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December 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Dec 28
2006

Niche whisky firms feel nip in air
With roughly one-third of all whisky purchases falling in the final two months of the year, the Christmas holiday season is crucial to the industry.
While the sector's behemoths keep a close and concerned eye on their respective tallies, pressure is all the more intense among the growing band of niche players in Scotch whisky, where cash for marketing budgets is generally in short supply.
Douglas Davidson, managing director of the Isle of Arran distillery, has been on the road nearly non-stop since the beginning of September. His director of sales, Euan Mitchell, and sales manager Jaclyn Kelly have also spent much of their time abroad for the last three months or so.
"As a small, fast-growing company that has to be financed on very little money, we have to do a lot of tastings," Davidson said. "Without a lot of money, what we have to give is a lot of our time, and we do that in markets all over the world."
Arran's only distillery began production at Lochranza in 1995, four years after its founders raised £1.2m from some 2500 individuals who paid £450 each for 10 cases of the distillery's eventual output. Separately, the operation's 90-odd shareholders – including a number of well-heeled individuals – have provided substantial additional capital.
Even so, it remains a tightly-run ship, and Davidson says Isle of Arran will be looking to raise up to £2m of funding in the coming year to support further growth and boost marketing efforts abroad. While the company made a loss of some £114,000 in 2005, Davidson says it is now running at a profit, although whether that will be the case for the whole of 2006 depends on seasonal sales.
"You tell me how the end of the year is going to go," he quipped.
In this sense, Isle of Arran is by no means unique. The cost of kitting out a new distillery, getting it into operation and then letting the stock mature for years before it can be sold puts whisky ventures at the bottom of any short-term investor's hit list.
Smaller and newer ventures than Isle of Arran have come up with a variety of creative ways to address this problem. Blackwood Distillers in Shetland has pre-sold some of its single malt, the first of which will not be available until 2010, but augments its coffers with some £3m in annual sales of vodka, gin and similar spirits that do not require maturation.
In Perthshire, the consortium that bought Tullibardine out of mothballs in 2003 has built a retail and tourism complex around its distillery along the busy A9. Meanwhile, the Ladybank Company in Fife, which only began construction of its distillery earlier this year, continues its application drive for what has been labelled as the first ever members-only distillery club.
Apart from Ladybank, these and scores of other niche players in Scotch whisky face the daunting prospect of getting name recognition in a market where some 2500 malts and blended brands are sold around the world. A quick check of one popular internet site throws up more than 100 malts for sale, most of which come in several "expressions" – different ages and finishes.
The challenge for the tadpoles is to find a foothold in a market where global distribution is dominated by the likes of Diageo and Pernod Ricard.
Whisky advocates say that as ownership has consolidated, opportunities have been thrown up for those who can provide a more personal touch.
"The important thing is that this is an industry selling into 200 markets, so you can find a niche out there," said David Williamson, public affairs manager of the Scotch Whisky Association.
John Glaser left his job as a marketing manager for Diageo to set up specialist independent whisky bottling company Compass Box in 2000. He believes the industry has turned a corner, with a new wave of entrepreneurialism washing through the tradition-drenched sector.
"I think the trend will continue," said Glaser, whose business will sell a mere 100,000 bottles of its hand-crafted malts and blends this year. "You will see more distilleries opening, and more niche players entering.
"It's a risky business, but it's also a viable business," he adds, noting that rising global wealth and increasing awareness of unique and one-off bottlings will continue to drive the sector.
Although still dwarfed by sales of bottled blends, single malt exports notched up double-digit percentage rises in both 2003 and 2004. This eased off to a rise of 8% last year, with values reaching £381m, but the upward trend looks set to continue in 2006.
As a result, many niche distillers are reserving most or all of their production for sale as single malts, rather than for use in blended brands.
At Benromach in Speyside, all but a small single-digit percentage of the distillery's 150,000 litres of annual production is bottled as single malt.
Purchased in 1993 by independent whisky bottling specialist Gordon & MacPhail, the distillery, which had been closed for 10 years, underwent a further five years of refurbishment before it resumed production in 1998.
Ian Chapman, marketing controller at Gordon & MacPhail, said the company spent a "very significant" sum returning Benromach to production. After nearly 100 years as successful independent bottlers, the purchase fulfilled an ambition of the late George Urquhart and his successors to control a source of single malt whisky.
"We were very keen to produce the amount of spirit that we could sell as a single malt," Chapman said. "All the statistics have demonstrated over the last few years that the single malt category is growing."
Alan Gray, whisky analyst at Sutherlands in Edinburgh, says the emergence of smaller operators has rejuvenated interest in the sector as a whole.
Although the quoted Scotch sector has dwindled from a dozen pure whisky concerns some 30 years ago to just a couple of mega-drinks companies today, Gray says there are opportunities for newcomers.
"The niche players fill a very valuable role," he said. "They are adding significantly to the enjoyment, the knowledge and the excitement around single malts.
"It is a very healthy situation because this sector is growing. There is enormous potential – single malts have a long way to go."
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Dec 28
2006

New interest stirred in whisky museum plans
A Compulsive collector of all things associated with whisky is making a renewed attempt to generate interest in setting up a museum dedicated to Scotland's national drink.
Former distillery worker John Mackintosh believes the absence of a whisky museum is a glaring omission in Moray, the heartland of the industry.
He first mooted the idea a year ago but his appeal for like-minded people to get in touch received little response.
Now retired, he hopes to devote more time to realising his dream of helping to establish a museum to the water of life.
Virtually every square inch of space in Mr Mackintosh's home in Elgin is taken up with bottles of whisky, whisky flagons, water jugs, whisky glasses, miniatures, whisky barrels and other whisky memorabilia.
Mr Mackintosh, 60, who retired in April after 28 years as a distillery worker, would like to see his collection - or at least part of it - form the basis for a whisky museum.
He bemoans the fact that, although many of Moray's distilleries have their own visitor and exhibition centres, there is no whisky museum as such as in the area.
"We are at the heart of the whisky industry and thousands of visitors come here from all over the world every year because of their interest in whisky," said Mr Mackintosh, whose collection contains about 500 bottles of whisky, some of them extremely rare and valuable.
Despite his enthusiasm, he recognises that setting up a museum would prove too onerous an undertaking for just one person.
He would like other whisky disciples - of which there are many - to join him in lobbying influential individuals and organisations to progress the idea.
Mr Mackintosh is convinced that a whisky museum would provide the area with a huge tourist attraction.
"It would be a great thing for the tourist industry," he said.
"I would love people to see my collection and I know there are other collectors who would like to be able to show off the items they have collected.
"As things stand we have no way of letting the public see these collections, which a lot of people would find fascinating."
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 26
2006

Dram fine record for employee
A Worker who has never had a day off sick in his 46 year career has retired.
Murdo Reed, 62, worked in the scotch whisky industry and puts his impressive work record down to an active teenage life, a wee dram most nights, and sheer good luck.
Aged 16 he took a job as a clerk with Teachers' Ardmore Distillery at Kennethmont in Aberdeenshire, and gradually worked his way up to assistant manager.
After working in Islay, Tormore and Tain, his final move was to Invergordon Distillery, in 1996, where he became spirit-handling manager.
Mr Reed, of Stagcroft Park, Tain, said: "I've been extremely lucky with my health. My wife keeps telling me it must be a record.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 23
2006

Whisky firm toasts profit jump
Malt whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail has seen its annual profits more than double.
The Elgin-based firm, whose operations include Benromach Distillery at Forres, had pre-tax profits of £1.48million in the year to the end of February compared with £655,000 for the previous 12 months.
Accounts released by Companies House yesterday also showed turnover rose by more than £1.3million to £16.6million. Gordon and MacPhail said the figures reflected a satisfactory increase in sales, especially in export markets where there was a 20% rise during the year.
The company said the results had been flattered by profits from bulk whisky stock disposals following a review of its inventories. It also said trading in the current financial year had been buoyant, despite a static UK market, problems in Russia with the introduction of new tax marks and the weakness of the US dollar.
Earlier this year, the company launched Benromach Organic, the first organic single malt whisky accredited by the Soil Association.
Michael Urquhart, a director at the family-owned business, said yesterday that sales of this product had gone incredibly well and the first year's limited release had virtually sold out.
Gordon and MacPhail has a shop in Elgin's South Street, while its other interests include a wine merchant.
The latest accounts show that it employed an average of 119 people during the financial year. The highest-paid director received emoluments and pension contributions of £185,000 - up nearly £22,000 on the previous 12 months.
Gordon and MacPhail said its management structure had been strengthened with the appointment of four associate directors - two of them from the Urquhart family.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 21
2006

Whisky is the toast of Scottish exports
The importance of Scotland's whisky industry to the nation's economy was writ large in export figures released yesterday.
Food and drink remains Scotland's most successful export sector, accounting for £3.6bn of the £18.6bn of total exports during 2005, excluding oil and gas. Spirits alone accounted for £3bn.
Total exports rose by £900m on the previous year, driven by increases in both manufacturing and service sectors. The US remains the most lucrative single country destination for Scottish products, accounting for £2.1bn of the market.
This compares with £9.1bn for European Union countries.
The figures emerged in the Global Connections Survey 2006, conducted for the Scottish Executive. Manufacturing remains dominant, accounting for £13bn of exports last year.
Scottish Enterprise Minister Nicol Stephen described the figures as encouraging, adding: "In a fast-changing world nothing can be taken for granted – and the strong showing by, for example, our food and drink industries proves that quality should always find an international market."
China makes the top 20 destinations for the first time, at number 13. Other major export sectors were chemicals (£1.8bn), office machinery (£1.7bn), business services (£1.6bn), and radio, television and communication equipment (£1.3bn).
A separate study, Measuring Progress Towards a Smart, Successful Scotland, published by the executive, reported that Scotland is making progress in raising economic output per head and the proportion of working-age people in employment. It finds that Scotland performs well against international and UK benchmarks across most of 40 economic criteria.
However, Stephen highlighted the need for an improved business start-up rate.
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Dec 20
2006

Attractions to relish at whisky event
Mouth-watering new food and drink events are lined up for the 2007 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
Scheduled for May 3 to 7, one of the highlights will be the new competition Chef of the Year.
And for the first time visitors can help pick the winners of the third Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards at judging sessions throughout the North-east.
The festival ends with a special awards lunch where guests can toast the competition winners.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 18
2006

Blend beats malt in whisky test
In what may come as a shock to whisky connoisseurs, experts have declared a blend to be superior to single malts in a taste test.
Old Parr Superior 18 Years is the first blend to have been voted top whisky by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, widely regarded as the pre-eminent guide to whisky.
Indeed, the author said that this was not the only decent blend available, but bemoaned the fact that many of these fine blends were made for export and hard to get hold of in Britain.
"To be honest, British drinkers just don't have a good enough choice when it comes to blended Scotch," said Mr Murray according to the Scotsman.
"We are going through a golden age for blends right now but, for the majority of drinkers here, you'd never know it.
"The truly classic blends…are export brands and you have to travel a long way to savour them."
He called for retailers and marketers to be "bit braver" and push blended malts as rivals to single malts, which are generally regarded as superior in flavour and texture.
With Old Parr Superior available for less than £20 a bottle, Mr Murray praised the nose, taste and balance of the tipple, particularly on such a low-cost brand.
Article Courtesy of Brands for Pubs and Bars
Brands for Pubs and Bars

Dec 15
2006

Ramsey Whisky Company heads to the US
Lombard Scotch Whisky is headquartered in Ramsey, but does all of its bottling and distilling of single malt whisky in Scotland.
The firm secured the worldwide wine and spirit patent rights to Pebble Beach and have now linked up with the famous US golf course to promote a new branded 12 year old Speyside single malt whisky.
Richard Lombard-Chibnall, managing director of Lombard Scotch Whisky, travelled to Pebble Beach recently to launch the product, he says a link with such a famous name will help them penetrate the US market.
He said: 'We wanted to come up with some names that were associated with Scotland and pebble beaches are. We had patent attorneys check the name out and we took a worldwide patent on the name. This initiated contact with the Pebble Beach Company. The two greatest things to come out of Scotland are golf and single malts, so we thought it was a huge opportunity to put together a premium package.
He added: 'It has brought us recognition in the American market, which we didn't have previously. it is the biggest single malt market in the world.'
Pebble Beach is due to host the U.S Open Championship in 2010, which should boost the whisky's profile further.
Not surprisingly, the business has expansion plans.
Mr Lombard-Chibnall currently employs five people in his Ramsey office, but this could increase, if his whisky takes off in the USA.
Pebble Beach, on the Monterey Peninsular, California, gained notoriety during the Roaring Twenties, when it was frequented by film stars and US Presidents. The picturesque par 3 7th hole is the signature hole and is featured on the whisky bottle.
Lombard is a family owned company that has been based in Ramsey for the past 36 years. The Lombard family, has a history in the drinks business stretching back almost 300 years. Aside from Scotch Whisky, the family have had ownership of vineyards in France, cork factories in Portugal and breweries in England.
The brewery business initiated the family involvement with whisky, when brewers bottled Whisky in addition to producing Beer.
Article Courtesy of Isle of Man Today
Isle of Man Today

