bottles of its beers and whiskies worldwide.

Now, exactly a century on, two young entrepreneurs from Glover's home town are making a similar impact in the Land of the Rising Sun. Japanese buyers are already falling over themselves to stock up on Martin Dickie and James Watt's Paradox ale.

It is matured in whisky caskets, making it the first beer of its kind in the world.

Paradox is also proving a big hit in Denmark and North America and could soon be on the shelves of Sainsbury's supermarkets across the UK.

Earlier this week, lifelong pals Mr Dickie and Mr Watt, both 24, won the overall prize at the Taste of Grampian awards.

Judges were impressed with the pair's innovation and said the potential market for the whisky ale was massive.

It is a promising start for fledgling firm Brewdogs, which started brewing properly at its Kessock Industrial Estate premises only a few weeks ago. It is the Broch's first brewery for about 100 years.

Mr Watt said: "We want to do something that the area can be proud of, something different. I know we were fed up drinking over-marketed fizzy, yellow beer and wanted to offer something of a far higher quality.

"There is a big market for Scottish beers in Japan and we are already taking orders for the Paradox ale over there."

Mr Watt, originally from Gardenstown, and Mr Dickie, from Cairnbulg, now work 16 hours a day to get their products out. They aim to make as much as 10,000 bottles a week.

"This is just a two-person operation at the moment ."

Mr Dickie has a strong beer-making pedigree and has a first-class honours degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 16

Whisky distiller pulls out of Unst

THE COMPANY behind plans to build Shetland's first whisky distillery on the island of Unst is to pull out of the project and go back to its original site at Catfirth, South Nesting.

The move comes as a bitter blow to Unst where hopes were high that the distillery would boost the island's re-generation efforts in the wake of the closure of RAF Saxa Vord, in March last year.

Blackwood Distillers last night (Thursday) blamed Military Asset Management (MAM) for its decision not to build on Unst.

MAM is converting the former Saxa Vord military camp into a holiday resort. As part of that project Blackwood had planned to turn the camp's motor transport and supply buildings into Scotland's most northerly distillery with bonded warehouses.

Blackwood chief executive Caroline Whitfield said that there had been sound financial and social reasons to shift from Catfirth to Unst.

However MAM had moved the goalposts on what was on offer at Saxa Vord, leaving the company no choice but to go back to Catfirth, in South Nesting, she said.

"At the time, the offer from MAM was to lease a fully paid for and fitted out distillery - a compelling commercial reason to move - but that offer was ended late last year and a lease of the empty buildings offered," Ms Whitfield said.

"Repeated offers by Blackwood to buy the Saxa Vord buildings at their current commercial value, once title finally passes from the Ministry of Defence, were declined by MAM."

Blackwood received a detailed assessment in February which highlighted significant additional works required to develop the proposed buildings, she added.

"In addition, with Blackwood being responsible for £2.5million investment in fitting out a distillery, it has concluded it does not make sense to invest so much when Blackwood cannot own the underlying buildings for at least 10 years."

MAM owner Frank Strang confirmed that his company had initially offered to lease a fully fitted out distillery, but this proposal was withdrawn when the company realised the cost involved.

He said: "Over the period of many months of discussions we took the commercial view that it was very, very risky for us to fund the bill, and that it would be best to pass the site over on a fair commercial rent to Blackwood; and that they would get on to source the funding, as well as building and running the distillery," Mr Strang said.

"That was mooted to Blackwood in October and they were happy with that. We then sat down to negotiate a commercial figure of rent. In an effort to bring this to a conclusion and to be fair to everybody, we met on Monday and put our position on the table and that position was, for whatever reason, unacceptable to Blackwood."

He added: "Why they are not going forward is purely up to them. We are disappointed, we felt that we tried everything to get them over the line.

"I understand that they couldn't accept our terms, but I would like to wish them all the very best for the future. I am sure Blackwood will make a success of their business and I think that the vision for a distillery in Shetland is a winner."

Unst councillor, Brian Gregson said he was disappointed to hear the latest developments.

"I, and many in the community, had hopes that this would help Unst. But I can see that the disappointment that will be felt about Blackwood might be tempered to some extent if a suitable deal can be reach with the local brewery."

Sonny Priest, of Valhalla Brewery, confirmed yesterday that he was in discussions with Mr Strang to move his operation into the camp's motor transport and supply buildings which have now become available

The small family business is close to its operational capacity at its existing site in Baltasound, and Mr Priest has been talking to MAM about relocating to Saxa Vord for some time.

Mr Priest said: "We are going to become a significant part of what is going to happen at the former camp. Relocating to the motor supply buildings is a good idea as it would be much cheaper to convert those building than building a new one."

Mr Priest said he expected to double the company's brewing capacity over the next two to three years, to around 120,000 litres annually.

Meanwhile Blackwood Distillers said they would now update their existing plans for the site they already own at Catfirth.

After a three month review with local partners, the business will issue an updated timetable for activity on the site, Ms Whitfield said.

"We deeply regret not being able to make this work on Unst. We really did want to make a difference there. However we will be making a difference to Shetland overall and that is what folk expect. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Article Courtesy of Shetland News


Shetland News

Mar 15

Major investment for distillery

Scotland's economic strength is based on a number of key factors, including the success of its world-renowned whisky industry.

Whisky production generates exports, jobs and tourism income and contributes enormously to the brand image of Scotland, which is an important selling point in many countries.

As a barometer of future economic patterns, investment in the whisky industry is also an important guide.

News of major investment by the Edrington group in the Macallan distillery at Craigellachie will reinforce and expand the market position of one of the industry's leading labels.

This is significant for both the local economy and the industry as a whole. Hopefully, this will help breed confidence at all levels.

The drinks industry is hugely competitive and anything which is successful, in any business sector, is nearly always copied by those who want a piece of the action.

This has been a feature of the whisky industry as well, but no one can beat the Scots when it comes to producing Scotch.

The fact that brands such as Macallan are actually increasing in popularity is proof of that and shows that new markets are constantly opening up. Major investment such as this will help keep Scotch whiskies at the top.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 15

Chinese whisky apology front-page news

Whisky company Chivas Brothers and its French parent Pernod Ricard have forced an apology from a Chinese newspaper for tarnishing the name of their 12-year-old Chivas Regal premium blend.

Shanghai-based business publication International Finance News (IFN) sparked an angry reaction from Chivas and Pernod last year by alleging that Chinese imports of Chivas 12-year-old contained whisky of a younger vintage.

The row landed up in the Chinese courts, with Pernod lodging a complaint against the newspaper for publishing a false and irresponsible report.

IFN lodged a counter claim against the French drink giant for defamation.

Pernod Ricard China said IFN had recently made a formal apology for publishing a false report, with a statement to that effect on its front page.

Pernod said IFN had admitted to making no efforts to verify the contents of its report, "which were false and have misled consumers".

It added: "The apology made by IFN, which was facilitated by the court, is a clear testament of Pernod Ricard's long-standing commitment to providing superior quality products to Chinese consumers."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 13

J&B gets party started in new push

Scotch brand J&B is launching a £10 million global marketing plan, encompassing print, radio, digital and on-pack advertising.

The self-styled ‘party whisky’, owned by drinks giant Diageo, will be supported by a year-long campaign in over 20 markets across the world.

Diageo commissioned Dutch ad agency KesselsKramer to create the push. The press work, which will be launched over the next few weeks, features a large mirror ball in locations such as a swimming pool and a cityscape with the strapline ‘Start a party.’

Banner Ad

The ads feature a prominent responsible drinking message – ‘However you start a party, please start and finish it responsibly.’ Diageo is currently working with fellow drinks manufacturer Scottish & Newcastle and The Drinkaware Trust on ‘sensible consumption’ drinks marketing.

Diageo is looking to push its whisky brands following its recent £100 million investment to increase production. The company makes whisky brands Bell’s and Crown Royal, as well as big name products Guinness and Smirnoff.

KesselsKramer has previously created campaigns for Levi’s, Diesel Jeans and Unilever.

Nik Keane, global brand director of J&B said: “We are going big with the mirror ball – literally – and are going to have some real fun with this icon.

“For us ‘starting a party’ is all about attitude – optimism, sociability, enjoying life and having fun and we are using the mirror ball to convey this.”

Article Courtesy of

Mar 11

European drinks firms keen on India, seek tax cuts

European drinks makers are keen to increase their presence in India’s fast-growing $1.8 billion alcoholic drinks market, but want better trademark protection and lower tariffs on imported wines and spirits.