Dec 15
2006

'Water of life' auction attracts nationwide bids
More than 300 lots of whisky and related collectibles went under the hammer at Inverurie's annual pre-Christmas "water of life" auction.
The Thainstone Specialist Auctions sale saw more than 200 bidders take part in the annual event, with online bidders from throughout the country joining in through the auction centre's eBid@liveauction system.
Top price on the day was £300, realised by three separate lots of a boxed Laphraoig vintage 1976 single Islay malt, a Bowmore Islay malt in original box with certificate, and a Bowmore 200th anniversary 1779-1979 bottle.
Also selling well were a set of five Chivas Regal Salute ceramic decanters that fetched £260, and a bottle of Macallan Special Private Eye 1961 that went for £250. A large selection of bottles realised between £100 and £200 while a collection of 50 miniatures sold for £75.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 12
2006

Diageo adds Chinese liquor to drinks stable
Diageo, the world's top alcoholic drinks group, is to buy 43 percent of a Chinese liquor maker to tap a growing market and offer China's tipple to the world.
Through the acquisition, the maker of Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness stout enters the market for baijiu -- a grain and sorghum-based alcohol whose name means "white liquor" -- putting the firm's international marketing muscle behind China's popular Swellfun brand.
Diageo has signed an agreement with Chengdu Yingsheng Investment Holding to buy 43 percent of Sichuan Quanxing Group, the company's Shanghai-listed affiliate, Sichuan Quanxing Co. Ltd., said in a statement.
Diageo will indirectly own 16.9 percent of listed Quanxing Co. after buying into Quanxing Group, which owns 39.23 percent of the listed firm. Quanxing Co. has a market value of $816.12 million (416 million pounds), according to Reuters Estimates.
Financial details of the transaction were not provided.
Diageo and French rival Pernod have long sought to expand in China, where 35 billion litres of beer, wine and spirits were consumed last year, according to Euromonitor data.
Sales of alcoholic drinks reached $416 billion in China in 2005, 8 percent more than in the previous year, the data showed.
Under the deal, which needs Chinese regulatory approval, the firms will set up a joint venture to co-operate in Chinese and international markets, Diageo said in a separate statement.
The firm plans to use the joint venture as a base for developing cheaper sourcing of packaging and other materials in China, it said.
The firms plan to develop sales overseas of the Swellfun brand -- known as Shui Jing Fang in Mandarin Chinese and a rival of Kweichou Moutai, Diageo added.
Shanghai-listed shares in the Chinese distillery closed down 4 percent at 12.55 yuan on Tuesday. News of the deal had already leaked, and investors locked in profits as the acquisition was made public, an analyst said."Quanxin shares dropped today right after the firm released the foreign investment news. It's a market reaction on the intransparency of information," said Zhou Fengwu at Oriental Securities.
Shares in the firm had jumped 48 percent by Monday's close since a two-day trading suspension from October 13 after reports in domestic media that the firm may be an acquisition target.
Sichuan Quanxing said on October 18 that it was in talks with several international makers of alcoholic drinks to discuss matters such as overseas sales.
The listed company, based in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan province, in April posted 77.8 million yuan (5.1 million pounds) in 2005 profits on 604 million yuan in revenues.
Article Courtesy of Reuters
Reuters

Dec 11
2006

Pioneering dram plan for Borders
Talks have been held about creating a £1m whisky distillery and visitor centre in the Borders.
A business consortium has held discussions with Scottish Borders Council over the plans for the first ever distillery in the region.
One of the potential sites has emerged as the Mellerstain Estate near Kelso.
If the bid is successful, it is hoped to incorporate a shop and visitor centre with a lowland whisky being produced by as early as 2008.
Adviser to the consortium, Dr Alan Rutherford, said a number of locations along the A68 through the Borders had been considered.
He added that Mellerstain - although off that main route - had also been earmarked as a potential site.
He said the development could be modelled on other successful schemes in the north of Scotland.
"The idea was very much to boost tourism and to capture the tourists as they came up into the Borders," he said.
"It is probably best to combine it with some sort of retail offering.
"I had in mind a retail centre rather like the House of Bruar something that would offer the best of Borders produce and manufacturing."
Dr Rutherford said a feasibility study had now been commissioned by Scottish Enterprise Borders.
Historic reasons
A former head of the Scotch Whisky Association, he said there were a number of reasons why there had been no such development in the region before.
"I think the history of distilling is tied up with the history of smuggling and illicit stills," he said.
"It was probably more difficult to hide in the Borders than it was in Speyside or the islands."
He added that the proximity of distilleries in Glasgow and Edinburgh and agricultural issues may also have played a part.
Article Courtesy of BBC News
BBC News

Dec 11
2006

International boost for Speyside malts trail
Distillery bosses will come together in Moray today to give the world's only malt whisky trail a global boost.
More than 250,000 brochures dedicated to the Speyside attraction will now be distributed throughout the UK and abroad.
Winding its way through the district, the signposted trail takes in eight distilleries and a cooperage.
The attraction, along with events such as the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, have helped cement Moray's reputation as Scotland's Whisky Country.
It is hoped the new guide launched at Strathisla Distillery today will attract even more visitors to sample the Water of Life, in an area which is home to more than half of Scotland's distilleries. The brochure has been put together by VisitScotland, Aberdeen and Grampian, the Moray Whisky Trail partners and Moray Council.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the 2007 season, VisitScotland area director Ian Dunlop said: "The Malt Whisky Trail has been a real draw for visitors ever since it was first introduced, and continues to be one of the area's great success stories. "As well as providing Moray with an unique cultural icon, with no less than three four-star and six five-star visitor attractions, the trail showcases the superb quality our visitors can expect when they come to the area."
Strathisla Distillery, which is hosting the launch, knows well the importance of the attraction, having played a role in the trail for more than 20 years.
Chivas Brothers visitor centre manager Caroline Mitchell said: "Speyside's Scotch whiskies are famous the world over, and our consumers like nothing better than to complete a pilgrimage to the homes of the Malt Whisky Trail's household names."
The whisky trail's new guide can be ordered online at www.maltwhiskytrail.com or by contacting 01224 288828.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 08
2006

Whisky Embassies dram up economic benefits for Scottish tourism
Scotland's network of Whisky Embassies is reaping dividends for Scottish tourism according to figures revealed by Scottish Enterprise today, 11 December 2006.
The tourism industry has received an economic boost since the launch of the ScotlandWhisky Embassy Network in 2003 which now boasts 66 flagship Scotch Whisky Embassy hotels reporting growth in Scotch Whisky sales of up to 10%.
The network of Embassies, which is worth an estimated £46million* to the Scottish economy, was established to promote and develop whisky tourism in Scotland. The select group mainly comprises hotels which pride themselves on employing staff who are educated and knowledgeable in the sales and service of Scotch Whisky and who can offer an environment which is favourable to whisky appreciation.
An integral part of the initiative is the Scotch Whisky school which tutors people working in the tourism and hospitality industry to understand and appreciate the production, selection and serving of Scotch Whisky. The training programme ends with an exam which must be passed to allow a hotel to become an Embassy.
The school has now seen more than 112 people working in the tourism and hospitality industry graduate with a qualification in the sales and service of Scotch Whisky.
Other criteria required to become an Embassy include a minimum accommodation rating of three stars, an extensive range of Scotch Whisky and a conducive ambience to whisky appreciation. Embassies are encouraged to offer additional experiences for whisky appreciation such as whisky evenings, nosings and tastings.
Katrina Morrison, tourism project manager at Scottish Enterprise, commented: "Scotch Whisky is an iconic product which offers the potential to grow tourism revenues by raising awareness of Scotland as a tourism destination and also through the development of a positive and exciting experience of whisky for existing visitors.
"These early results are already demonstrating the value of building on Scotland's strengths to enhance visitor experience and I hope they encourage more businesses to consider the benefits of joining the ScotlandWhisky Embassy Network."
Chris Conway from Scotlandwhisky, said: "The Embassy network is central to our plans for encouraging Whisky tourism to Scotland. Those businesses involved have already begun to see the benefits in increased Scotch Whisky sales. As recognition of the Embassy accreditation increases so will those benefits."
The Scotlandwhisky initiative is a partnership between the public and private sectors with the aim of exploring where the tourism and Scotch Whisky industries can work together to realist mutual commercial benefits. The project is financed by the Scotch Whisky Association, The Scotch Whisky Experience, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland.
Each of the Whisky Embassies, as well as whisky tour packages, can be booked on-line at www.scotlandwhisky.com
Article Courtesy of Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise

Dec 05
2006

Crop in melting pot - distillers get malting barley warning
Nfu Scotland has reminded Scotland's distillers of the need to pay viable prices for malting barley if farmers are to keep growing it.
The union made its point at a meeting with the Scotch Whisky Association in Edinburgh.
It comes in the wake of maltsters promising to pay better prices for the product after a dramatic fall-off in malting barley production that has left them short of supplies to meet the needs of brewers and distillers.
Britain's farming unions have for years been questioning the poor prices paid for malting barley and repeatedly warned that farmers would stop growing it because the costs of producing it were not reflected in the market price.
Farmers have in recent years switched to growing barley and oilseed rape, both of which offer better returns and higher prices, partly because of increased buying by the biofuel industry.
Union vice-president Bob Howat said: "The reform of farm support has sent a clear message to cereal growers; the market must pay a price which creates the incentive to produce. Years of unsustainable prices have had an impact and subsidy reform has brought it to a head this year with a major drop in malting barley plantings. The reduced barley production of around 140,000 tonnes, an 8% drop, has implications for the whole whisky supply chain.
"Subsidy reform not only places a responsibility on the market to deliver a sustainable price, it requires farmers to work more closely with each other and with their customers. We had a very helpful meeting with SWA, which followed similar discussions with the maltsters' association. It is now important to ensure the good communication and encouraging noises translate in sustainable prices and practices for the whole supply chain."
Malting barley prices in recent years have been as low as £60 a tonne, almost £100 lower than the £150-a-tonne peak reached in the 1990s.
Farmers at harvest were paid £84 a tonne, but in recent weeks maltsters have been paying up to £110 to secure supplies. Anecdotal reports also suggest that barley which failed to meet malting specifications at harvest and feed crops are now being bought to resolve shortfalls.
Contracts for malting barley next year are already being offered at £115.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 04
2006

Distilleries run dry as gales hit oil delivery
Whisky production in Islay is in danger of grinding to a halt after horrendous weather prevented industrial fuel deliveries to the island.
Gale-force winds and heavy rain meant a tanker could not unload its cargo at the island's new harbour last month.
And it was reported yesterday that at least two Islay distilleries had run out of fuel after three weeks of terrible weather.
A notice on the website for Bruichladdich confirms its oil ran out on Thursday.
The distillery blamed the new Argyll and Bute Council-built Bruichladdich pier for the problems, but oil supplier Shell blamed delivery problems on the weather.
The oil shipment was due at the island more than two weeks ago. The tanker waited four days, but weather conditions meant it was unsafe to unload.
It is understood that emergency supplies of fuel are being transported to the island by CalMac ferry but that is an expensive stop-gap.
A strongly worded statement on the Bruichladdich website said: "Although Argyll and Bute claim the pier is indeed suitable, this situation never occurred before the pier was renovated - even though the same tanker was in use.
"It would appear that to avoid the risk of pulling the new pier apart, the tankers are only able to unload in totally calm weather conditions - which of course are rare in winter."
Argyll and Bute Council could not be contacted yesterday.
It was reported yesterday that Bowmore distillery had also run out of fuel but no one at the firm was available to comment yesterday.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Dec 03
2006

Scotch whisky suits prospering Chinese to a tea
Already possessed of all the tea in China, the Chinese are making a serious run at all the whisky in Scotland, and they do not seem averse to mixing the two.
Chinese imports of Scotch whisky have zoomed from $2.9 million in 2001 to more than $90 million in 2005.
Last year the value of whisky imports grew 84 percent. This year China is expected to crack the top 10 of whisky-guzzling nations, according to David Williamson, public-affairs manager for the Scotch Whisky Association in Edinburgh.
While all of this is good news for Scottish distillers, it is making some Scottish tipplers a wee bit anxious. According to a recent editorial in The Scotsman newspaper, skyrocketing Chinese demand has created relative shortages of whisky and pushed up the global price.
Increasing output is one solution, but as the newspaper noted, Scotch whisky takes time, a minimum of eight years for a good-quality blended whisky and 12 to 18 years for some of the more expensive single-malt brands.
Not to panic, says Williamson: "About 18.5 million casks are currently maturing. Supply is not an immediate concern."
In China, Scotch whisky and French cognac have long been the preferred beverages of ascendant businessmen and senior government officials who subsist on a constant rotation of banquets and ribbon-cuttings.
"Western brands were offered to demonstrate that the person who was the host had money and prestige," said Martin Reimann, Asia Pacific managing director for The Edrington Group, whose brands include The Famous Grouse and The Macallan.
But a more recent phenomenon is the emergence of Scotch whisky as a status symbol among the country's growing middle class, a group equivalent to the population of the entire United States.
Yan Xi, 31, a public-relations worker in Beijing, said he first tried whisky with friends a few years ago and now considers it a regular habit. "I think whisky will get more popular in China. It's a new choice. It also represents Western culture. ... It's a way to show your status."
Distilled spirits are not new to China. The traditional favorite is baijiu. A grain alcohol starting at 112 proof and going up from there, it is available at most roadside stands to help wash down noodles or salted peanuts. Small bottles, fit for a lunch hour, sell for about 40 cents.
Scotch whisky began making inroads after China embarked on reforms in 1979. These days, Chivas Regal, the top-selling imported spirit in China, is available even in the countryside.
Martin Riley, international marketing director for London-based Chivas Brothers, points out that there are historical precedents to the Chinese experience.
He noted that Chivas Regal became an iconic brand in the U.S. in the 1950s during the postwar economic boom that greatly expanded the American middle class.
One difference that strikes some Western connoisseurs as peculiar, even slightly sacrilegious, is the Chinese habit of mixing their whisky with sweet green tea.
"Everybody drinks it this way. It tastes good, and you can drink a lot," said Li Gang, 30, a Beijing businessman who says he drinks whisky once or twice a month with friends. "If you drink pure whisky, it is too strong."
Article Courtesy of Seattle Times
Seattle Times

Dec 01
2006

Inver House Announces Appointment of New Distillery Management Team

Inver House Distillers is delighted to announce the appointment of four new distillery managers as part of a distillery operations reorganisation.