The European Union is pressing for lower duties on wines and spirits, which it says are as high as 550 percent on spirits and 264 percent on wines due to federal and state levies.

‘India also has an interest in solving this problem because it affects how we do trade,’ EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel told reporters.

‘The taxes put our wines and spirits at a huge disadvantage. If we do not see a clear sign from India, we are considering raising a panel for dispute settlement,’ she said.

If the World Trade Organisation forms a dispute settlement panel and rules against India, the EU could impose retaliatory tariffs on imports from India.

Diageo Plc., Pernod Ricard and LVMH’s Moet Hennessey are among European firms setting up operations in India.

Moet Hennessey’s local unit imports about 50,000 cases of champagne, cognac and wine annually, and the firm plans to double sales in three years.

‘We believe India will be among the top 10 champagne markets for us,’ said Yves Benard, director of Moet Hennessey’s champagne activities and wine resources. ‘Maybe not No.2 or No.3, but in the top 10.’

Moet Hennessey has a minor stake in Indian wine maker Grover Vineyards, and may consider making wine in India, he added.

‘India is a wine producing country and it could be an interesting proposition for us,’ Benard said.

Zero tolerance
India’s spirits and beer market is dominated by the UB group, which is close to acquiring Scottish spirits maker Whyte & Mackay to bolster its portfolio of premium brands.

But the head of the Scottish Whisky Association, which has Whyte & Mackay among its 53 members, cautioned that if UB became a member, it would also have to take up the association’s fight to protect trademarks and intellectual property rights worldwide.

‘We look forward to having (UB’s) Vijay Mallya join us. It will give us a different perspective,’ SWA Chief Executive Gavin Hewitt said. ‘But, along with the privileges, are responsibilities and obligations, and we have a zero tolerance policy.’

The SWA has opposed the registration of UB’s popular McDowell’s whisky brand, and pursued other local Indian brands for using names that suggest a Scottish lineage. It recently won a case against an Indian brand called Red Scot, Hewitt said.

‘It took us 20 years to win that, but we are very clear: no Scottish names, no tartan, no stag’s head,’ he said.

UB, whose United Spirits Ltd. is the world’s third-largest spirits maker by sales, wants the EU to relax the description of whisky to permit Indian whisky, made from molasses, to be labelled as whisky in Europe.

But Hewitt is firm.

‘We have no difficulty with Indian whisky coming in, but it must be labelled as that.’

‘Just as we are providing you with market access, we want you to be able to go to a shop here and be able to buy a Scotch whisky at the same price as your local whisky.’

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Khaleej Times

Mar 9

Whisky industry urges politicians to promote its spirit

The whisky industry is calling on political parties to continue efforts to promote Scotland's most famous export.

The Scotch Whisky Association launched its manifesto setting out its priorities for the May election, emphasising the social and economic importance of the industry.

The manifesto identifies four key areas for action by the executive and Holyrood, some of which are already in existence.

Distillers are seeking backing for:

A partnership approach to promoting responsible attitudes to alcohol and tackling misuse.

Promoting the international competitiveness of Scotch whisky, a global ambassador for Scotland which represents annual exports of £2.4billion and supports over 40,000 jobs.

New legislation to further codify the definition and presentation rules for Scotch whisky, protecting consumers and the industry from unfair and misleading practices.

A sustainable future for Scotland's distilling supply chain .

Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "Scotch whisky's continuing international success and future sustainability is crucial to thousands of jobs across our economy. In the next parliament, we look to all political parties to work with distillers to protect and promote this vitally important Scottish industry and to make an effective partnership approach to tackling alcohol misuse a priority."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 8

Whisky centre attracts international honour

Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown, in Moray, has been hailed as the world's best whisky visitor attraction.

It beat competition from other top Scottish whisky visitor centres to be crowned Scottish Visitor Attraction of the Year before scooping the Global Visitor Attraction of the Year title. The honours formed part of Whisky Magazine's latest Icons of Whisky awards, which were judged by industry representatives around the world.

Glenfiddich was the first distillery in Scotland to open its doors to the public in 1969 and now attracts around 80,000 visitors a year.

In the past two years the site - owned by family company William Grant and Sons - has invested more than £1.8million to transform its visitor facilities, with developments including the creation of a new visitor centre, coffee shop and bar.

Glenfiddich spokeswoman Elizabeth Lafferty said: "We believe Scotland is the home to the best whisky in the world, so it is fitting that the world's best visitor centre should be here."

The awards were presented at a dinner and ceremony held at the Cafe Royal in London and attended by leading figures from the industry worldwide, including Jack Daniel's master distiller Jimmy Bedford who collected a lifetime achievement award.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 6

Old island distillery to be recreated using 'all-green' concepts

An Old island distillery is to be reborn in a multimillion-pound initiative which aims to create 10 jobs while using the latest environmentally-friendly concepts for whisky production.

Bruichladdich, which already runs a successful distillery on Islay, also owns the site of the old Port Charlotte stillhouse, which closed in 1929 and was demolished to house a garage and parking area.

Now the company is to apply for planning permission to recreate Port Charlotte Distillery, at a cost of £3-4million, inside the shell of the original warehouse buildings, which are still intact.

Bruichladdich managing director Mark Reynier is excited at the prospect of creating an environmentally-sustainable distillery from scratch.

He said: "We have the chance to create an entirely 'green' distillery, with a genuinely zero carbon footprint, by using all the latest environmentally-sustainable concepts.

"The environmental movement is strong on the theory but weak in the practice.

"It will be quite an engineering challenge to see what really is possible."

The first turf for the project, which is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2008, will be cut during the Islay Whisky Festival on Sunday, May 27.

The new full-sized distillery, which will benefit from a separate visitor centre, will have a maximum capacity of 1.2million litres and will be producing Port Charlotte brand whisky.

A heavily-peated whisky called Port Charlotte has been distilled at the Bruichladdich depot since 2001, so when distilling gets under way at the new distillery it will be in the unusual situation of having an eight-year-old stock on its first day of production.

The distilling equipment for the Port Charlotte project has already been acquired from the now closed Inverleven Distillery, Dumbarton, having been saved from demolition by Bruichladdich in 2003.

The entire single malt plant was dismantled by a team from Bruichladdich and the machinery was then shipped to the island on barges where it has been in storage, with some parts used for spares.

Bruichladdich is a private Scottish company controlling 0.5% of single malt capacity and was itself reborn as a distillery in 2001.

The company returned its first profits in 2004, doubled them in 2005, exceeded forecast levels in 2006, and has vowed to reinvest all profits in the whisky business.

Mr Reynier said: "As progressive Hebridean distillers, we believe strongly in the Islay appellation and artisanal distilling. One set of stills was never going to be enough for us.

"This new distillery will allow us to diversify our skills, provide new options and allow further scope for our new ideas."

He said that, although there is spare capacity at Bruichladdich, which employs 40 people, the company wants a separate distillery to specialise in the production of heavily-peated whisky.

Built in 1829, the original Port Charlotte Distillery changed its name to Lochindaal shortly afterwards, but closed in 1929 at the time of Prohibition.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 3

Preserved in ice for 100 years, the whisky Shackleton used to keep out the cold

They say whisky matures with age...but leaving it embedded in the Antarctic ice for almost 100 years may be going a bit far.

Two cases of MacKinlay's Rare Old Whisky that Ernest Shackleton's team abandoned on their failed 1908 expedition to the South Pole have been uncovered intact.

The pine cases were discovered by a conservation team excavating ice from beneath the hut where Shackleton and his men sheltered from the long, savage winter. They showed almost no damage from the ice and the company's stag's head logo is clearly visible.

"It was a magic moment," said Al Fastier, the New Zealander managing the conservation programme at Cape Royds on Antarctica's Ross Island. "It's a very exciting find."

Shackleton built the hut in January 1908 to provide a base for his attempt to become the first person to reach the South Pole. He and his 14 crew members spent nine months in the hut as temperatures plunged to -58F (-50C).

They were sustained by supplies which included 1,600lb of Yorkshire ham, 100lb of Colman's mustard, hundreds of packs of Huntley & Palmers biscuits and copious tins of Lyle's Golden Syrup.

As for the whisky, MacKinlay's was a family distilling company based in Leith, Edinburgh. When Shackleton approached MacKinlay's in 1907, it readily agreed to act as the expedition's official whisky supplier, and the firm - now part of distillers Whyte and Mackay - still has the letter from Shackleton confirming the donation.

MacKinlay's provided 12 cases, and empty bottles have previously been found on Shackleton's desk at Cape Royds - but the new find is the first untouched alcohol to be discovered.

Shackleton and three companions set off for the Pole when spring arrived in late October. After an epic four-month trek, they fell just 98 miles short of their goal.

They left the Cape Royds hut on March 3, 1909, leaving behind surplus supplies as they rushed to get away before the winter ice closed around their ship.

"In light of this, it's not surprising that two cases of whisky were overlooked," said Martin Williams of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, which is endeavouring to preserve Shackleton's hut.

The conservation team had decided to remove the ice to make sure the hut's foundations were stable and to reduce humidity inside.

They have previously discovered an undershirt bearing the name Bertram Armytage - a member of Shackleton's team - as well as boots still lined with straw to boost insulation, an intact dog harness and crates of matches.

The cases of whisky have been left in the hut where they were found. If removed, Fastier explained, they could be damaged - and many experts feel such artefacts should remain in situ.

But surely one of the conservation team has been tempted to open a bottle?

"No," said Fastier. "It's better to imagine it than to taste it. That way it keeps its mystery."

Article Courtesy of This is London


This is London

Mar 2
2007 launch ebook - “The Essential Guide to Scotch Whisky”

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For much less than the price of a bottle of single malt, you could be making educated decisions about your future scotch whisky purchases and enjoying these marvelous historic spirits with a whole new background of knowledge!

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Article Courtesy of Us!



Mar 1

Brown is urged to freeze duty on whisky again in his last budget

Chancellor Gordon Brown was urged last night to use his last Budget to complete a decade without a single rise in the duty on Scotch.

The plea was delivered to the Treasury by a delegation from the all-party Parliamentary Whisky Industry Group including Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson, its vice-chairman, and Orkney and Shetland Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael.

At a meeting in the Treasury with Economic Secretary John Healey they presented their case for the 10th successive freeze in the duty on spirits since the rise imposed by Mr Brown in 1997.

Mr Robertson, whose constituency contains more than half of Scotland's malt whisky distilleries, said afterwards Mr Healey had promised to look closely at the case.

He said a further freeze would "support industry investment and competitiveness". He added: "The whisky sector is one of Scotland's key industries both in export, earnings and employment terms, and the Treasury has a responsibility to support it."

Mr Robertson said the international demand for Scotch was growing but the UK market was very fragile.

Mr Carmichael said: "I was keen to emphasise than an increase in duty could have a seriously detrimental effect on the industry and hit many of our most fragile communities hardest. As you would expect, no promises were given."

A Scotch Whisky Association delegation is due at the Treasury tomorrow to make a similar case.

Government and consumer affairs director Campbell Evans said: "The Government has clearly stated in the past that it is looking to improve tax fairness and it has done that by freezing the duty. We believe that argument still holds good."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Mar 1

Port Charlotte Distillery on Islay Confirmed

Bruichladdich Distillery has now officially announced its plans to create the new distillery at Port Charlotte. The distillery will be built, subject to planning permission, on the site of the Lochindaal Distillery that ceased production in 1929. The new name will be Port Charlotte Distillery, one of the original names of the 1829 enterprise. The Distillery was also known as Rhinns Distillery and Lochindaal Distillery.

Mark Reynier, Bruichladdich CEO says: 'It’s a logical expansion for us. We have a wide distilling repertoire through three peating levels and technique, four barley varieties and eleven origins.
'This exciting development will allow us to further diversify our distilling talents and add capacity.
'A small private player such as ourselves has to be different in this industry. Premium distilling by artisans, innovation and variety are key issues for us.'

Much of the major plant and equipment for the new Port Charlotte distillery was ‘acquired’ by Bruichladdich as early as 2003.
'It was Jim McEwans’s idea.' says Reynier. 'Dumbarton’s Inverleven Distillery was to be demolished, so Jim said: 'Why not bring it to Islay?'
'Duncan McGillivray put a team of ten men together and dismantled the entire distillery plant bolt by bolt and shipped it to Islay on a barge. It has been in storage ever since, although we have used some bits for spares.
'We hope to build Port Charlotte as an entirely green distillery with a zero carbon footprint. We will be using all the latest environmentally sustainable concepts and it will be quite an engineering challenge to see if it really is possible.'
A second planning application will be made shortly for a new building on the Clynes Garage site that will contain shop, offices and a tasting/ceilidh room. The site will be appropriately landscaped.
Bruichladdich expect to cut the 'First Turf' for the new distillery during their Feis Ile Open Day on Sunday 27th May.

Article Courtesy of Islay Info


Islay Info

Mar 1

Swa in plea to Brussels over Indian duty

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has demanded tougher action against India over taxes and duties of up to 550% on European spirits.

The call came as a deadline passed for New Delhi to reduce its swingeing tariffs, which are so prohibitive they have all but closed the Indian market to European exporters. By contrast, Indian spirit drinks exported to EU countries face no tariffs.

Now the European Commission is under pressure to trigger full-blown World Trade Organisation disputes procedure.

An European Union investigation in 2006 described the Indian tax regime for imported spirits and wines as a blatant violation of WTO rules and urged reform of the system by yesterday's Indian budget announcement at the latest.

The budget contained no comfort for European spirit exporters, however, prompting SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt to appeal to Brussels.

He said: "Scotch whisky distillers continue to face a long-standing discriminatory tariff and tax regime that has been found to be in clear violation of WTO rules. Today's budget was a last opportunity for India to reform the system. That opportunity has been missed and we are now urging the EU to take the matter to a WTO panel at the earliest opportunity."

A WTO "dispute settlement panel" consists of a team of trade experts whose decision on the validity of the Indian tax regime for spirits would be final.

The EU spirit industry hopes such a ruling would slash the permitted tariffs and open up new export potential in India. EU exports of spirits to India are worth about £30million, below 1% of total Indian spirit sales

The industry has already had three WTO dispute panel successes in challenging spirit tariffs imposed on EU exports by Japan, Chile and South Korea. An EU report last July after an eight-month investigation revealed that total duties payable in India on imports amounted to up to 550% for spirits and 264% for wines, unfairly exceeding tax rates applied to local products.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal
February 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Feb 27

Distillery promises to satisfy visitors' tastes

An Easter Ross distillery will open its doors to the public for the first time during a new festival to celebrate Scotland's national drink.

Whisky connoisseurs will get a special look behind the scenes of Balblair Distillery, Edderton, during the inaugural Highland Whisky Festival in June.

Balblair is one of four distilleries participating in the event, which, it is hoped, will build to be as successful as the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival. A limited number of people will be able to tour Balblair, which is usually closed to the public.

And demonstrations and tastings will also be held at Dalmore Distillery, Alness; Glenmorangie, Tain; and Glen Ord, Muir of Ord.

John MacDonald, manager of Balblair Distillery, said: "We have been a shy distillery in the past but we are throwing our doors open to let people experience the distillery.

"But the tours will be limited and people should book their places."

Glen Ord manager Eric Walker added: "We are fortunate to have the maltings attached to the distillery and we intend to open up the operation so that people can see what happens to turn barley into malt and the process to transform it into the golden nectar."

Local food businesses will also be given the opportunity to display their produce during the festival.

Chris Conway, of ScotlandWhisky which is co-ordinating the festival, said: "Millions of people visit distilleries every year, generating £17.3million for the economy. That is a significant amount."

He added: "This is a fantastic opportunity to work with four leading Highland distilleries to bring together a prestigious event.

"It is especially encouraging that these great whisky brands have come together with the common objective to grow whisky tourism in the Highlands outwith the peak tourism season.

"This co-ordinated approach from distilleries has been highly successful in other areas of Scotland and there is clearly a demand for such events from the consumer."

The event take place on June 2 and 3 and more information can be found at

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Feb 26

Tasting as smooth as top single malt

Mixers were not allowed at Dramfest 07 held in the Town Hall on Saturday.

More than 200 whiskies were on display, with 140 for tasting and only pure Christchurch water allowed to be added.

The most expensive, priced at $30,000, was brought along especially by an international guest, but was for viewing only.

The sold-out event attracted people from around New Zealand and as far away as Australia and the Chatham Islands.

Organiser and owner of Christchurch shop Whisky Galore Michael Fraser Milne said he had expected up to 400 people to attend and was happily surprised to have 770.

``It's a world trend towards malt whisky. It's fun and also about appreciation.''

Saturday's activities included whisky tastings, a cocktail competition, master- classes and music.

The most expensive bottle for sale was $6000 but most were more reasonably priced at between $80 to $150.