Airdrie-based Inver House, one of the fastest growing groups in the industry, owns five distilleries - Pulteney, Balblair, Speyburn, Knockdhu and Balmenach. Each produces its own distinctive, individual single malt whisky and the role of Distillery Manager (DM) is integral to its success with responsibilities covering all aspects of whisky production from malted barley intake through distilling to the filling of casks and warehousing of maturing whisky. The moves include:

• Pulteney Distillery Manager, Malcolm Waring
• Balblair Distillery Manager, John MacDonald
• Pulteney & Balblair Management Trainee, Graeme Bowie
• Knockdhu Distillery Manager, Gordon Bruce
• Speyburn Distillery Manager, Bobby Anderson (unchanged)
• Balmenach Distillery Manager, Fred Sinclair
• Group Distilleries Manager, Derek Sinclair

The news heralds a new era for the brands as all distilleries with the exception of Speyburn will welcome a new DM this month. Overseeing the changes will be Derek Sinclair who is thrilled to be starting his ‘umbrella’ role as Group Distilleries Manager – a promotion from his previous position as DM at Balblair Distillery.

Inver House is also welcoming an external recruit; John MacDonald who has become the new Distillery Manager of Balblair. John previously worked as the Assistant Distillery Manager of Glenmorangie and brings 17 years of malt whisky distilling experience with him to the role.

Inver House’s focus brand Old Pulteney has enjoyed phenomenal success over the past few years including the recent win of the Gold: Best in Class award for its 12 Year Old at the 2006 International Wine & Spirit Competition. Malcolm Waring, who previously worked at Pulteney before his recent position at Knockdhu distillery, is looking forward to embracing his new role;

“I am delighted to be returning to Pulteney as Distillery Manager. All the DMs at Inver House are close and we regularly speak to each other - sharing our ideas and experiences. It is an incredibly proud moment for me and a great opportunity for us all.”

Martin Leonard, Operations Director of Inver House Distillers said:
“It is an exciting time for Inver House. We are growing as a group and are delighted that we have been able to promote a number of our experienced and loyal members of staff in these changes. We have a great mix of talent, experience and enthusiasm within the team and I wish them success in their new roles.”

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers
Inver House Distillers
November 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Nov 30
2006

Scotch Whisky, 150 Years Old, Fetches 14,750 Pounds
A half-sized bottle of Scotch whisky that's about 150 years old sold for 14,750 pounds ($28,820) at auction in London, beating the top presale estimate by almost 50 percent.
The Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky, bottled on Speyside, in northeast Scotland, some time between 1851 and 1858, was bought by an unidentified buyer at the auction yesterday. The bottle contains 14 fluid ounces and the whisky may be the world's oldest, according to Bonhams, the auctioneers.
``There is an increasing interest in whiskies that are a bit different,'' Richard Harvey, head of European wine sales at Bonhams, said in an interview. ``I think it's a record for that size.'' Bonhams had estimated a sale price of as much as 10,000 pounds for the half-sized bottle.
The prices collectors are willing to pay for Scotch malt whisky have risen. An anonymous Asian buyer in September 2005 paid 70 million South Korean won ($75,200) for the last bottle of 1926 Macallan malt whisky, a record for a public auction. A bottle of 60-year-old Macallan fetched 20,150 pounds in 2002.
The winning bidder was represented by telephone from Scotland, said Harvey. The bidder whose offer was beaten came from the U.S., he said.
The Glenavon whisky may date back to before 1851 because there are no records of the distillery before then, Harvey said. The bottle was sold by a Northern Ireland woman whose family owned it for at least three generations, he said.
The Glenavon distillery was licensed in 1852 to John G. Smith, son of the founder of the nearby Glenlivet Distillery. In 1859, they consolidated their distilleries at Glenlivet, which is now owned by Pernod-Ricard SA's Chivas Brothers unit.
The price included a 10 percent so-called buyer's premium, which is the fee payable by the buyer to Bonhams.
Article Courtesy of Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Nov 28
2006

Swa hoping for spirit of co-operation
Whisky firms are hoping to see a crackdown on bootlegging in the fast-growing Chinese market following a meeting in Beijing yesterday.
Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) officials and Trade Secretary Alistair Darling met senior Chinese government and industry figures to explore better protection of Scotland's national drink in the Far East country.
They also looked at ways for whisky and Chinese spirit producers to work together.
China is an important emerging market for whisky distillers, with exports to the country last year valued at £46million.
The main aim of yesterday's gathering was to examine how drink firms and consumers can be protected from the consequences of unfair competition, such as counterfeit goods, and to cement UK-Chinese co-operation on protecting intellectual property rights.
Whisky is protected under World Trade Organisation rules as having a recognised "geographical indication of origin", meaning it can only be made in Scotland.
SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "Co-operation between the industry and both UK and Chinese governments has led to good progress being made towards ensuring there is strong protection for Scotch whisky from counterfeit and unfair competition in this important, emerging market. China is determined to implement and enforce appropriate legal protection for Scotch whisky and other spirit drinks.
"We welcome this commitment, as well as UK government support, and hope that the necessary legal protection can be implemented in the near future to the benefit of both consumers and distillers."
"Scotland and China have proud distilling traditions. Since the 1940s, the SWA has built up considerable experience of protecting Scotch whisky internationally and we hope we will be able to share our experience and work closely with Chinese spirits producers as they look to protect their products overseas."
Yesterday's meeting, organised by the British Embassy in Beijing, brought together the UK and Chinese governments, the SWA, the International Federation of Spirits Producers, the China Alcohol Industry Association and other drinks industry representatives.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Nov 27
2006

Bartenders in high demand to quench new thirst
George Zhou Chong's favourite alcohol is 15-year-old Glenmorangie single malt Scotch whisky. His speciality as a bartender, however, is martinis.
"Very strong," Zhou said as he combined Bombay Sapphire gin with a twist of lemon and olive juice. "Stirred with this," he said, holding up a long silver spoon. "The old way."
In Beijing and other metropolises around China, the number of locally born bartenders and bar owners like Zhou who foster a traditionally Western type of entertainment sipping quality drinks in a plush setting is growing.
Tom Pattinson, editor-in-chief of the entertainment guide Time Out Beijing, says the reason the number of lounge bars in the capital, in particular, has soared in the past six years is a combination of China's rising middle class and a more professional, trendier expatriate scene.
"Over the past five years, things have changed a lot," Pattinson said. "Now you have expatriates coming here who have lived and made it in places like Paris, New York, in London and the rising number of wealthy young Chinese."
What's missing, he said, are quality cocktails to match the setting. "You still don't find a lot of great drinks."
For bartenders such as Zhou and Echo Sun Yuan, who thrive on mixing their own concoctions, the opportunity to stand out certainly exists.
Zhou, 24, a native of Anhui Province in Central China, is the co-owner of a bar in the Sanlitun area called Q Bar. He started the venture in June with Sun, a Hunan native, and a German expatriate friend, Ralph Ziegenhorn. But Zhou's first love is not management.
"People ask me why, if I'm an owner, I'm out here mixing cocktails," he said. "It's because that's what I enjoy."
The menu at Q Bar lists a wide range of drinks, including bar specialities and seasonal offerings.
Bars such as the well-established Centro, with renowned bartender Bruce Li, and newcomers such as Face also offer high quality drinks at high prices. Mostly, however, the flood of bars that have come to Sanlitun and Houhai don't offer much beyond a place to sit with a beer, a plate of boiled peanuts, and Cantonese pop music.
Against that background, Zhou and Sun are getting attention for their skills. Q Bar has been written up in a few of the city's entertainment magazines, and Zhou's frozen martini graces the cover of a guide to Sanlitun's bar scene.
Their success, however, has also meant a lifestyle that few of their older family members, or even their peers, understand.
"In Hunan, they don't have so many bars," said Sun, 21. "Bars sell only beer or Scotch, things like that. Nobody knows about Western bars, about their history or what they offer."
When Zhou's mother visited his bar this summer, she liked the look of the place but "didn't have anything to drink," he said. "Just some soda. She doesn't like cocktails."
Q Bar's clientele are mostly expatriates or Chinese from Taiwan and Hong Kong. But as bars become more popular among Chinese locals, attitudes are slowly shifting, Sun said.
Burgeoning bar scene
Last year China sold nearly US$5.7 billion in spirits, including brandy, gin and whisky. That number is projected to hit US$6.15 billion by 2010, according to research firm Datamonitor.
The growing bar culture among Chinese will help the country realize that prediction, as will the influx of higher paid, more professional expatriates.
That's quite a change from the late 1990s, when the nightlife in Beijing was dominated by students and businesspeople who drank in hotel bars, editor Pattinson said.
The pluses at that time, he said, were plenty of live music and a "relaxed scene." The main drawback was poor service. Few places could match bars and clubs in cities such as Shanghai and New York.
A turning point occurred when entrepreneur Henry Li opened Neo Lounge in north Sanlitun in November 2001. "It was the first decent non-hotel bar in Beijing," Pattinson said. It has since closed.
Lee's offering was quickly copied, and for the first time, it became fashionable for young Chinese professionals to come to lounge bars to have expensive drinks and listen to DJs spinning the music.
Along with these bars came "super-clubs," large venues that packed in the crowds. Some of them, such as Baby Face and Cargo, still thrive, but slightly smaller, more subdued bars and clubs are now the most common.
One such bar is Face, which opened in July. After it became a success in Shanghai, Jakarta and Bangkok, the managers opened one in Beijing because they found a good location and wanted to continue to expand in China, manager Daniel Khoo said.
As with many other bars, they had a slew of local applicants looking to be bartenders or servers. At first, Khoo said, it was hard to find people who could speak English and knew how to serve properly.
"Initially, it was a challenge for me," he said. "But in general they are all decent staff and are willing to learn."
Face, known for its cushy atmosphere, brings people in from Indonesia and Singapore to train the new staff. "They teach them what kind of attitude to have and how to do service," Khoo said.
The employees also learn how to make the bar's drinks, which are a combination of Face specials and traditional cocktails.
Mixologists
The first drink Sun at Q Bar said she ever made was a gin and tonic, and "it didn't turn out so well."
So she got a bartending book and started to learn how to make drinks while working as a waitress. She improved, and eventually she was getting ideas from her clientele.
"Many of our drinks come from the customers," she said. "They tell us what they like, what might make a drink a little better or different."
Unlike in the West, where people often go to bartending school, many of Beijing's bartenders do as Sun did: They learn on the job.
Zhou's first exposure to bartending was the movie "Cocktail," starring Tom Cruise. "I thought it looked cool," he said. "I wanted to be like that."
While clearing tables and cleaning glasses at a hotel bar in Beijing, he met an expatriate from the United Kingdom who knew a lot about drinks and drinking.
"He taught me about alcohol, not just how to make drinks, but actually how single malt Scotch is made from its start in freshwater streams to the point where it's bottled," Zhou said.
Zhou also picked up some language skills. A native Mandarin speaker, his English is mainly reserved for the names of drinks and jazz musicians. "Miles Davis," he said when asked about his favourite musicians. Then, after a pause, "John Coltrane."
Zhou and Sun met in Beijing. After working together for about two and a half years, they started to consider opening their own place.
"After you work in a bar so many years, you realize there are so many things you want to do but can't," Sun said. "The bars all have the same cocktails, and we wanted to do something about that. We wanted to make our own special drinks."
In the six months since Q Bar opened, Sun and Zhou have developed a following. One employee said she applied to work there after reading about Zhou's drink-making skills in a magazine.
When you see the quiet weeknights at Q Bar, you might get the impression it won't last. But at the weekend, the respect among bar-goers manifests itself, keeping the pair busy enough.
On a recent weekday, Sun was checking the finances while Zhou prepared to start serving. As night came, a few regulars drifted in, and the staff dimmed the lights and turned up the music.
Zhou, with his short, spiky hair and a neatly pressed shirt, slid around the dimly lit bar, mixing drinks and fiddling with the stereo. Taking a break to chat with customers, he sipped rum cut with grapefruit juice and lychee.
When a customer offered that his favourite drink was MacAllan's 10-year with bing, Zhou nodded.
"On the rocks," he said. "Cool."
Article Courtesy of People's Daily Online, China
People's Daily Online, China