Fraser Milne said the event went off without a hitch.

``It all went smoothly. Some people were exceptionally mellow, you might say, but no problems at all.''

Article Courtesy of

Feb 21

Indian liquor baron's UB audits Whyte and Mackay for takeover

Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya's UB Group said Wednesday it was studying the books of scotch-whisky maker Whyte and Mackay in a possible takeover deal worth 550 million pounds (1.08 billion dollars).

"The due diligence process is under way," P.A. Murali, chief financial officer of UB Spirits Ltd., India's largest distiller, told AFP in Bangalore.

Murali said it would be "speculative" to comment on the likely date of an agreement being signed.

Due diligence is a financial term for a company analysis carried out prior to a takeover to determine that the conditions of the business conform with what has been claimed by the seller.

The acquisition would help the 52-year-old Mallya, a cigar-puffing businessman known for his flamboyant lifestyle such as an airline that bears the name of his company's flagship beer called Kingfisher, finally penetrate a market where he has faced resistance.

The Scotch Whisky Association of Britain has blocked his attempt to sell Indian-made spirits in Europe, arguing his products were distilled from molasses and not malt and can't be described as whisky, a stance Mallya said was akin to "commercial imperialism."

UB Group was also forced to shelve plans to buy French champagne group Taittinger, for which it offered nearly 660 million dollars, after rival bidders upped the ante.

"If UB Group buys Whyte and Mackay, it will gain a foothold in Europe," said Anjan Roy, an economist at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or FICCI, in New Delhi.

The Indian company was founded by Scotsman Thomas Leishman in 1915 to make bulk beer for British troops that was transported in huge barrels known as "hogsheads."

Vijay Mallya's father Vittal at age 22 became the first Indian director of the company 13 days after India gained independence on August 15, 1947.

The company said in January that it was in talks to acquire Glasgow-based Whyte and Mackay but refused to disclose details.

The Hindustan Times, in a report from London, Wednesday cited unnamed people close to Mallya as saying the deal had been sealed for 550 million pounds and that "the formalities would be completed within a fortnight."

"It's difficult to specify a date but we are looking at closing out the deal as soon as possible if all things meet our requirements," a UB Group corporate finance executive who requested anonymity told AFP in Bangalore.

The acquisition would add W and M scotch whisky, Vladivar vodka and Jura single-malt whisky to UB Group's stable, which includes Kingfisher beer, Bagpiper, Director's Special and McDowell's No. 1 whiskies and McDowell's Celebration rum.

Billionaire Mallya, an ostentatious public figure sometimes referred to as India's Richard Branson, is also known for his lavish parties, luxury automobiles and luxury yacht, the Indian Empress.

His group has business interests in infrastructure, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, engineering, life sciences and international trading besides spirits.

The proposed acquisition would be the latest big-ticket purchase by an Indian tycoon overseas.

Ratan Tata's Tata Steel in January bid seven billion pounds to buy Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group and Kumar Mangalam Birla's Hindalco said this month it agreed to purchase US-based aluminium maker Novelis for six billion dollars.

"Indian companies have now gained the financial muscle to buy companies abroad," said FICCI's Roy. "They have matured and are beginning to spread their wings abroad. We can expect more such developments."

Article Courtesy of France24



Feb 16

Drinks giant gives £40million boost to whisky industry

A £40million distillery is set to be built in Moray in what would be the biggest boost to the whisky industry in the region for more than three decades.

Drinks giant Diageo revealed yesterday it wanted to build the new distillery to feed demand for Scotch whisky in fast-growing markets such as China.

The company behind brands including Johnnie Walker and J &B yesterday revealed plans for a £100million investment and up to 200 new jobs to boost capacity at its Scottish sites, including the new distillery.

About £80million will be spent on malt and grain distilling, with about half that going on the new site and the rest on increasing capacity at its Cameronbridge plant in Fife.

A further £20million will be invested in packaging and warehouse operations.

Diageo has identified land it owns at Roseisle, between Elgin and Kinloss, as its preferred site for the new, as yet unnamed, distillery. It already has a large maltings operation at Roseisle.

The company said it was starting discussions with Moray Council and other relevant agencies about its plans.

It hopes construction will start this year, subject to planning consent.

The new distillery, which will employ 25 people, is expected to open early in 2009. A Diageo spokeswoman said there were options other than Roseisle but declined to reveal them.

Moray - Scotland's whisky heartland - will have its first new distillery for many years if all goes smoothly for the group.

Scotch Whisky Association spokesman Campbell Evans said it would be the biggest whisky industry development in the area for more than 30 years.

He added: "This is a major boost for the sector and a sign of confidence in its future. This move is another sign of strong optimism within the industry."

The news was welcomed by politicians and business leaders across Scotland and the north-east. First Minister Jack McConnell said it would prove to be one of the biggest investments in decades in one of Scotland's most important industries.

Chancellor Gordon Brown said: "This is great news for Scotland and the Scotch whisky industry."

The positive comments were echoed by Moray MP Angus Robertson and Moray MSP Richard Lochhead.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Feb 15

Diageo pumps £100m into Scotch whiskey operation

Up to 200 new jobs are to be created when drinks giant Diageo rolls out a £100m investment programme to expand its Scotch whisky operations north of the border.

The multi-million pound programme is set to boost the group’s malt and grain distilling capacity in Scotland with £80m of spending, with a further £20m being ploughed into new packaging and warehousing facilities.

Diageo, which employs more than 4,000 people in Scotland, operates 27 malt distilleries and two grain distilleries.

It says it will build a new malt distillery in the north of the country, with the preferred location being Roseisle on Speyside, while the Cameronbridge grain distillery in Fife will be expanded.

Planning consents for the Roseisle site are being sought, with construction expected to begin this year. It is hoped the distillery will open in 2009 with the first mature spirit available from 2012.

Packaging and warehousing capacity will also be increased across the country.

Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland, said the investment illustrated the group’s commitment to the region.

“While this is our largest single investment in Scotland for almost 20 years, Diageo has been committing significant sums to [the country] on a continuing basis.

“This investment is essential to underpin our long-term strategy for the development of our business here,” he added.

Article Courtesy of The Publican


The Publican

Feb 10

Drinks giant backs whisky festival

Drinks giant Diageo is to sponsor the ever-popular Spirit of Speyside whisky festival.

The financial backing will enable organisers to expand the bus service which they introduced three years ago to transport people to and from events throughout the area.

Buses will operate to a number of evening events, and a new service will also run from Aviemore and Grantown-on-Spey to Aberlour and Dufftown.

Mike Jappy, general manager of Diageo's Speyside group, said: "We are delighted to be able to support the festival in a manner that clearly demonstrates our commitment to this important initiative.

"The provision of transport is a great idea, and will allow the many thousands of visitors to the area the opportunity to enjoy the festival experience safely."

The festival, which will run from May 3 to 7, attracts whisky lovers from all over the world and boosts the local tourist industry.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Feb 7

W&M stretches talks and Mallya’s patience

The King of good times seems to be getting impatient. UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya has told CNBC-TV18 that if talks to acquire Whyte and Mackay scotch whiskey dont close soon, he may walk away.

UB group chairman Vijay Mallya has given himself 4 to 6 weeks to close the Whyte and Mackay acquisition deal. After that, he says he will start talks with small distilleries to add scotch to UB's portfolio.

"I have walked away from deals earlier and I am prepared to walk out now. I will do a deal in favour of shareholders so that means that I have a price I am willing to pay. I think I also know what Whyte and Mackay owners expect so negotiations are on. But they cannot go on indefinitely and endlessly," says Vijay Mallya, Chairman, United Breweries.

While Mallya admits that Whyte and Mackay, with all its scotch reserves, is a good fit for UB, he says he will not overpay. Mallya got interested in Whyte and Mackay in October last year. Sources say he is willing to offer 400 million pounds for the company. But Whyte and Mackay expects about 600 million pounds.

Whyte & Mackay is the seventh-largest Scotch maker in Scotland with a turnover of USD 283 million. Its other major brands include Isle of Jura, Dalmore and Vladivar vodka.

Article Courtesy of

Feb 6

Summer whisky concert with a dash of ice

Organisers of the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival are adding a dash of ice to this year's event.

The ice at the Moray Leisure Centre rink will be covered over to provide a venue for an evening with Wolfstone, Shooglenifty, Ivan Drever and Duncan Chisholm on May 5.

The Elgin event is one of two major concerts being planned to showcase the best in contemporary Scottish music and celebrate whisky.

A second gig, at the Macdonald Highland Aviemore Resort on May 6, will feature former Runrig singer Donnie Munro and The Lush Rollers.

Licensed bars will be in place at both events, and tickets can be bought online at the website.

Organisers said they were grateful for the advice and help they had received from Speyfest directors. Festival director Ann Miller said they had also received support from Highland 2007, enabling ticket prices to be pegged at £15. The festival - which attracts thousands of people to Speyside for whisky nosings, tours, talks and master classes - runs from May 3-7.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Feb 1

Jameson global ads take fight to Johnnie Walker

Jameson is to embark on its first global ad campaign as it gears up to take on Diageo's Johnnie Walker brand.

The Pernod Ricard-owned Irish whiskey brand is investing several million pounds in the campaign, which has been developed by TBWA\ Ireland and will run in key markets later this year.

Pernod Ricard will use the activity to boost awareness of the brand, which has previously been given little marketing support by the spirits giant.

Three television executions - 'The Drummer', 'The Dancer' and 'The Harpist' - will introduce the line 'More than meets the eye' as the brand's slogan.

The 'Harpist' execution shows a man dressed like a member of a rock band playing the harp, followed by the line 'Beyond the obvious'.

Ongoing marketing activity will focus on Jameson's heritage and the provenance of its ingredients. It will also highlight the drink's versatility and suitability for mixing with ginger beer.

Pernod Ricard's arch-rival Diageo is sponsoring the McLaren Formula One motor racing team through its Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker in a £15m-a-year deal to broaden international awareness.

Jameson also competes internationally with whisky brands including Chivas, Bells, J&B and Teachers.

Article Courtesy of Brand Republic


Brand Republic
January 2007 Scotch Whisky News

Jan 31

Whisky body hails protection proposals

A Committee of MEPs voted yesterday to support proposals that would ensure whisky receives stronger legal protection at European Union level.

The result was welcomed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) which has been campaigning for improvements to EU law defining and protecting spirit drinks.

Yesterday's vote in Brussels approved changes to EU law that will better protect traditional practice within the whisky industry and improve the international protection of "Scotch whisky" as a geographical indication.

Such protection is crucial to whisky's success, allowing the industry to tackle unfair and misleading practices overseas.

The proposals will be considered by the full European Parliament in March.

Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: "Today's vote by MEPs is an important step forward as the industry seeks to ensure the highest level of legal protection for Scotch whisky from unfair practices.

"These proposals to update EU law on the definition and protection of spirit drinks are of major importance to Scottish distillers. We will be working hard in the coming weeks - with ministers, officials and MEPs - to secure agreement in Brussels for their early introduction."

Chancellor Gordon Brown has called for a shake-up in Europe's single market.

He told fellow EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels that national protectionism should not be allowed to curb the continuing drive for the full opening up of Europe's borders.

Mr Brown's call for single-market reforms was set out in a new report published jointly with Trade Secretary Alistair Darling.

It praises the project's achievements in boosting the EU economy by 2.2% - about £150billion - and creating 2.75million jobs, but it also says that the single market must adapt to global markets and become more outward-looking and flexible.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jan 31

Distiller is staying focused on moving up the premier league

Chivas Brothers, whose heritage goes back to the early 19th century, is today owned by Pernod Ricard, the world's second biggest premium alcoholic drink group. The Scottish firm's focus is on growing premium product sales. DAVID TELFER talked to Chivas boss Christian Porta to find out more

Chivas Brothers is now the world's number two whisky company after becoming part of the empire of French drinks giant Pernod Ricard.

It was formed as a business following Pernod's acquisition of the wine and spirit business of Seagram in 2001. It has since integrated Allied Domecq brands acquired in July 2005.

It now has under its wing four of Pernod Ricard's 15 strategic brands, including the premium blend Chivas Regal, single malt The Glenlivet, Ballantine's whisky, and Beefeater London dry gin.

Last week, Pernod Ricard reported sales for the half-year to December 31 up 7.3% on a year earlier at £2.31billion.

It said organic growth in sales in the October-December quarter was an "outstanding" 12.3% and it had revised organic growth expectations for the full year to over 6%.

Chivas Bothers contributed significantly with strong performances by its premium brands.

It revealed that The Glenlivet single malt had for the first time sold more than 500,000 cases in a year, equivalent to 6million bottles.

Paisley-based Chivas said The Glenlivet, distilled on Speyside and bottled at Newbridge near Edinburgh, was now the second most popular Scotch single malt in the world, number one in America, and growing sales fast in Asia-Pacific and key European markets.

Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive at Chivas, hailed the announcement as a historic day for a historic brand.

He said: "We now have our sights firmly set on our long-term vision of achieving the global number one spot in the single malt Scotch category."

Other premium brands to perform strongly were Ballantine's, the number three whisky in the world and 10th-ranked spirit brand.

Chivas Regal, a global brand with sales across all continents, and Beefeater gin, with sales in over 170 countries, added more growth to the Chivas Brothers portfolio.

The strength of the growth in the company's prestige brands was highlighted: Glenlivet 15-year-old (+61%), Ballantine's 21-year-old (+37%), Chivas Regal 18-year-old (+32%), Royal Salute (+16%), and Beefeater (+13%).

Pernod Ricard also pointed to key markets where Chivas Brothers brands were making headway. Ballantine's is particularly popular in Asia, Canada, Spain, Greece, France and most east European countries.

Chivas Regal's top markets include Venezuela, central America, Greece and France, while The Glenlivet enjoys top spot in its category in North America.

The company's portfolio includes other important brands, among them the Aberlour and Longmorn single malts, Clan Campbell blended whisky, and 100 Pipers, the sixth-rankled blended Scotch in the world and number one in Thailand.

Mr Porta says Chivas's priority focus is firmly on its four strategic brands. He said: "Chivas Regal, for example, has increased annual sales by more than 1million cases since we took it over.

"We now want to grow it even faster. The strategy for Ballantine's and Beefeater is the same as for Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet - 'premiumisation'.

"More people are drinking more premium products, and we believe that trend will continue. People work hard and believe they deserve to consume premium products.

"There has been a trend towards luxury and aspirational products for a number of years, and we expect this also to continue. The premium and super-premium segments of the market, for 12-year-old products and above, are growing fastest.

"Another part of our strategy is to open up emerging markets - Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called BRIC countries. We have already done well in China, where Chivas Regal is the number one imported spirit. It also does well in Russia.

"There are difficulties in India with high taxes and duties on imported spirits, but the EU is continuing to discuss this with India and we hope Scotch will benefit from some relaxation in taxes and duties."

Mr Porta said Chivas Brothers did not have a strong offering in the standard whisky market in the UK, where it focused on The Glenlivet, the number four single malt in its home territory, and on Chivas Regal.

He added: "We do not supply whisky for supermarket own brands, and although you will find The Glenlivet in most supermarkets the volumes are not big relative to the standard whisky market."

The Chivas heritage dates back to the beginning of the 19th century, when James Chivas left his home in Strathythan to work in a small grocer's shop in Aberdeen.

By the time he formed Chivas Brothers with his brother John, his skill and reputation in blending whisky had become legendary locally.

Chivas Brothers now employs around 1,800, including 150 in London, in distilling, bottling, warehousing, sales and marketing, and administration.

It operates from 33 sites in Scotland and London, including 12 malt distilleries, one grain distillery in Glasgow and one gin distillery in London.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jan 26

Speyside malt has bottle for global growth

The Glenlivet single malt has just reached the milestone of selling half a million cases in a year, equivalent to 6million bottles.

This was revealed yesterday by owner Chivas Brothers, the whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard.

The 500,000 cases target was set in 2003 when The Glenlivet was selling just 375,000.

Chivas said that The Glenlivet - distilled on Speyside and bottled at Newbridge near Edinburgh - was only the second single malt whisky to ever reach this sales milestone.

The Glenlivet, the second most popular premium malt whisky in the world, is said to be the number one malt brand in America and making significant gains in Asia-Pacific markets such as Taiwan and Japan as well as key European markets.

Christian Porta, Chivas Brothers' chairman and chief executive, said: "This is a historic day for a historic brand.

"We now have our sights firmly set on our long-term vision of achieving the global number one spot in the single malt Scotch category."

The Chivas portfolio also includes Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, Ballantine's and Clan Campbell whiskies and Beefeater gin.