Nov 25
2006

Envoy gets a taste of Scotland
Argentina's ambassador to Britain has been treated to a whistle-stop tour of Moray and its attractions following a chance meeting with an Elgin taxi driver.
Sandy Cooper, 62, of Duff Avenue, invited Federico Mirre and his wife, Cecelia, to Scotland after he got chatting to them at a function in London.
Both Mr Cooper and Mr Mirre now hope the visit will pave the way for businesses in Moray and their Argentinean counterparts to forge stronger links.
During the two-day visit to Moray, Mr Mirre and his wife enjoyed a tour of Johnstons of Elgin, Gordonstoun School, Ballindalloch Castle, Benromach Distillery and Moray College, where they had lunch cooked by students.
Mr Cooper said he had been at a Royal Geographical Society award ceremony when he was first introduced to Mr Mirre. The retired businessman said he was charmed by the diplomat's friendliness and through their conversation discovered his wish to visit Scotland.
On his return to Elgin Mr Cooper set about collecting a range of samples of local produce from the Moray region and sent them to the embassy along with an invitation.
Mr Cooper, a former tourist officer, acted as an official guide to Mr Mirre during his visit.
He said yesterday during a tour of the whisky distillery that it had been a hectic time but it was important to extend friendship to other countries.
He said: "We must extend to everyone a hand of friendship and conciliation. We only have to look to the Middle East today to see the situation. But, through cultural, educational, commercial and tourism links the bond can only get stronger and I know from speaking with the ambassador he is going to actively pursue these avenues.
"It is most important for tourism in Scotland generally but for Moray in particular that we take the opportunity to be ambassadors for our county."
Mr Mirre said his visit to Moray had exceeded his expectations of Scotland.
He said: "I have seen all the different personalities and ways of life from the area."
He said he hoped he would be able to return to Scotland.
"Meanwhile we will try and establish a connection between the Scots and Argentines so that we can continue these links through our corporation projects," said Mr Mirre.
"This visit went way beyond my expectations. The strength of the individual communities and Scotland as a whole is something not found in many parts of the world."
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Nov 23
2006

'Oldest' bottle of whisky for sale
A bottle of scotch whisky believed to be the oldest in existence is to be auctioned later this month.
The Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky, believed to be almost 150 years old, is expected to fetch between £5,000 and £10,000 when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams on November 29.
The two-part moulded olive-green glass bottle, which is unusually small in size, contains about 14 fluid ounces of pale gold liquid and is believed to have been bottled by the Glenavon Distillery between 1851 and 1858..
Article Courtesy of IC Scotland
IC Scotland

Nov 21
2006

Talisker wins world's top whisky prize
One of the most remote distilleries, Talisker on Skye, has won what is widely regarded as the world's premier prize for malt whisky.
A Talisker 18-year-old has scored top honours at this year's International Wine and Spirit Competition, receiving a trophy for single malt over 15 years old. IWSC trophies indicate supreme achievement. Just four trophies were awarded this year for Scotch and Diageo's classic malts selection collected two of them.
Distillery manager Charlie Smith travelled to London to bring home the trophy and the distillery team has been celebrating its homecoming in the time-honoured fashion. The 18-year-old expression of Talisker was introduced in 2004, alongside the familiar 10-year-old bottling.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Nov 20
2006

Actor raises a dram as distillery centre opens
A New visitor centre opened at an Islay distillery at the weekend as part of a £20million, five-year global investment programme for the single malt whisky brand.
Scottish actor James Cosmo, who starred alongside Mel Gibson in Braveheart, declared the new centre at Bowmore Distillery open as guests enjoyed a few drams and a firework display.
Bowmore is also about to launch a new bottle and packaging for its whisky.
The new visitor centre, which now forms part of the distillery tour, features Bowmore archives which have never previously been on display to the public.
Operations manager Iseabail Mactaggart said: "It showcases the distillery's rich history so well and makes the most of our stunning setting by Loch Indaal.
"This gives us the opportunity to share with our visitors the traditions that we are all so proud of here at Bowmore."
The distillery was established in 1779 and is the oldest on Islay. It is owned by Morrison Bowmore Distillers, which is a subsidiary of Japan's Suntory.
Around 10,000 people come to visit the distillery each year.
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Press & Journal

Nov 19
2006

Prince toasts his Scotch plan
HE IS known for his love of all things Scottish — including the national drink — and now Prince Charles is to launch his own brand of Scotch whisky.
The prince has chosen one of four unmarked bottles of blended malts from the north of Scotland, which he tasted at Clarence House. After several considered samplings, one in particular tickled his palate.
The whisky, Barrogill, the former name of the Castle of Mey, the prince’s holiday retreat in Caithness, will be launched in the new year. A watercolour of the castle, painted by the prince, will appear on the label.
The secret blend is being produced by distillers Inver House in Airdrie, which makes Old Pulteney single malt, one of the prince’s favourite tipples. Barrogill will retail at just under £20 and will be sold in supermarkets and off-licences.
The whisky is being launched as part of the prince’s efforts to support remote communities in northern Scotland. Each bottle sold will raise £1 for the prince’s North Highlands Initiative (NHI), which hopes to breathe new life into the area’s economy.
The NHI was formed as a direct result of the prince’s involvement in bringing together farmers, local business people and tourism representatives to address some of the challenges facing rural communities in the far north.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is looking forward to sampling the special malt and welcomed the prince’s support to remote Highland communities.
“Scotch whisky is clearly associated with local communities in the Highlands and it’s good to see whisky being used to support this local initiative,” said David Williamson, a spokesman for the SWA.
Meanwhile, a former government scientific adviser has launched an attack on Prince Charles’s range of organic products. Professor Anthony Trewavas, of Edinburgh University, dismissed the heir to the throne’s Duchy Originals collection as an expensive “middle-class fad”.
Article Courtesy of The Times
The Times

Nov 17
2006

Whyte & Mackay Ltd. Continues to Evaluate Multiple Bids; Company Has No Further Comment with Regard to Proposed Sale to United Breweries
Whyte & Mackay’s Vivian Imerman, Chairman and Chief Executive today made the following statement with regard to recent articles in Dow Jones and Associated Press featuring Vijay Mallya.
"Whyte & Mackay is in continued negotiations with a number of parties and we can only confirm that we are still in talks with Mr. Mallya,” said Mr. Imerman. “We have signed a confidentiality agreement which bars us from saying anything more.
“We continue to execute on our strong vision for the Company and its core brands Whyte & Mackay, Vladivar, Jura, The Dalmore and Glayva.”
About Whyte & Mackay Ltd.
Whyte & Mackay Ltd. is a producer of premium quality spirits, including Whyte & Mackay Blended Scotch, Jura Single Malt whisky, The Dalmore Highland whisky, Glayva whisky liqueur and Vladivar Vodka. Headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland, the Company employs over 600 staff on sites around Scotland and the UK. In the near future, the company will be adding its new all-purpose state-of-the-art production facility in Grangemouth, Scotland to its other Scottish distilleries, which include the Isle of Jura (situated off the west coast of Scotland) and The Dalmore (based in Ross-shire).
Article Courtesy of Business Wire
Business Wire

Nov 16
2006

EU calls time on India's high spirit tax
EU officials are set to report India to the World Trade Organisation at the end of this week in a bid get high import tariffs on wine and spirit drinks dropped, and force open a lucrative emerging market for European producers.
India has until the end of Friday to show it is willing to reduce the tariffs, which the European Commission says are a “blatant violation” of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Privately, officials and industry believe the case is extremely likely to move to the first stage of a WTO dispute, a 60-day consultation period that will see both sides attempting to strike a deal at WTO offices in Geneva.
The move could see India forced to cut its tariffs on wine and spirit imports, improving European drinks firms' access to what they view as an important emerging market.
“Alongside China, India has the potential to become the world's largest wine consumer, even beating the US, within the next 10 years,” a European Commission spokesperson told BeverageDaily.com.
Spirits firms also hope to get in on the action. “India is a key emerging market for Scotch Whisky,” said David Williamson of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which originally raised the tariff issue with the Commission.
Exports of Scotch Whisky to India have been growing in high double figures even with the tariff barriers, but only made up one per cent of the country's 100m-case whisky market in 2005.
India's basic customs tariff on spirits is 150 per cent, compared to around 10 and 20 per cent in other key emerging markets, China and Brazil, respectively.
It is India's additional tax, which puts an extra 25 to 150 per cent on selected imported spirits, at the heart of its dispute with the EU, however. Theoretically this additional tax on imports balances the market by compensating for local duty tax levied on domestic producers in India's different states.
But European drinks producers have complained the additional import tax is far higher, and that they sometimes have to pay local taxes as well.
European Commission officials threatened to report India to the WTO in July, after an in-depth investigation found “serious concerns” about unfair and discriminatory tax on wine and spirit imports to India.
The issue will go before a WTO Dispute Settlement Panel if no agreement is reached either before or during the 60-day consultation period. WTO rules lay down a 15-month framework for dealing with dispute settlements.
It is understood debate in the Indian government on whether to reduce tariffs has hinged on treasury concerns over potential lost revenue.
High import tariffs have only pushed more Indian consumers into the illegal grey market where spirits are cheaper, increasing government losses and damaging consumer choice, according to the SWA's Williamson.
“Removing the fiscal incentive for consumers to turn to the grey market and bringing more sales through official channels could get the government higher revenue.”
The SWA claimed earlier this year that only half of India's 55m-case domestic whisky production was sold legally.
Article Courtesy of AP Food Technology
AP Food Technology

Nov 15
2006

31-year-old scotch sells for $100,000
Rare $100,000 private Glenfiddich whisky cask acquired by Willow Park Wines & Spirits.
Peter Gordon, fifth-generation descendant of William Grant founder of the Glenfiddich Distillery, presented the first bottle from a 1975 cask of vintage Glenfiddich to Wayne Henuset, owner of Willow Park Wines & Spirits in Calgary.
Willow Park's acquisition of the rare cask of 1975 Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky marks only the second time a cask has been released in Canada.
Last year, Willow Park purchased a 1974 Glenfiddich cask, one of a very few casks from the Glenfiddich private reserve that have been sold worldwide.
Previous casks have been acquired for the launch of the Queen Elizabeth II, the Crown Prince of Denmark's wedding and Concord Airline's inaugural flight.
"Cask 84 has matured since 1975 in an oak cask in the traditional dunnage warehouse at The Glenfiddich Distillery in the Highlands of Scotland," Mr. Gordon said. "It has yielded 350 bottles at 49.1 percent alcohol by volume. The whisky has a rich complex aroma with oaky-fruitiness, hints of sherbet orange and subtle tannin and leather notes. The rich aroma delivers an equally rewarding taste with a beautifully silky mouth coating texture," explained Mr. Gordon.
The acquisition and sale of the 1975 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.
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 Soo Today=
Soo Today

Nov 14
2006

Johnnie Walker bottles Chinese dream
SCOTCH drinkers around the world tend to associate their favourite tipple with success and achievement.
Accordingly, for the past seven years, Johnnie Walker has deployed its "Keep Walking" global marketing strategy - illustrated by the red-coated, striding man that adorns its packaging. Yet people in different markets express and celebrate their achievements in very different ways.
To accommodate these, Diageo, the group that owns the Johnnie Walker brand, has taken strides beyond catch-all global messages. The fruits of its approach are becoming increasingly evident in China, one of the world's fastest-growing whisky markets.
The company's latest local advertising campaign features an extreme game of golf played by two ambitious young men, culminating in shots taken from the roof of a golf cart, up a tree and even beneath the chin of a live crocodile.
Tailored for the Chinese market, the campaign relied on the idea that Chinese people are not content simply with the fact of their achievements but often seek the acknowledgment of their peers, the company says. Chinese consumers like to signal their success more overtly than those in many other countries.
Johnnie Walker has 34 per cent of the Chinese whisky market, making it the second most popular brand behind Pernod Ricard's Chivas Regal, which has a 50 per cent share.
There is much for both to play for. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, whisky exports to China rose from 1.5 million tonnes in 2001 to 46 million last year. Not only are China's rapidly growing ranks of aspirational high earners eager to try upmarket international brands; the country's membership of the World Trade Organisation has also made scotch more widely available and affordable. Between 2001 and 2005, China cut import tariffs on spirits from 65 per cent to 10 per cent. Diageo introduced its strategy for expanding in China two years ago.
Orlando Hooper-Greenhill, global planning director at BBH - the advertising agency that helped to develop the Keep Walking campaign - highlights the complexities of the local market that require it to think locally - as well as act locally. Chinese consumers drink whisky in a more diverse range of venues, from traditional restaurants to trendy bars and nightclubs, than Western consumers. Tastes and spending power vary among Chinese consumers, depending on where they live.
And Chinese drinkers have even found a new way to drink scotch - mixing it with iced green tea. "Johnnie Walker's marketing in China needed to reflect the importance of peer group and family perceptions of an individual's achievements, while also accommodating the fact that whisky (in China) is a youthful drink," Mr Hooper-Greenhill says. "Different messages were needed to reflect the different environments in which whisky is consumed, and for more and less urbanised areas."
Diageo split the market into four consumer groups. "The Chinese people are not monolithic," says Kenneth MacPherson, managing director of Diageo China. "The size of the market and the complex demographic leads to totally different consumption habits and patterns in different parts of China."
The first, and most strategically important consumers for Diageo, are "guanxi men" - status-driven 35 to 45-year-olds for whom business entertaining plays a big role.
The second are "strong independent women" aged 35 to 45. The third group is "upward mobiles" - 25 to 35-year-old men and women who want to be seen at the cutting edge. The final group, the "choice generation", are early twenty-somethings who are eager to explore and experience something new.
Diageo has also constructed a framework of seasonal promotional activity built around important dates such as Chinese New Year and National Day.
A third strand to its strategy is event sponsorship. As a sponsor of the McLaren Formula 1 team, Diageo worked with different local authorities on initiatives to promote responsible drinking, culminating in last month's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
Diageo made the most of this by launching a digital marketing campaign that resulted in 11 million Chinese viewing its ad online in the week before the event.
Article Courtesy of The Guardian
The Australian