Pernod Ricard yesterday said its sales for the half-year to December 31 were £2.31billion, up 7.3% on a year earlier. It said it had seen outstanding organic growth of 12.4% in the last quarter of the year and had revised its full-year organic growth expectations upwards to in excess of 6%.

The French drink giant said its 15 strategic brands grew by 9% in volume and 14% in value during the period, this included Ballantine's growing 22%, Martell up 17% and Beefeater 13% ahead.

Among prestige brands, sales of The Glenlivet 15-year-old were up 61% on a year earlier, Ballantine's 21-year-old was 37% ahead, and Chivas 18-year-old up 32%.

The company said it confirmed its guidance for the 2006-07 financial year of strong double-digit growth in net profits, excluding any foreign exchange effect.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jan 25

Glenora high on trademark win

Scotch Whisky Association to appeal decision to allow Glen Breton name

Operators of a Cape Breton distillery recently raised their glasses when they heard news of a long-awaited trademark decision in their favour.

"The first thing we did was have a toast to Glen Breton with a wee dram," said Bob Scott, vice-president of Glenora Distillery, referring to the single-malt whisky that it produces.

The Canadian Trade-Marks Opposition Board has ruled that Glenora Distillery can keep using the word Glen on the label of its single-malt whisky, despite objections of the Edinburgh–based Scotch Whisky Association.

"We are really excited about it," Mr. Scott said. "It is a huge first-round win for Glenora Distillery."

However, the company’s high spirits could be short-lived.

The Scotch Whisky Association said Wednesday that it is not dropping the case but plans to appeal the trademark decision to the Federal Court.

"The association disagrees with the decision," association spokesman David Williamson wrote via e-mail Wednesday.

The decision "regrettably goes against well-established international case law and we will be filing an appeal in the near future."

Mr. Scott said he learned from the media Wednesday of the association’s decision to appeal.

"It is something that we expected," he said. "We were hoping that they may not actually appeal it and (would) meet with us and have a chat, shake hands and say congratulations."

The distillery, based in Glenville, Inverness County, launched Glen Breton Rare, an award-winning, single-malt whisky in 2000.

In 2001, the association filed a trademark complaint against the Cape Breton company, saying the word Glen misleads consumers into believing the spirit is Scotch, a designation that can only be used by whiskies made in Scotland.

Lengthy trademark dispute proceedings wrapped up in December, with the board delivering its decision Jan. 10. The trademark board, a division of Industry Canada, rejected the association’s objections, saying evidence did not support their claim.

"The essence of the opponent’s argument is that Canadian users and purchasers of whisky have been educated to associate the word Glen solely with scotch whisky," the decision states. "However, the opponent’s evidence does not support that argument."

The decision also indicates that if the association "truly believed that the word Glen merits special protection for producers of scotch whisky, it should have long ago taken steps to protect that word as a geographical indication of Scottish origin, much as it did for the words ‘scotch whisky.’ "

The trademark fight has been a costly for the distillery, but Mr. Scott said it would cause greater hardship to change the name of its prize-winning whisky midstream.

"We feel we have a right to use the name. We are in a glen. We are in Glenville, Cape Breton. We are near Glenora Falls. The distillery’s name is Glenora. There are many names of towns and places on Cape Breton Island that use the name Glen.

"If Glen Breton is suggestive to our customers that our single-malt whiskies are distilled with the waters of a glen stream of the Highlands of Cape Breton Island, that they truly are," he said.

Premier Rodney MacDonald congratulated Glenora on the trademark win and said he likes Glen Breton.

"They say its uisge beatha — the ‘water of life’ in Gaelic," he said prior to a cabinet meeting. "They are part of my riding and I think they’re a good employer and they have a great product."

The distillery will continue with its usual advertising, Mr. Scott said.

The association has two months to file an appeal with the federal court, according the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, also a division of Industry Canada..

Article Courtesy of Chronicle Herald Canada


Chronicle Herald Canada

Jan 23

Dawn breaks and the treasure hunters emerge with their haul

As dawn broke over the steeply shelving shingle banks of Branscombe beach in South Devon yesterday, a motley procession of figures emerged from the gloom, struggling with heavy loads.

One was bowed under a complete stainless steel car exhaust system, another clutched a brand new headlight housing for a BMW. A man struggled with two large bin bags of disposable nappies, while others dragged sacks of shoes and perfume. A tractor laden with car gearboxes, two large oak barrels and a silver BMW motorcycle made its way up the beach. Not since Whisky Galore has there been such a scramble for salvage. The procession continued through the day as though carried by a column of ants.

The great Devon takeaway began when 105 containers were washed off a stricken cargo ship run aground on a shingle bank a mile offshore. About 40 washed ashore at Branscombe, where they broke open in the waves and deposited their contents on the beach.

The MSC Napoli’s cargo would put a hypermarket to shame. The containers, loaded in Antwerp and destined for ports around the world, contained motorcycles, cars, tractors, veterinary supplies, toys, Polish bibles, televisions, cosmetics, thousands of children’s plastic bowls and clothing. Debris littered the shore as far as the eye could see.

During the night about 200 people ignored appeals by the police to stay away, and helped themselves. Craig Marsh, 23, Tom Stapley, 21 and Hector Bird, 33, had arrived at 10pm to watch the salvage operation and ended up going home with a new BMW K1200GT motorcycle worth £12,000.

The bike was one of about 50 liberated from one of the containers by locals with bolt cutters. The machines had been packed in their cardboard shipping crates along with keys, papers and sufficient fuel to get them off the beach, though not without a struggle. More of the ship’s cargo, rolls of cloth, were laid on the shingle to help them to get a grip.

Mr Marsh, a website designer, Mr Stapley, a Royal Marine, and Mr Bird, a gardener, had one small problem that prevented them from following the procession of shiny new bikes up the hill from the beach. While their backs were turned, someone had stolen the front wheel.

Mr Marsh said: “We just came down to do a bit of sightseeing, not looking for salvage. We have a friend coming down with a van then we will do it up and decide what to do with it.” The handful of police officers patrolling the beach made no attempt to stop people removing goods as long as they had filled out a form giving their details and those of their loot for the official Receiver of Wreck, Sophia Exelby.

Miss Exelby said: “All of the items remain the property of the owners. If people have already taken things they need to fill out a form. It is a legal obligation. If they do not fill out a form and just remove goods it is theft, pure and simple.”

Legal complications did not worry builder Gareth Topping, 32, from Sidmouth, who helped himself to a R1200RT BMW motorcycle worth £9,095. He said: “I saw about 30 BMW bikes all boxed up in pretty good nick. Police gave us the go-ahead and we just started to search through things. There must have been 300 people down here doing the same.

“I did fill out a form and was told if the shipping firm doesn’t try to get it back within a year it is mine.”

Eight men stood around a pallet laden with 12 new BMW gearboxes worth at least £1,800 each. Each had taken two men to carry a few yards up the beach, but the car park was still half a mile away. They eventually decided to call on a fisherman to collect them in his boat.

Besides commercial goods there were crates of personal possessions. One had the names “Anita and Jan Bokdal, Cape Town” written in marker pen on the side. Inside, a scavenger burrowed through the Bokdals’ belongings, passing out waterlogged clothes and brass ornaments.

Michael Wheeler, who was lining them up on top of the container, said: “We’ll take anything that’s worth money. There was a good quality tea set but unfortunately a couple of the cups got broken. I don’t feel bad. It’s only going back in the sea if we don’t take it.”

Last night, the Bokdals, contacted in Cape Town by The Times, said they had been shipping goods worth €200,000 (£130,000) there from Sweden, including family heirlooms and sports equipment.

“It’s very, very sad,” Mr Bokdal said. “We didn’t have that much insurance. We’ve lost paintings, carpets, a smoking table which belonged to my mother. We had bought lots of new sports equipment and clothes, some of which we were going to give to the poor here in Cape Town. My wife and I fill boxes and go door to door.”

Back at Branscombe beach, security guards hired by the insurers were on their way to prevent any more items being taken. The greatest free-for-all since the glory days of Devon’s 18th-century wreckers was coming to an end.

The law on salvage

People who salvage goods from a wreck have common law right to a reward in return for their booty, unlike those who loot an overturned lorry on the highway

Under maritime law, they are regarded as removing the wrecked goods for protection and safekeeping and are rewarded for that

An individual who finds goods must make a report to the Receiver of Wreck within 28 days

Under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 it is not a crime to recover jetsam (items washed up by the sea) but it is illegal to fail to declare it or refuse to surrender it when asked

Anyone who does not return the goods after being asked to do so can be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500

Andrew Nicholas, a partner and maritime transport expert at Clyde & Co, a shipping law firm, said that the law dated back hundreds of years. Mr Nicholas, whose firm represents the cargo insurers in the Napoli case, said that the insurers would often put up a guarantee to pay any salvage award

While individuals have a claim at common law, the big salvage operators often have their claims determined in what is called a Lloyd’s Open Form arbitration

This provides for a scheme to assess the appropriate reward: the amount is determined by such factors as the time, difficulty and risks involved in salvaging the goods and their worth.