Nov 13
2006

Scottish Leader Supreme in Far East With Rockware 70cl bottle
Burn Stewart Distillers has relaunched its Scottish Leader Supreme scotch whisky in the Far East in a rectangular 70cl bottle designed to provide a luxury look and feel by Bonsey Design Partnership, Singapore and produced by Rockware Glass at its spirits plant in Scotland. It forms phase two of the company’s major investment thrust within Asia, which has seen the brand consolidate its position as the clear leader in the ‘Standard’ imported Scotch Whisky segment in Taiwan, and its introduction into mainland China.
The designers’ objective was to give Scottish Leader Supreme the quality, premium look of imported Scotch Whisky with a luxury look & feel to give it shelf stand out. They retained the rectangular shape, which, according to extensive research is a positive and unique feature in the local market. Modifications were aimed at decorative enhancements to the bottle to reflect an overall brand proposition of “ enjoy a little luxury in your life”.
They concluded that because the brand is known locally as Scottish Leader “Gold Label” or “Jin Pai” in Mandarin (mainly because “Supreme” has no easy direct translation), the gold colour was paramount, but had to be greatly refined. The design team was also briefed to find a new, more iconic modern symbol to replace the ‘Flying Eagle’ on the front label and IBC, which was considered to contribute to both the ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘local’ look & feel.
Bonsey, responsible for the 2D and 3D creative design development, worked closely with Rockware’s Concept and Product Design teams to ensure that all the aesthetic requirements were matched by geometric precision that would enable the bottle to be totally fit for manufacture. Rockware created IGES models & JT files to produce a realistic prototype, which was also used by the decoration house Ex Pac to plan and apply the finishing.
Throughout the process the designers liaised with the project team from Burn Stewart comprising personnel located in East Kilbride, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore assisted by Rockware Glass and the 3D JT file viewing system.
The bottle retains the original unique rectangular shape, but has been significantly enhanced with elegant “jeweled facets”, special label protection and a new metal closure. The company is very optimistic this new bottle refinement will create further positive equity and momentum for the brand in both the immediate and mid-term future.
Article Courtesy of Glass on Webs
Glass on Web

Nov 10
2006

Thailand given two-week ultimatum on Johnnie Walker Classic
Thailand's new interim government, which plans to ban alcohol advertising next month, has been given two weeks to decide whether it will allow Johnnie Walker to use its logo and brand to promote a major golf tournament in Phuket next year.
Riche Monde, the Thai distributors of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky, has pressed the government to make its decision soon, or face losing the 15-year-old tournament to either South Korea or South Africa.
"We are still waiting for the government to respond, and the Johnnie Walker Classic organising committee has given Riche Monde two weeks to let them know whether we will proceed with holding the tournament in Thailand," the company said in an email interview with Reuters.
Local media said Johnnie Walker had already invested around $2.7 million in the tournament, which is due to be held at the Blue Canyon resort in Phuket from March 1-4.
That sum included appearance fees for top players such as Ernie Els and Adam Scott, who would be allowed to pull out of the event if the venue was switched, the reports said.
HUGE LOSSES
Thailand's new military-backed government plans to ban alcohol advertising in all forms of media from Dec. 1 in a bid to curb underage drinking and slash domestic alcohol consumption, which has tripled in the last 14 years.
The country's culture ministry is also considering restrictions on alcohol promotions in public areas by scantily-clad "pretties", many of whom use their income to pay for their university education.
The proposed measures are likely to have a major impact on the Kingdom's sports tournaments, which rely heavily on corporate sponsorship from major liquor brands.
Riche Monde said that alcohol companies backing major events might think twice about hosting them in Thailand, which would also lead to huge losses in tourism revenue.
"Given the calibre of the event, the change in location would be noticed worldwide among the sports community," the company said.
"Alcohol companies that are major sponsors of international sporting events will have to reconsider holding them in Thailand if they can't use their names in conjunction with the event."
Riche Monde said Johnnie Walker had also agreed to promote Phuket as a high-end golf and spa destination to help rebuild the holiday island's battered tourism industry following the 2004 tsunami.
Article Courtesy of The Guardian
The Guardian

Nov 09
2006

EU loses patience with India's drink tariff
Europe is on the verge of launching a formal complaint to the World Trade Organisation about India’s high tariffs on wines and spirits, The Times has learnt.
Patience in Brussels has run out after the Indian Government missed a European Union deadline for cutting import duties. The start of the case was “very close”, a senior European Commission official said yesterday.
Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner, is due to visit India this month to start talks, expected to last two years, on a free trade agreement. But the WTO complaint is unlikely to be sidelined after India failed to offer any concession at the recent EU/India summit in Helsinki.
The EU is angry at the way the Indian Treasury allows high regional tariffs on Scotch whisky, French wine and other European drinks. Scotch whisky accounts for less than 1 per cent of the 100 million cases of spirits sold annually in India.
A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said: “The association supports any moves to bring the matter forward to WTO dispute proceedings in Geneva so we can move to a level playing field for international producers in India.”
India imposes a basic customs duty of 150 per cent, one of the highest in the world, but an additional duty is then imposed, which in the case of whisky can raise the total amount of duty to 550 per cent. An EU investigation branded this additional duty as a “blatant violation of WTO regulations”, adding: “The Indian market has remained essentially closed for imported wines and spirits.”
Article Courtesy of The Times
The Times

Nov 08
2006

Hot Scotch
Limited editions, special bottlings and other esoteric single malt scotches are all the rage.
Ten years ago--even five--if you walked into a bar with any sort of pretensions of being hip you would likely spy, prominently displayed on the back bar, half a dozen bottles of single malt scotch.
These days you are just as likely to see half a dozen bottles from the same distillery.
There are special editions and limited editions, double-vatted malts and single vintage malts and single cask malts, and it's all enough to make your head spin even before you've begun to sample the stuff. What the highlands is going on here?
For one thing, producers have woken up to the fact that there is demand for all these old whiskies that had been languishing in their cellars for years. They also realized that, if approached with sufficient savvy, the market that would pay top dollar for interesting whiskies.
Just as enthusiasts discovered the pleasures of single malts a decade or so ago, they are now looking for more specialized and refined products.
"People's tastes have got more sophisticated," says Mark Izatt, senior brand manager of scotch whisky for Moet Hennessy USA. "The established distilleries, the Glenmorangies and Macallans of the world, have discovered that they are sitting on these rich archives of stock that are getting older and older, and they are finding newer ways of bringing it to the marketplace."
It is part of what I call the "gourmetization" of American taste (think $30 extra-virgin olive oil and $5 loaves of artisanal bread). As Frank Coleman, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of America, explains, "It reflects a larger trend across the whole consumer categories, especially in food and beverage products. When it comes to distilled spirits, the most massive growth is occurring at the super premium end, and the scotch producers were there first in terms of these limited edition bottlings and wood finishings and so forth."
And it is rapidly growing market, at a time when the sales of brown spirits in general are stagnant. According to Ian Millar, chief brand ambassador for Balvenie and Glenfiddich, 20 years ago single malts represented 1% of Scotch sales. Now, they are 9%. And that's by volume; in terms of dollar value the figure is even higher.
A few words of explanation: A single malt scotch is the product of one single distillery, just as Château Lafite wine comes only from that château. In the past most production was used in blended scotch--Johnny Walker, Chivas Regal, etc.--but these days more and more of it is being bottled single.
But even a single malt is, in fact, a blend. A distillery's cellar will contain thousands of casks of maturing whisky, each one subtly different. The casks are different sizes and different ages. Some have previously held bourbon, some port and some sherry. And they have been stored under different conditions. So no two are exactly alike, and it's the master blender's job to take these endlessly varying ingredients and make a consistent product--the Talisker 10 Year Old, for example.
Increasingly, producers have been experimenting with various special edition bottlings. These might be a single vintage bottling--a blend of whiskies from just one year--or even a single cask version. Then there's the increasingly popular practice of double vatting. This involves taking a cask of unremarkable whisky and finishing it in a second cask that previously held sherry, or rum or a famous wine, in order to add an extra layer of flavor. These bottlings often differ considerably in flavor from the main iteration--and that's the whole point of the exercise.
"Not only are there distilleries that five years ago might have had three different bottlings and now have half a dozen, but some of the more exotic, limited editions change from year to year," observes Jonathan Goldstein of New York City's Park Avenue Liquors. "This is a doubly virtuous approach."
By that he means the PR value that accrues to the brands from these special bottlings. A lot of the motivation for producers to bottle and sell prestige editions is not for the immediate profit from those 720-odd bottles (a tiny volume that will represent less than the rounding error in the accounts) but because it validates the brand and enhances its image. It also creates a buzz in the media, as well as amongst the retailers and bartenders, who in turn influence the consumer who might not be able to afford the $2,000, 30-year-old, limited edition whisky, but is prepared to shell out $40 for the regular 14-year-old version, especially for a special occasion or for a gift.
Speaking of holidays and gifts, in the accompanying slide show I have assembled a selection of 13 superb drams at a wide variety of price points, from all the different regions of Scotland and reflecting the whole panoply of complex and beguiling flavors this most captivating of spirits is capable of.
Article Courtesy of Forbes.com
Forbes.com

Nov 07
2006

Edrington invests £1m in Macallan distillery
The Macallan single malt, owned by distillery giant Edrington, yesterday unveiled a £1m development on its Speyside estate that includes a new visitors' centre and the refurbishment of a Jacobean manor, Easter Elchies House, built in 1700.
The new centre was opened by Ian Good, chairman of Edrington.
The company said the investment paralleled The Macallan's rapid expansion, which has seen its sales grow three times the rate of the single malt market over the last five years.
Housed in Warehouse Seven, visitors will have the chance to discover "The Story of Oak" and the crucial role it plays in producing The Macallan single malt.
The brand uses the highest percentage of sherry oak casks in the Scotch whisky industry – they are also the most expensive – and the new wood visitor area showcases the exceptional oak casks it sources from Jerez, Spain, and premium bourbon barrels from the United States.
The developments have also focused on creating guest accommodation for education visits on the estate for the first time.
Easter Elchies House has been completely refurbished and the old Ghillies Cottage, previously the home of the distillery manager, has also been converted in order to accommodate trade and corporate guests.
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Nov 06
2006

Deal makes whisky firm toast of the skies
GLASGOW airline Loganair is taking a quick nip to new heights.
The firm, which is based at Glasgow Airport, has tied up a deal with whisky firm Highland Park to brand its Orkney services in the distillers' livery.
Two of Loganair's Islander aircraft have been decked out in black with the words "The best spirit in the world" across their wings in the first branding of its kind by a scotch whisky company.
Loganair's Orkney inter-island service includes the world's shortest hop by scheduled airline: a two-minute flight from Westray to Papa Westray.
Visitors and first-time flyers will now not only receive a certificate as a memento of the flight but also a free miniature of Highland Park single malt.
Jason Craig, global controller for Highland Park, said: "We are delighted to have forged this relationship with Loganair and are thrilled with the new planes."
Articles Courtesy of Evening Times
Evening Times

Nov 06
2006

Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky Reveals Pack Redesign as Immaculate as Its Whisky
Highland Park, recently declared "The Best Spirit in the World"(1) by F. Paul Pacult and arguably the most respected single malt in the world, will unveil a stunning new brand redesign tonight at WhiskyFest New York. The creative brand redesign has been applied to the whisky's bottle, pack, logo and Web site, making the image of Highland Park as distinctive as its liquid. Highland Park's new bottle and pack are scheduled to reach U.S. markets in November, in time for this year's holiday gift-giving season.
While the bottle and packaging may be new, the unbroken tradition of reverent whisky making at Highland Park stretches back to 1798. The new redesign showcases the brand's 208-year Orkney heritage with inspiration taken from the island's Scandic roots, as well as from Highland Park's archived bottles. The redesign encompasses the complete Highland Park range, including new expressions released in the past 18 months (15- and 30-year-old).
Featuring a stylish and distinct oval shape, Highland Park's new pack is different from 95 percent of the malt market and includes a new label design which details information about the single malt and includes educational notes. The new "H" emblem, prominently highlighted on the pack and bottle, has authenticity and integrity dating back to the Orkney's 12th century Viking ancestry.
"More than 200 years of distilling tradition, attention to detail and honesty has earned Highland Park its award-winning reputation," said Russell Anderson, Highland Park distillery manager. "The rich, succulent complexity of this exceptional whisky inspires passion in single malt enthusiasts everywhere. It has balance, character and provenance and, in that, epitomizes all that is great about single malt Scotch whisky."
The quality of Highland Park rests within the five key fundamentals that set Highland Park apart. Highland Park's five keystones include:
-- Hand-Turned Malt which adds to the deliciously succulent, balanced
layers of aromatic character;
-- Aromatic Peat which gives a delectably seductive, luxuriant floral
smokiness to Highland Park, unlike any other single malt Scotch whisky;
-- Cool Maturation which enhances the smooth character found in Highland
Park;
-- Sherry Oak Casks that contribute to the whisky's distinctive richness
and multi-dimensional complexity; and
-- Cask Harmonization which ensures that consistency and balance are
achieved.
The redesign is part of a larger initiative by Highland Park's parent company, The Edrington Group of Scotland, which invested £18 million (nearly U.S. $33 million) in a global plan to double annual sales over the next five years and become one of the world's top 10 malts.
"Highland Park is arguably the most respected single malt in the world and has earned the respect of whisky critics worldwide," said Steve Cruty, Highland Park U.S. brand manager, Rémy Cointreau USA, Inc. "We expect industry experts, our loyal customers and new friends to take as much of a liking to the new distinctive brand imagery, packaging and bottle design as they have to the liquid inside," added Cruty."
Article Courtesy of Market Wire.com
Market Wire.com

Nov 04
2006

Core brands driving growth
Dufftown distiller William Grant and Sons Holdings says in its annual report that the business continued to develop during 2005, with particular emphasis being given to building core brands.
The family-owned firm, whose principal brands include The Glenfiddich and Balvenie single malt whiskies and Grant's blend, said in its annual report for 2005, just released by Companies House, that underlying cash flow from operations remained strong.
The directors' report also said turnover in 2005 from core activities had risen 6% on the previous year, driven mainly through its brands and spirit trading activities.
Reported group turnover, however, rose by only 3.8% year on year after The Grangestone Grain Company was discontinued at the end of 2004.
The report also shows the group underwent restructuring in 2005 and as part of this distributions of £200million were made to ordinary shareholders. Of this amount £100,116,000 was paid as a special dividend in cash by investment company Tree Realisations and £99,994,000 on the winding up of that company.
The accounts show pre-tax profits for the year were £77.28million, up from £71.22million the year before.
Dividends of £5.25million have been either paid or proposed.
Turnover for the year was £352.59million compared with £339.52million the year before.
The accounts also show that the unnamed highest-paid director received £353,000 (£872,000 in 2004), excluding pension contributions.
Meanwhile, the group's principal subsidiary William Grant and Sons made pre-tax profits of £139.34million in 2005 following losses of £4.07million the year before, according to its annual report for the year, just released by Companies House.
The company, which has the holding of investments as its main activity, does not disclose turnover.
The directors' report does say, however, that total dividends of £206.73million were paid during the year compared with dividends of £4.46million the previous year.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
Press & Journal

Nov 01
2006

Whisky giant looks to increase festive sales
Glenfiddich, the family-owned Scotch whisky brand, is investing £1m on a major festive marketing assault in a bid to secure a bigger share of seasonal malt whisky sales.
The UK-wide campaign, which kicks off on November 8, aims to capitalise on the dram's brand credentials as the whisky that was first distilled on Christmas Day 1887, and includes the strapline "inspiring great conversation since Christmas Day 1887".
Industry statistics show that last year 40% of all UK malt whisky sales took place over the Christmas quarter (more than two million bottles). And the latest market research also shows Glenfiddich in poll position as the UK's best-selling single malt.
Lindsey Tier, the Glenfiddich brand manager for distribution firm First Drinks, said: "This is a major campaign for our flagship brand. Glenfiddich is currently the UK's best selling single malt but without a doubt Christmas trading is absolutely critical for every malt whisky.
"Although known world-wide, it is still a handcrafted product created by a Scottish family-owned distiller committed to quality above all else, and it is the combination of its quality, history, great taste and gift ability that we aim to emphasise to festive buyers."
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald
October 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Oct 31
2006

Mallya adding Scotch to United Spirits
It is Scotch whisky brands that liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya desperately wants to add to United Spirits Ltd’s (USL) portfolio.
And that is why he is aggressively pursuing the Whyte & Mackay (W&M) deal, which could take the form of a business acquisition or just a liquid (new Scotch whisky fillings) sourcing and brand licensing pact.
But irrespective of whether he toasts a deal with W&M chairman Vivian Imerman or not, Mallya is going ahead with his plans of setting up a £1.5 milion Scotch whisky maturation facility in Scotland.
Mallya has already acquired a property in Perthshire in Scotland, and is in the process of putting up a racking facility.
Speaking to DNA Money United Breweries president and chief financial officer (CFO) A K Ravi Nedungadi said the firm would be ready with its racking facility in another five to six months after which they would start looking out for suppliers of liquids, which could be matured there. The matured Scotch whisky would then be blended with multiple spirits in India and sold across all markets.
It is at this juncture that W&M’s role would assume significance because it is a major supplier of bulk whisky. Mallya’s USL is interested in sourcing liquids from them. But if it is unable to strike a deal with W&M, it can always procure from other distilleries in the region. “Once we are ready with the racking facility, we will have to acquire liquid stocks for maturation. Whether it will be W&M or anyone else, we don’t know,” said Nedungadi.
It was during one such discussion for liquid sourcing pact that the idea for acquisition of W&M was put forth by USL to Imerman. But Nedungadi said it never went beyond that. USL’s business or brand acquisition moves were not driven by the motive of acquiring market, but only to gain a distribution network for its whisky brands, according to Nedungadi.
For the moment, however, he feels it is the Indian market that has a huge potential to grow.
“Today, less than one million cases of Scotch whisky are sold annually in India. “The demand for it is growing rapidly and is expected to be really big,” said Nedugadi.
And Mallya does not want to be missing in action when India’s tiny Scotch whisky market swells.
Article Courtesy of DNA India
DNA India

Oct 30
2006

Inver house distillers to join Thai beverage company
Inver House Distillers has announced it is to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Beverage Holdings (InterBev), the international arm of Thai Beverages (ThaiBev) - one of the largest alcoholic drinks companies in south-east Asia.
The acquisition of Inver House's parent Pacific Spirits UK, for an undisclosed but substantial eight-figure sum, will give Airdrie-based Inver House the benefits of integration into a multi-beverage group of companies with international distribution platforms and sales networks.
Inver House said the deal would also bring an increased focus on the development of its brand portfolio, which includes its single malt Scotch whiskies Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc, Speyburn and Balmenach, plus a range of whisky blends, Heather Cream liqueur and other spirits such as Kulov Imperial Vodka and Coldstream London Gin.
The company said its flagship single malt Old Pulteney, produced at Wick at the UK's most northerly mainland distillery, had enjoyed growing sales volume and international acclaim, winning a clutch of prestigious industry awards.
Operations at Inver House's headquarters and at its five distilleries - three in Speyside and one in the Dornoch Firth area besides the one in Wick - will be unchanged for the company's 150 Scottish-based staff.
Inver House managing director Graham Stevenson said the transaction would help take the company's brands to a new level in the global market.
He added: "The shift into InterBev will make an enormous difference in terms of improving our route to market and facilitating brand development and expansion in the future."
Inver House Distillers was founded in 1964, originally supplying the US market with the Inver House Green Plaid brand of blended Scotch whisky.
In 1988 the company was the subject of a management buyout.
It was then purchased by Pacific Spirits UK in 2001 and now exports to more than 80 countries worldwide. Pacific Spirits is part of the British Virgin Islands-based Great Oriole Group.
InterBev, established in 2003 to support the export and international business development of ThaiBev, also exports to over 80 countries globally.
Bangkok based-ThaiBev employs 20,000 people and enjoys a 60% share of the Thai beer market and a 74% share of the Thai spirits market.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
Press & Journal

Oct 30
2006

Whisky workers in back pain event
An event which aims to reduce the number of whisky industry workers who suffer from back pain has been launched by safety officials.
Conditions such as lower back pain and repetitive strain injuries are the most common form of work-related illness.
The Health and Safety Executive has teamed up with several whisky bodies in a bid to help industry employees, many of whom are engaged in manual work.
The workshop is being held in the Dewar Centre in Perth on Tuesday.
HSE inspector Gaynor Parry, who organised the workshop, said "muscoskeletal disorders" were a huge problem across many industry sectors.
Alison Galbraith, of the Scotch Whisky Association, added: "The industry has been taking steps to address manual handling incidents and, as a result, these have been consistently falling over the last 10 years.
"However, the industry is not complacent and we hope that this workshop will continue to highlight the risks of musculoskeletal disorders."
Article Courtesy of BBC News
BBC News

Oct 29
2006

Chinese taste for Scotch pushes up price
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Increased demand for Scotch whisky in China is a mixed blessing in Scotland, bringing profits for distillers and higher prices for local drinkers.
While Scotland sells far less Scotch to China than to more traditional purchasers like the United States and France, demand in China is rising rapidly, The Scotsman reported. Import taxes dropped from 65 percent to 10 percent after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Last year, Scottish exports of whisky to China rose 86 percent, and the first six months of 2006 saw another 30 percent increase. The Scottish Whisky Association expects China will break into the top 10 markets this year.
But a report in The Grocer predicts that prices will go up 10 percent in Scotland, or an average of 1 pound ($1.90) for a bottle of blended whisky.
"We have noticed there is not much whisky available to buy any more and what there is sells at a much higher price," said Duncan Baldwin, regional director at Angus Dundee Distillers.
Article Courtesy of United Press International
United Press International

Oct 27
2006

That’s the spirit as Scotch fights fakes
The battle against imitations of Scotch whisky is to be extended, with moves to make it illegal for foreign spirits to be described as Highland or Lowland. The same protection would also apply to Islay, Speyside, and Campbeltown.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is pushing for legislation at Holyrood that would boost protection for the industry. The legal move would help its case for giving the regional designations of single malts the same protection Scotch already enjoys.
If applied in international trade agreements, that would, for the first time, put Islay and Speyside in the same category as Champagne, Parma ham, Roquefort cheese, and Rioja wine from Spain, with protection from European trade law.
The move follows several incidences of foreign distillers passing off their product as Scottish. They are already barred from calling whisky Scottish or Scotch if it is not produced in Scotland, and the SWA pursues imitators in courts around the world, with five lawyers working full-time in Edinburgh.
This is seen as vital to protecting the £2.2bn export market, £350m of which was last year in the premium market for malts.
Now the SWA wants the legal backing to go after labels that appear to be Scottish through their use of the regional designations.
Among brands recently challenged through courts across Europe are Highland Gold Finest Whisky, produced in the Netherlands and Surinam, Lowlands Blended Whisky, produced in Spain, and Islay Whisky Cream, distilled in Italy.
To tackle these, the association has had to take action under a country's laws of passing off or of unfair competition. It requires them to prove first that Scotch whisky has a recognised reputation.
It then involves proving that misuse of the regional name, for example Highland, will result in consumers being deceived into thinking the product in question is a Scotch whisky.
"This can be a complex, time-consuming and costly process, depending on the market," said an SWA spokesman. "If the new proposals are adopted and regional names were recognised as geographical indications in UK law, it would be much easier to protect them against misuse."
Kenny Gray, of the legal department, said: "We used to keep a list of the actions we had taken, but the work has overtaken keeping up our lists. There's work to keep five lawyers busy, and there are always new things coming in."
But he added that there was a bright side: "It's a mark of a successful product that people will try to ride on the back of it in one form or another."
If backed by Holyrood, the SWA wants Highland, Speyside, and the other designations to be added to an EU list of Geographical Indications (GIs) which members of the World Trade Organisation would be obliged to protect, without having to prove deception.
Meanwhile, the Treasury has rejected Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt's call for increased taxes on alcohol, saying it is up to her department to combat binge drinking.
Sources indicated the proposal was unlikely to get off the ground because it would punish responsible drinkers in an attempt to change the behaviour of a small minority.
Tax was "too blunt an instrument" to tackle the youngsters' drinking habits, the sources said.
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Oct 26
2006

Nevis Rebrands The Scotch Whisky Experience
The Scotch Whisky Experience, formerly the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre (SWHC) was launched in July 1987 in Edinburgh, when 19 individual Scotch Whisky companies jointly invested £2m to create a permanent exhibition of the history and development of Scotch whisky. Since then the SWHC has developed into one of Scotland’s most iconic visitor attractions offering a range of fascinating products and services.
Coinciding with its 18th year in business, The Scotch Whisky Experience is embarking on the most ambitious investment project of its history. Over £2 million pounds will be spent over the next two years with a view to raising the venue’s status from a 5-star visitor attraction to a world-class experience.
The development of the venue will consist of a three-stage campaign:
Stage one, completed in June 2006 and costing £400,000, focused on improving the centre’s frontage with a striking new glass entrance feature, LED lit window displays and major stonework repairs. In addition, the Scotch Whisky Experience has embarked on an ambitious rebranding campaign so expect to see a fresh look, with a new name – The Scotch Whisky Experience, rebranding and implementation. Much of this work is being undertaken by Edinburgh-based Nevis Design Consultants.
Having undertaken an exhaustive research project involving several creative and PR agencies, the most positive results refocused on the Scotch Whisky Experience’s recent revamp of their in-house restaurant completed by Nevis.
The Amber restaurant concept was based on using feature ingredients of many of the dishes. Images of whisky coulee-like droplets (amber jewels)
drizzled around a plate, was designed to form a bold identity that informed passers-by that the centre had a restaurant in the basement.
The problem of communicating to a passing audience was also at the forefront of branding issues for the renamed Scotch Whisky Experience. With many of the Centre’s visitors being foreign tourists (on their way to or returning from Edinburgh Castle), it was crucial to create a bold visual element, avoiding the possible language barriers. Nevis were asked to reinterpret the original Amber branding for The Scotch Whisky Experience with SWE appearing to be the parent of the original Amber brand. Individual droplets were shot again, this time they would appear more three-dimensional and be more whisky-generic in colour. A stacked asymmetric logotype used the same typeface as Amber, again to reinforce the relationship.
As well as the usual requirements, the new branding will appear on items ranging from presentation materials, way-finding, to various packaging projects. The second and third stages, costing £600,000 and £1 million pounds respectively, will be an enhancement to the centre’s Scotch Whisky tour, and the iconic barrel ride. The Scotch Whisky tour, due for completion February 2007, will introduce a more sensory experience for visitors, represented through touch, taste, sound and smell.
The barrel ride, due for completion at the start of 2008, will undergo a complete overhaul, with improvements to the content and theme of the ride. The aim is to provide an entertaining and interesting education about whisky production in Scotland.
Article Courtesy of The Allmediascotland.com
Allmedia
scotland