Article Courtesy of The Times


The Times

Jan 21

Web-wise passengers get whisky bargain

Travellers are using the net to score duty-free bargains. But is it too good to last? Greg Ninness reports.

International travellers using any New Zealand airport can save 20% on the cost of duty-free purchases by ordering online, but there is concern airports will clamp down on this threat to their traditional retail rents.

The discounts are offered by Wellington-based Duty Free Stores NZ, which operates duty-free retail outlets at Wellington, Hamilton, Dunedin and Queenstown airports, as well as Gold Coast and Adelaide airports.

The company is also bringing competition to Auckland and Christchurch airports' duty-free sales, by providing "collection windows" for passengers ordering goods online or via the company's 0800 number.

To qualify for the discount, customers must join the company's Frequent Buyer Club. This is free and has no minimum purchase requirements.

In-store prices are broadly comparable with competitors Regency Duty Free and DFS Galleria, the only duty-free stores at the country's biggest airport, Auckland,

But the Frequent Buyer Club discount undercuts the two main rivals on most products, including alcohol, tobacco and fragrances, by 20%. The discount on electrical and photographic goods is 5%.

Spirits can be bought for less than half their normal retail price.

A 1-litre bottle of Teachers Scotch was available last week from Liquor King for $46.99. The same product from both the Regency Duty Free and Duty Free Stores NZ websites cost $26.90 a bottle.

But customers who joined Duty Free NZ's Frequent Buyer Club could order it for $21.52.

Duty Free Stores NZ marketing operations manager Grant Archibald said he was surprised most travellers preferred to pay more by buying retail rather than online.

Online sales accounted for only about 10% of the company's total trade but were also providing most of its growth, he said.

"More and more travel and accommodation is being booked over the internet and we see the next extension of that will be people organising their duty free at the same time."

He said the company could offer the discount on internet and telephone sales because they bypassed the high rents airports charged for traditional retail space.

"Rents for the duty-free industry are done on a percentage-of-sales basis and rents at somewhere like Auckland or Sydney airports would be somewhere around 30% to 40% of the retail price, which goes directly to the airport," Archibald said.

He estimated about $200 million worth of duty free goods was sold at Auckland airport each year.

The space his company rented for its pick-up facilities at Auckland airport was at a much lower rent because it was not a retail showroom.

"Our biggest fear is that airports could act in an anti-competitive manner," he said.

"They have a significant interest in making sure people buy through the airport shops because of the amount of rent they earn from them.

"So our main fear is that they could do something to try to slow our business, such as substantially increasing the rent we have to pay.

"They have 100% control of it, so if they wanted to act in an aggressive manner to stifle competition, they could do it."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Jan 20

A wee dram on a Scottish whisky trail

Gerard Baker toasts Burns night as he taskes a tumbler or three of the finest Scotch

IT’S Burns Night next week and across hill and glen the frosty air will echo to the haunting tones of the pipes, the contented burr of whisky-fuelled banter and that exaggerated guttural noise that people feel forced to make when they recite anything by the eponymous bard.

January 25 may have been eagerly adopted by many a far-flung Sassenach in search of some midwinter revelry. But let’s be honest, most of its essential components are still monuments to Scottish exceptionalism. The haggis, the neeps, the tatties, the pipes and, dare I say it, perhaps even the literary charms of the poet himself don’t really travel all that well.

But if there’s one thing the world can agree on it’s that liquid accompaniment to the indescribable haggis, “uisge beatha” — water of life — the beverage that Burns himself called, with surprising, but perhaps reverential, understatement, that “auld Scotch drink”.

Scotch whisky is one of the great success stories of modern times. North Sea oil may be running out and Sean Connery may be getting old, but Scotch is pushing farther into every corner of the globe.

If, like me, you’re an admirer but a relative novice, there’s no better way to get a quick education than to take a tour of one or more of the distilleries. These are not just fascinating factories in themselves, but are found in the most beautiful parts of Scotland.

Scotch was an illicit drink until almost 200 years ago, slapped with heavy excise duties by the hated English rulers. Canny Scots then built their distilleries in remote valleys, far from government inspectors, in almost impossibly scenic spots.

Places such as Caol Ila. Nestled on Islay, across from the lonely island of Jura, the distillery was so remote it would have taken days for the king’s excise men to find it.

At each distillery you get not just a tour of the various tools of the whisky-making trade — the washes and stills and cavernous bonded warehouses — but a quick instruction in nosing, tasting and understanding the various malts. If you’re lucky they’ll let you have a sniff or more of some of the most celebrated vintages — 12, 15, 18 and even 30-year-old malts, lovingly and patiently matured on site.

Islay whiskies — other producers include Laphroaig and Lagavulin — are famously peaty. At Laphroaig you can taste the green barley as it is smoked over the peat fires, then get the same scent from a glass with liquid that’s been around ten years or more.

In the Highlands, the scenery and the manner of whisky-making are different. Remote, again, from government interference, they use less peat in the malting and make a cleaner, slightly fruitier drink. Real Scotch enthusiasts say they can detect at least 20 different aromas in the nose — I reckon I got to about three.

At Aberfeldy, the home of Dewar’s, they mostly blend whiskies. But they have also created something else — Dewar’s World of Whisky. Still, you can forgive the people who brought you this theme park, because the place itself is so unutterably lovely — all rushing streams and tumbling hills and freshly wet fields and walls.

Up on Speyside, the scenery changes again. Close to the North Sea, the terrain is bleaker. Here, Glenlivet advertises itself as the original Scotch. Not far from Culloden. where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s forces had been routed just 70 years earlier, a young crofter, George Smith, set up a still on a favourable hillside in the early 19th century and was granted the first official licence by the English king’s surrogate. The rest, as they say, is history.

You wander if you want through so many more distilleries — there’s Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, and Glen Grant; and Glenn Close and Glen Campbell for all I know. But perhaps the loveliest of the lot is on the captivating Isle of Orkney. A short ferry ride from John O’Groats is the Highland Park distillery in the old city of Kirkwall. There the softly curved accents of the Orcadians are matched by the rounded finish of the local Scotch. If you head to the Foveran Hotel, you can enjoy it with some of the best seafood you will taste anywhere in the British Isles.

As the modern global economy demands, most of the distilleries are now part of multinational consumer goods groups, with such unScottish names as Diageo, MoetHennessy, and Pernod-Ricard. Some Scots fret about this. But I think they should relax.

Burns himself would surely recognise the success it represents and coin some brilliant couplet in tribute to the vast and lengthening global reach of his people’s favourite drink.

Article Courtesy of The Times


The Times

Jan 18

Andrew gets into Singapore spirit

Scots are coming out of the woodwork in Singapore, it seems.

Brothers Austin and Clark Martin have opened the Highlander bar there (Diary, January 17) and one of their suppliers is another former Aberdeen resident, Andrew Skene.

His company is called Spirit of Scotland and, yes, he imports and distributes malt whiskies, Scottish beer and smoked salmon.

Andrew laid on the beer for a two-night Touch of Tartan extravaganza on Clarke Quay he organised in conjunction with the Highlander bar for St Andrew's Day.

About 6,000 people in all enjoyed the fun, which included music by Scots tribal band Clann An Drumma and the Gurkha Pipe Band who are attached to the Singapore police force.

Andrew said: "Scottish connections in Singapore are very strong, going back to colonial days.

"We have St Andrew's Cathedral, designed by Colonel Ronald Macpherson, and Victoria Memorial Hall, designed by Major Alex Murray.

"Then there's Fullerton Building, MacRitchie Reservoir, MacDonald House, Dalhousie Obelisk and Campbell Lane.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jan 15

Burns birthday blunder spells embarrassment for distiller

Red-faced distillery bosses have been forced to withdraw promotional Burns Night mementos after it was discovered they misspelled the bard's name.

Speyside-based Glenfiddich commissioned special hip flasks for customers ahead of the birthday of Robert Burns next week.

A line from the bard's poem Scotch Drink was inscribed on the souvenir, but an embarrassing blunder underneath has forced the whisky giant to recall some of the promotional items.