Oct 24
2006

First gold medal for Ballantine’s Finest
Ballantine’s Finest has won its first International Spirits Challenge (ISC) gold medal at this year’s competition in the category of Scotch blends 11 years old and under.
Ballantine’s, one of the world’s finest scotch whiskies, is now a priority brand for Chivas Brothers, following Pernod Ricard’s acquisition of Allied Domecq last year.
In its 11th year, the International Spirits Challenge is highly regarded by the whisky industry as an awards scheme of integrity and authority. ISC Category chairman for Whisky John Ramsay, said: “The fact that Ballantine’s Finest has been awarded the gold medal in this traditionally tough category is a very precious accolade and a testament to its quality.”
Ballantine’s Finest is imported, distributed and marketed by Wands Ltd, a subsidiary of the Farsons Group of Companies, and is available at leading restaurants, bars, supermarkets and bottle shops and directly from Wands Cash and Carry in Marsa.
Article Courtesy of Malta Independent
Malta Independent

Oct 21
2006

Scot distils dram of the Auld Enemy
IT translates from the Gaelic as the “water of life” and its smell alone is enough to evoke the peaty burns and the heather-clad glens of the Scottish Highlands.
Now, in a move that will have traditionalists gagging on their cask-conditioned single malts, a Scots distiller is to begin the production of whisky in England.
To compound what many Scots will see as an act of treason, Andrew Currie, founder of the award-winning Isle of Arran distillery, intends to name one of his products “Auld Enemy”.
It is believed to be only the second whisky produced south of the border and the first by a Scotsman. The master distiller has crossed the Cheviots to launch Lakeland Distillers near Kendal, Cumbria. The traditional Highland-style distillery is housed inside a former 19th-century bobbin mill on the banks of the River Kent.
Currie, from Ayrshire, said the venture was inspired by his father Harold, a former managing director of Chivas, who first recognised the whisky making potential of the Lake District.
“He was travelling back to Scotland and noticed the mountains and the beautiful clear water,” he said. “My father saw that the conditions were ideal for whisky making and wondered why there were no distilleries there.”
Currie hopes to produce 25,000 litres of English single malt every year. Initially it will be produced using barley imported from Scotland. However, Currie has persuaded local farmers to cultivate the grain and they will begin supplying the distillery next year.
“We will be using the exact same rules and procedures as in Scotland,” he said. “It was suggested that we should come up with a unique spelling and call it whiskee, to highlight that it was from England. But I will be using the time-honoured traditional spelling of whisky because I am Scottish.”
Alongside the flagship Barley Bridge English single malt, the distillery will also produce Bootlegger Blend, English whisky blended with Scotch.
“I understand that the idea of English whisky may raise eyebrows among some traditionalists, but we are only a small distillery and there is room for everyone,” he said.
“We think that an English single malt will be popular locally as well as in America, France and Germany. However, it is fair to say that we are not expecting great sales north of the border.”
John Kaylor, chairman of the Perthshire branch of the Tartan Army, described the idea of English whisky as “sacrilege”.
“I’m sure no real Scot would touch a drop of it,” he said. “The only good thing about an English dram is that it might mean they are unable to morris dance properly.
“The English have every right to produce whisky, but they should be made to call it whiskey, like the Irish and Americans, so the whole world will know it is not the real thing.”
Ian Hudghton, a Nationalist MEP who has campaigned for the European Union to protect the term “Scotch whisky” in both English and Gaelic, was equally unimpressed. “When I heard the idea of English whisky I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1,” he said.
Article Courtesy of The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times

Oct 19
2006

Is this the world's oldest bottle of whisky?
A bottle of whisky - believed to be the oldest in the world - is to be sold at auction next month.
The rare Victorian Scotch is thought to be over 150 years old and is expected to fetch up to £10,000 - £300 a shot - at Bonhams Sale of Fine Wine, Port and Spirits in London.
The bottle's label reads "Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky Bottled by the Distillers".
Would you pay £300 for a wee dram of the world's oldest whisky? Tell us in readers' comments below.
Research by the auctioneers shows Glenavon closed down in the 1850s, meaning that if it was bottled by the distillers it will be one of the oldest bottles of whisky ever to be auctioned.
The bottle has been put up for sale by a woman from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, whose family has had it for generations.
Bonhams is maintaining client confidentiality, but said the woman remembers the bottle being in her grandmother's home in the 1920s.
The bottle is an unusual size, slightly smaller than the familiar 75cl, and made from olive-green glass. The liquid appears to be pale gold and the level is surprisingly high for such an old bottle - almost to the neck - said Bonhams.
The Glenavon Distillery was situated at Ballindalloch in Spayside where the River Avon meets the River Spay. It was recorded as operating in 1851 and licensed to a John G Smith in 1852.
John Gordon Smith was the son of George Smith, founder of the nearby Glenlivet Distillery, and he joined his father in the business in 1846, helping him establish a small distillery at Delnabo in 1849.
Charles MacLean, Bonhams' consultant and world authority on whisky, has been researching the origins of the elderly bottle.
He said: "It has been suggested that Delnabo and Glenavon have been one and the same. What is certain is that the Smiths closed Delnabo in 1858 and in the following year they consolidated all their distilleries - including Glenavon/Delnabo - at Minmore, the site of the present Glenlivet Distillery."
Mr MacLean added: "Since the label reads 'Glenavon' and 'Bottled by the Distillers' it implies that it was bottled before the move to Minmore."
Northern Ireland boasts the oldest licensed distillery in the world - Bushmills Irish Whiskey has been produced in the Co Antrim village since the licence was granted in 1608.
If the seller achieves the £10,000 price at the auction she could fill her home with 557 bottles of Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey.
Article Courtesy of This is London
This is London

Oct 19
2006

Glenfiddich launches mailing campaign for limited edition malt
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

Oct 17
2006

Diageo Holds Annual Sales and Profit Growth
Diageo Plc, the world's largest liquor maker, maintained its forecasts for growth in annual sales and profit after market share gains in North America and ``strong growth'' in Latin America during its fiscal first quarter.
The company isn't changing forecasts made in August, when it said net sales growth this fiscal year excluding acquisitions would be similar to the prior year's 6 percent and operating profit would rise at least 7 percent on the same basis.
``Trading in the first quarter supports that guidance and therefore we reiterate that fiscal 07 guidance this afternoon,'' Chief Executive Officer Paul Walsh said today in a statement released ahead of Diageo's annual general meeting in London.
Profit almost doubled in the prior fiscal year's second half as the distiller, whose products include Smirnoff vodka, sold more spirits in countries including the U.S., China and Brazil. Diageo has altered its strategy to commit more resources to developing regions including Asia, where the company raised liquor sales by 15 percent in the latest financial year.
Diageo shares rose 2 pence to 954.5 pence at 3:25 p.m. in London. They have gained 15 percent in the past year, trailing the 18 percent gain by the eight-member Bloomberg Europe Beverages Index. Stock in Paris-based Pernod Ricard SA, the industry's second-biggest company, has added 16 percent.
North America
``There's no way they would raise their guidance with nine months still to go,'' said Rob Mann, an analyst at Collins Stewart Tullett Plc in London, who recommends investors buy Diageo shares. ``It's a very good level of net sales growth and in terms of operating profit growth, everyone hopes it to be conservative.'' He estimates operating profit growth excluding acquisitions of 8.5 percent for the year.
In North America, the company made further market share gains during its first quarter, according to the statement. Diageo has ``delivered a stronger performance'' in continental Europe and ``double-digit top line growth'' in Russia, ``but this has been offset by weakness'' in the Spanish premium drinks market and slower sales of Guinness in Ireland and Britain, it said.
The company's international division, including Asia, Africa and Latin America, had ``further strong top line growth'' in the period, Diageo said. The Middle East and global travel unit faced ``some specific challenges'' in the quarter, which was offset by ``continued strong growth'' in Latin America.
`Clear Priorities'
``We now have clear priorities when allocating resources to our brands,'' CEO Walsh said at the annual meeting. In China, ``as consumers become more economically empowered they are turning to premium brands, especially scotch,'' he said.
Melissa Earlam, an analyst at UBS AG in London with a ``buy'' recommendation on Diageo stock, estimates growth this fiscal year at 6.3 percent in net sales excluding acquisitions and 8.4 percent in earnings before interest and taxes.
North America remains a ``real engine of growth'' for Diageo, Chief Financial Officer Nicholas Rose said in August. The company is benefiting from a preference for liquor and wine over beer in the U.S., the world's biggest spirits market by value, that's spurring sales of beverages including its Jose Cuervo tequila and Chalone wines.
Article Courtesy of Bloomberg
Bloomberg

Oct 16
2006

China among top ten consumers of scotch whisky
China has emerged as one of the top ten consumers of scotch whisky in the world, ahead of India which remains a closed market due to its high import duty.
"In an exciting growth, we have seen China entering the top 10 market this year," a spokesman of the Scotch Whisky Association told a news agency today.
He said five years ago China was 75th, importing just USD one million worth scotch whisky. Now it has shot up to more than USD 50 million.
Chinese have also found a new way to drink scotch, mixing it with iced green tea. Last year more than 20 million bottles were sold to China and this year the figure is expected to reach 30 million.
He said "India is a market of potential for scotch whisky but its high import duty makes it a closed market."
America remains the industry's largest market by value, worth around USD 370 million, with France second and Spain third.
Article Courtesy of Zee News
Zee News

Oct 13
2006

Publicis Dialog launches email push for Laphroaig whisky
Publicis Dialog has launched a prospect acquisition campaign for the Laphroaig single malt whisky brand.
The campaign is the first direct mail activity for the brand for five years and encourages existing Laphroaig customers to forward on contact details of friends.
Being targeted are around 90,000 UK based customers who signed up to a previous campaign, called "Friends of Laphroaig", which offered a square foot of land on Islay, the Scottish island where the brand was created in 1815.
Around 25,000 "friends" are being initially asked via email asked to supply email addresses of up to three friends in return for entry into a prize draw to win a trip to Islay. New contacts will be sent a special Laphroaig presentation box, containing a 5cl miniature.
Drew Munro, UK marketing director at Beam Global Spirits & Wine, which acquired the brand from Pernod Ricard last year, said: "Our existing 'Friends of Laphroaig' are our most passionate ambassadors who are often almost evangelical about this famous Islay whisky. This promotion offers existing members the opportunity to share this passion with their own friends with our compliments."
Claudia Simms, Publicis Dialog UK brand navigator, said: "The campaign utilises the power of loyal consumer recommendation while maintaining a sense of surprise and discovery for the new members."
Publicis Dialog won the Beam Global Spirits & Wine account earlier this year.
Article Courtesy of Brand Republic
Brand Republic

Oct 12
2006

Glenfiddich gets toasted
Glenfiddich is launching a limited edition Glenfiddich Toasted Oak Reserve 12 Year Old across the UK for Christmas.
Distributed by First Drinks Brands, the new product is another variant to be added to the extensive Glenfiddich single malt range.
The whisky was created using hand-selected casks whose toasted interior had released a distinct amount of vanillin from the wood leading to a rich, gently spiced, sweet vanilla aroma from the whisky.
The 195-litre barrels, which had been used to mature American whiskey before being shipped to Scotland and filled with Glenfiddich, are the smallest standard casks used to store Scotch whisky.
After the contents of the casks were vatted together, the single malt was refilled into casks for a three-month marrying period to ensure consistency throughout the small batch production prior to bottling.
Glenfiddich malt master David Stewart said: “In recent years, we have come a long way in understanding the impact wood has on the final flavour of maturing spirit. Glenfiddich Toasted Oak Reserve reflects this knowledge as only casks that give the perfect vanilla and oak flavour to the spirit have been selected for this bottling.”
The range of single malt scotch whiskies includes the Glenfiddich Special Reserve 12 Year Old, Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 Year Old, Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18 Year Old, Glenfiddich Gran Reserva 21 Year Old, Glenfiddich 30 Year Old and a number of rare whiskies and limited editions.
Article Courtesy of The Publican
The Publican

Oct 09
2006

Whyte & Mackay gets Indian offer
Scottish distiller Whyte & Mackay has confirmed that Indian drinks magnate Vijay Mallya has made a takeover bid.
Chairman Vivian Immerman denied reports that his company had been sold to Mr Mallya's United Breweries, but said he had made an unsolicited bid.
Whyte & Mackay's brands include the Jura and Dalmore single malt whiskies, Vladivar Vodka and Glayva liqueur.
United Breweries (UB) dominates the Indian spirits market, the world's largest for whisky.
UB is the world's third biggest shipper of spirits after Pernod Ricard and Diageo.
Mr Mallya also owns the Kingfisher beer brand airline, a fashion label and other industrial businesses.
Whyte & Mackay is an attractive proposition because it has a large stock of aged single malt whisky, which could be blended with Indian-produced whisky to improve the flavour and add a touch of authenticity.
Indian tariffs
India's surging economy and fast-growing middle class has produced greater demand for more expensive imported whisky brands.
But Scottish whisky only has a 1% foothold in the Indian market because of the tariffs imposed by national and state governments there.
"The liquor industry has gone through quite a growth spurt, especially in Asia, and we are reviewing all our strategic options," said Mr Immerman.
"It's fair to say we are taking his interest in our business very seriously. He makes good quality products in his business, and has some of the biggest volumes in the world."
Mr Immerman added that other bidders were interested in buying parts of the business, which includes a distillery and own-label whisky operation as well as its brands.
He said that the company was at a "fairly advanced" stage in deciding what its forward strategy would be.
It recently invested £110m in a restructuring and relaunch of its brands.
White & Mackay has about 9% of the worldwide Scotch whisky market.
Mr Immerman is the main investor in the company, along with Iranian property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz.
Article Courtesy of BBC News
BBC News