Instead of attributing the poem to Robert or Rabbie Burns, the bard's name reads "Rdbert Bums".
A spokesman for William Grant & Sons said yesterday the gaffe had affected only a small number of the flasks, which would be replaced.

It had been intended that customers who ordered four drams of the Speyside malt would receive the gift in the run-up to Burns Night on January 25.

Instead, drinkers who participated were given a giggle on closer inspection of their newly acquired souvenir.
The Burns verse engraved on the flasks correctly read "O thou, my Muse! Guid auld Scotch drink".

The distillery spokesman yesterday described the spelling error as an unfortunate mistake.
He said: "We apologise to anyone who got one of these.

"We are talking in terms of a few dozen hip flasks that were affected and they have been replaced."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal


Press & Journal

Jan 14

Whyte & Mackay deal close

UNITED SPIRITS, part of Vijay Mallya’s Bangalore-based United Breweries Group, is poised to wrap up a £500m takeover of the distillers Whyte & Mackay.

Advisers from the two companies are due to meet tomorrow to thrash out the details of the transaction, with Citigroup advising Whyte & Mackay and UBS advising United Spirits.

Staff at the Glasgow-based spirits group — whose brands include Whyte & Mackay blended Scotch whisky, Dalmore single malt whisky and Vladivar vodka — have been told to expect a new owner by the end of the month.

It is understood Mallya, whose company already has a strategic alliance with the Edinburgh-based Scottish & Newcastle — will retain the services of the W&M group managing director, Bob Brannan.

In November Mallya’s £475m offer for Whyte & Mackay was rejected as too low by South African-born Vivien Imerman and his brother-in-law Robert Tchenguiz, who have co-owned Whyte & Mackay since 2005.

A £500m price tag would represent a handsome return for the two men.

Article Courtesy of The Times


The Times

Jan 11

Danish micro brewery wants to produce whisky

The micro brewery Braunstein based in Køge south of Copenhagen is going to produce spirits. The whisky is expected to be ready in three years but the chances are that a Danish beer-liqueur will be ready already this spring.

In the spring it will be possible to enjoy micro alcohol when the first liqueur from the micro brewery Braunstein is marketed, writes Landbrugsrådets - The Danish Agricultural Council's - weekly magazine FoodCulture.

Just like beer, alcohol comes from the same basis of malt, water and yeast. In principle, beer becomes spirits when the water is removed. This means that in practice every micro brewery has 70 per cent of the kettles and other facilities needed in a micro distillery. The two brothers Claus and Michael Braunstein Poulsen are founders of the brewery and they are now going to complement the brewery equipment with still equipment.

- We will be launching a beer-liqueur in the spring of 2007 and an aquavit later in the year; the whisky, however, will not be ready from the oak cask until 3 years from now. We are not in a hurry and want to make the whisky at a slow pace that allows time to nurse the taste and secure a high quality of workmanship.

The innovative brewery expects that the production of beer-liqueur and aquavit will yield a profit already from next year. The brewery rides on a wave of the consumers’ increased willingness to invest in quality products and it believes that micro distilleries will become the next trend in Denmark as they are now in the USA and in Germany.

Article Courtesy of Copenhagen Capacity


Copenhagen Capacity

Jan 08

Victoria whisky festival offers tastings, haggis tarts

Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky, the ‘Genuine Maritime Malt’ will be The second annual Victoria Whisky Festival will offer tastings and "master classes" led by industry experts, organizers say.

The event, to be held Jan. 26-27 at the Hotel Grand Pacific, opens with a tasting led by Richard Paterson, master blender for Scottish whisky merchants Whyte & Mackay Ltd.

Another tasting will offer samples of 90 whiskies -- including products from Canada, Scotland, Ireland and the U.S. -- along with hors d'oeuvres such as haggis tarts.

A master class focusing on the Bruichladdich distillery, located on Scotland's Isle of Islay, will consider "the influence of different barley styles and of different peating levels."

Visitors can also get educated about the single malt whiskies of the Macallan and Highland Park distilleries.

As well, there will be a five-course dinner in which the single malts from the Aberlour Distillery in Speyside, Scotland, will be used in the preparation of each course.

For ticket details and other information, visit
Article Courtesy of The Vancouver Sun


The Vancouver Sun

Jan 05

Diageo brands in ICC World Cup tie

Whisky maker Glenfiddich is running a direct mail campaign for its limited edition Toasted Oak Reserve range, through direct marketing agency Presky Maves.

The campaign targets existing consumers on the Glenfiddich database about Toasted Oak Reserve, which is a blend of caramel toffee or spicy vanilla whisky.

The selected whisky drinkers will receive a single malt scotch whisky which has aged for 12 years in charred barrels, and a letter from malt master David Stewart asking for feedback on the product.

Respondents will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a Glenfiddich range of whiskies.

Peter Worster, planning director at Presky Maves, said: "We wanted our CRM base to be the first to know about this new release from Glenfiddich, and to remind them of the range of whiskies [it] has.

"By asking for their feedback we can gain clearer insights into how this core audience feel about Glenfiddich Toasted Oak Reserve."

Glenfiddich announced this week that design agency Decoder had produced its Christmas gift pack set.

Both the festive gift set and the mailing campaign are part of Glenfiddich's 'One Spirit, Different Whiskies' campaign.

Article Courtesy of Brand Republic


Brand Republic

Jan 03

Old Pulteney ‘Excels’ at the London Boat Show

Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky, the ‘Genuine Maritime Malt’ will be making waves at this year’s London Boat show with their support of Classic Boat’s incredible restoration feature (North Hall eastern end: stand no. N622).

Old Pulteney has been Classic Boat Magazine’s official drinks sponsor for four years, providing prizes for their ‘letter of the month’ feature and is delighted to be able to support their traditional boating stand for the first time. Attracting an incredible 140,000 visitors the London Boat Show is one of the UK’s most prestigious maritime events and with its unique offering the Classic Boat and Old Pulteney stand will be one of the show’s biggest draws. Whilst admiring the restoration of four impressive boats at the stand thousands of maritime enthusiasts will have the chance to taste a complimentary Old Pulteney dram and enjoy its ‘tangy, dry and with a mineral-salted spiciness that evokes the rugged, windswept character of the far North’. The Genuine Maritime Malt will also be available for purchase. The feature incorporates many aspects of traditional design and boating and will offer visitors the chance to meet and speak with experts in sail making, ropework, caulking, tools, and finishes – as well as discuss the finer points of whisky!

A single malt with an incredible maritime heritage, Old Pulteney is distilled in the most northerly on the UK mainland, situated in the Highland coastal town of Wick which during the ‘herring boom’ of the 19th century was the busiest fishing port in Europe.

Old Pulteney has supported as well as established a number of boating and coastal related events over the last few years and has recently announced its activity for 2007 when it will be sponsoring some of the UK’s most prestigious sailing events.

2007 Sponsorships
• Old Pulteney IRC Scottish Championships - 9/10th June
• JP Morgan Round the Island Race - 23rd June
• Henri-Lloyd Falmouth Week – 11th-18th August
• Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta – 30th August – 1st September

For further information, please contact Victoria Calder of Burt Greener Communications on 0141 248 6007 / 0779 101 8484. e:

Article Courtesy of Old Pulteney


Old Pulteney

Jan 02

Speyside Whisky Festival launches chefs competition

Local produce matched to whiskies

Eating plenty during a whisky festival is undoubtedly sound advice and a new contest invites chefs to match dishes to Speyside whiskies.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which runs from May 3 to 7, 2007 has launched a competition, with categories for professional and amateur chefs. Entrants must create a three-course menu using ingredients from the Speyside area, matching each dish with one of Speyside’s famous malt whiskies.

The choice of Speyside produce includes - among many other specialities - Haggis, Moray Firth fish and seafood, Aberdeen Angus beef, and venison.

Professional chefs short listed will attend a cook-off on February 22 where three finalists will be selected. Their dishes will then compete at a VIP lunch in London to coincide with Whisky Live! when the Spirit of Speyside Chef of the Year will be decided. The winning entry will be served to 300 guests on May 3 to launch the Spirit of Speyside Festival.

The amateur chefs short-listed will also compete in a cook-off on March 22, when the winner of the amateur category will be announced. The first two courses of their winning menu will be served at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards Lunch.

Entry forms and further information can be downloaded from or by emailing All entries must be received by Monday January 22.

Article Courtesy of The Publican


The Publican

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