Oct 06
2006

Old Pulteney Sets Sail to Support the RNLI
Representatives of Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky were welcomed on board RNLI lifeboat, Roy Barker II, to mark its donation to the charity - one of UK’s most vital and long-established institutions- which will provide full training for 2 lifeboat station crews.
The Wick lifeboat station was established in 1848, a short distance from Pulteney distillery, and the local crew celebrated Old Pulteney’s support by taking Brand Manager, Iain Baxter, out on the water as thanks for the brand’s substantial contribution.
Iain Baxter, Old Pulteney’s Brand Manager commented;
‘With our maritime heritage we are delighted to support the RNLI and help raise the profile of their fantastic work in the UK and Ireland. We hope that this is the beginning of a long standing commitment to the charity.”
Old Pulteney, known as ‘The Genuine Maritime Malt’, will be sold in special RNLI promotional tubes from which £2 of each sale will be donated to the charity. The packaging will carry information on the incredible work of the RNLI along Britain’s shores, as well as details on how to support their efforts. The limited edition 70cl bottles will be widely available in major stores from the Christmas period.
Richard Popper, Head of Central Fundraising and Communications at the RNLI says;
‘Every day a lifeboat crew risk their lives, even on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the service never stops. We are grateful to Old Pulteney, for helping us to raise awareness of the charity in this way, and the generous donation which will enable our volunteers to carry on the tradition of saving lives at sea.’
Old Pulteney will also be supporting the RNLI by donating single malt whisky to help raise funds and will work with the charity at their sea-faring events including Windfest, the London Boat show and Cowes Week.
The Pulteney Distillery is 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. The coopers who made the barrels for the fish also worked on barrels of whisky, and many fishermen worked in the distillery when not at sea. As well as its heritage, Old Pulteney has a distinctive dry, ‘salty’ taste, influenced by its windswept location and nearby sea.
Article Courtesy of Old Pulteney
Old Pulteney

Oct 02
2006

Blackwood launches Muggle Flugga dram
BLACKWOOD Distillers has moved to affirm its commitment towards building Shetland’s first whisky distillery after the international whisky community raised some doubts as to the direction the company was taking.
Last month, Military Asset Management, on behalf of Blackwood, applied for planning consent to convert parts of the former RAF base at Saxa Vord into a bonded warehouse, rather than a whisky distillery.
Over the weekend, chief executive of Blackwood Distillers, Caroline Whitfield, assured the global whisky community that plans to build Scotland’s most northerly whisky distillery were on track.
She said that planning consent for the distillery would be sought within the next two months, with a view to destill the first Blackwood single malt on site, later in 2007.
Meanwhile, however, the company wants to finish three different eight year old Speyside whiskies in sherry and bourbon casks, in Unst, and sell those as a vatted whisky under a new Muggle Flugga brand.
The thinking behind this move, Ms Whitfield said, was to produce a Blackwood branded whisky at an earlier date, which also would help to finance the distillery project. Blackwood is already producing a number of up market white spirits products.
Ms Whitfield said: “The bonded warehouse is part of the whisky distillery. Having the bonded warehouse converted straightaway means we can start to use it for something customers are already asking us for, which is some form of whisky coming from Blackwood.
“It is being called Muggle Flugga (the most northerly rocks of the UK) to reflect the proximity to where it is being matured. It will be marketed mainly through specialist whisky shops, initially in the UK.
“A lot of the interest we have is in the Far East where they are looking for something not quite as expensive as a single malt, but nicer than a generic blended whisky.”
Building a whisky distillery in Shetland was first announced towards the end of 2002. Blackwood eventually obtained planning permission and building warrant for a site at Catfirth, near South Nesting, earlier this year, but decided to move its plans to the island of Unst, after Royal Air Force left the island and plunged it into an economic crisis.
Ms Whitfield said that a planning application to convert parts of the former RAF transport building into a distillery should be lodged with the local authority before the end of the year.
The hope is that the conversion work can begin in June next year with first distillation before the end of 2007, she said.
“One of the benefits of the new site here is its size. While the capacity at Nesting was 40,000 cases a year, here the capacity is around 60,000 cases. That is about half of what Laphroig produces, to put it in context.
“For the vatted malt we are looking at about 5,000 to 10,000 cases. It is an ongoing thing in the background, to have two different whiskies, as we have two options in vodka, a more expensive one and a more mainline one for different markets.”
Article Courtesy of Shetland News
Shetland News
September 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Sep 29
2006

William Grant acquires UK drinks distribution business
Independent family-owned distillers William Grant & Sons have confirmed the purchase of their joint venture shareholder Bacardi Martini's 50% share in First Drinks Brands, the UK distribution business. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
First Drinks was set up as a joint venture company 50-50 owned by William Grant and Bacardi in 1996, and today distributes William Grant's total UK portfolio of brands, including Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky, Grant's Scotch whisky and Hendrick's Gin.
The company also manages the distribution, sales and marketing for Benedictine Liqueur and for other third party agency brands including De Kuyper/Warninks, Disaronno, Mateus and Amarula in the UK.
"This move underlines William Grant & Sons' long term commitment to First Drinks Brands as a brand-building company managing the continued growth of our portfolio of brands as well as third-party brands in the UK, which remains an important strategic market for our global business," commented William Grant's CEO Roland van Bommel.
William Grant now has wholly-owned subsidiary companies in the US, China and Taiwan, and it is hoped that the acquisition of First Drinks will significantly increase the company's control of its route-to-market.
Article Courtesy of Drinks Business Review
Drinks Business Review

Sep 26
2006

Whyte & Mackay Ltd. Begins New Sales and Marketing Strategy for Core Brands
Whyte & Mackay Ltd. today announced its new sales and marketing strategy for promoting its core brands. The new direction comes following the company’s 1 September announcement that it was parting ways with its distribution company and taking back control of its flagship brands, Whyte & Mackay and Vladivar. Leading the company during this key transition and towards its broader strategic goals is Stewart Lawrie, UK managing director of Whyte & Mackay Ltd.
“This is a very exciting period for the company when we are investing significantly in our resources and brands,” said Mr. Lawrie. “In the past, our assets have been relatively under-utilized. Currently, we are in the process of re-branding our core brands, looking forward to the opening of our state-of-the-art production facility in Grangemouth, Scotland and completing key appointments that bring expertise from diverse backgrounds. This strategic investment will put our flagship brands at the heart of the action, better capitalizing on the passion of our teams, and taking them to the next level in the marketplace.”
The markets for the Company’s two main brands, blended whisky and vodka, are both massive in size and dynamic in nature. Whyte & Mackay has witnessed a 14% sales growth since beginning its re-branding initiatives six months ago, which has helped the brand regain off-trade leadership in its heartland of Scotland. Vladivar’s numbers, yet to be released, are expected show double-digit growth.
The investment required to bring these two brands in house is significant – new teams, infrastructure and resources will supported endeavor. This decision supported Whyte & Mackay Ltd.’s other strategic marketing investments, building stronger brand platforms across the organization.
In order to support this distribution handover, the UK management team has recently established a new blueprint for their marketing function, redefining best practices in the industry:
Action-focused Teams to Rebuild Consumer Brands
Creativity has been placed at the very heart of Whyte & Mackay Ltd.’s processes. Rather than using external creative agencies, the company has set up an in house branding team who are working directly with the company’s other functions to breathe new life into the brands and revitalize the way that traditional functions can be approached to add value for the company, their customers and the end-market consumers.
By bringing the process in house, the Company has been able to complete its repackaging initiatives in record time, completing over 20 products in a quarter of the time than would be typical for the industry. The team has also drawn up a fully integrated marketing and promotional plan, launched new websites for its core brands, and commenced consumer-focused PR campaigns in the marketplace.
Customer service
From the ground-level up in sales, the organization is taking a more channel-driven approach with closer collaboration and more investment in quality customer relationships than is traditionally witnessed from their peers. In designing their ‘next generation’ sales team, Whyte & Mackay Ltd. have and will continue to recruit at all levels as they continue to increase their presence in the UK. By staying relatively small, the teams remain agile, determining the areas that add genuine value for their customers and reliably delivering on such.
Investment in Diversified Skill sets
Without forgetting the importance of drinks industry experience, Whyte & Mackay Ltd. has identified and brought-on-board visionaries from across the FMCG spectrum. These hires have helped to revolutionize the Company’s processes with insights driven by their diverse, yet complementary, past experiences.
The management team, led by Mr. Lawrie and Bob Brannan, Global Managing Director of Whyte & Mackay Ltd., has been chosen based on their proven track records of innovation in their respective industries, as well as their abilities to drive quantifiable results.
“True to our Glaswegian roots, we plan on keeping an entrepreneurial and agile spirit to our company as we take opportunities, local or global in scope,” said Mr. Brannan. “Stewart and his team are making impressive strides to strengthen our brands at a national level, revolutionising the industry’s marketing model in the process. Although we are very excited to be strengthening our reach into international markets, we are clear that the Company needs to win at home first, creating a benchmark by which we can measure our global wins.”
About Whyte & Mackay Ltd.
Whyte & Mackay Ltd. is a producer of premium quality spirits, including Whyte & Mackay Blended Scotch, Jura Single Malt whisky, The Dalmore Highland whisky, Glayva whisky liqueur and Vladivar Vodka. Headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland, the Company employs over 600 staff on sites around Scotland and the UK. In the near future, the company will be adding its new all-purpose state-of-the-art production facility in Grangemouth, Scotland to its other Scottish distilleries, which include the Isle of Jura (situated off the west coast of Scotland) and The Dalmore (based in Ross-shire).
Article Courtesy of Business Wire.com
Business Wire.com

Sep 25
2006

US gets taste for dram cocktails
SCOTTISH whisky exports to the US hit record levels during the first half of 2006 on the back of a growing thirst for dram-spiked cocktails.
According to the latest figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), exports by value increased by 13% to £172 million from January until June compared to the same period in 2005.
Those figures included a 1% rise in value of bottled malts and an 18% rise in value of bottled blends, making the US the industry’s largest export market. Total exports had also jumped by 9% to the equivalent of 58 million bottles.
SWA spokesman David Williamson said: “It is encouraging to see both malts and blends growing. Scottish whisky is increasingly being used in cocktails. At the same time, consumers are looking for quality and authenticity, which Scottish whisky has in abundance.”
The association hopes to build on that momentum with a series of events in Washington this week. It will co-host with the US Distilled Spirits Council and the British Embassy a whisky tasting which will be attended by a range of US politicians, media and trade officials. Another event will be held at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s residence), just outside Washington.
Article Courtesy of The Sunday Herald
The Sunday Herald

Sep 22
2006

Pernod on the prowl as net profit rises 32%
Pernod Ricard yesterday indicated it was on the prowl for acquisitions to strengthen its position in the US, and that it is watching closely what the new Swedish government will do with Absolut vodka owner, Vin & Sprit.
The Absolut vodka brand is the second most valuable in the US, according to industry data. It is currently distributed through the Maxxium joint venture that Vin & Sprit has with Rémy Cointreau, Fortune Brands, and Glasgow-based Edrington Group, which owns The Famous Grouse and The Macallan.
Pierre Pringuet, managing director of the French spirits giant, yesterday said the group's reduced debt levels would give it some room to look at acquisitions.
He added: "Our favourite targets? Anything that could strengthen our position in North America, and in particular in the United States."
Asked whether Pernod would be interested in Vin & Sprit, the Swedish state alcohol monopoly, if it is privatised as suggested in the new Swedish government's election manifesto, he said: "Pernod Ricard will watch very closely what happens in this case."
He was speaking as the spirits group reported a sharp rise in full-year earnings on the back of its takeover of Allied Domecq.
Net profit rose 32% to €639m (£426m), up from a pro-forma €484m a year earlier. It was the first time Pernod had reported full-year earnings under a new July 1 to June 30 fiscal year.
However, the more closely- watched underlying operating profit rose 72% to €1.26bn - below the average forecast of €1.3bn.
Pernod said the operating profit figure included a €50m contribution from brands such as Bushmills and Glen Grant Scotches that were sold after the Allied Domecq merger.
The figures were boosted by a solid performance from its marque Scotch whisky brands, with an 11% increase in sales of Chivas and a 10% boost for Glenlivet.
Some analysts were disappointed the group did not raise its target for operational savings from the integration of Allied, while others were concerned about earnings power going forward given the company's planned rise in advertising spend.
Andrew Holland at Dresdner Kleinwort said: "They are talking about 6% organic sales growth which is pretty healthy and similar to Diageo, but like Diageo the whole industry is upweighting its marketing spending in emerging markets."
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Sep 22
2006

Whyte & Mackay will only be available for the right price
The chief executive of privately-owned distiller Whyte & Mackay yesterday signalled that if Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya really wants to buy the company he will have to pay a premium for it.
Mallya, India's biggest beer and spirits mogul, has been named as the front-runner in a battle to acquire Glasgow-based Whyte & Mackay, and is understood to be mulling a bid worth about £460m.
However, Bob Brannan, Whyte & Mackay's managing director, yesterday said: "This company is doing some extraordinary things. Among other other things, we're involved a brand relaunch, we're rapidly growing our distribution and we're investing heavily in a new bottling plant. The problem is that this is a work in progress, and acquirers don't tend to pay for works in progress. They want to buy something for what it's worth at a given moment, not what it's potentially worth.
"In saying that, if someone came along with a price that took our potential into account, we'd consider it."
Whyte & Mackay's most recent accounts filed at Companies House reveal that operating profits increased by 28% in the 12 months to September 30, 2005, to £11.1m, on turnover up 4% to £149m.
The profit figure is stated after charging £8.6m of exceptional costs relating to the restructuring, including redundancy payments.
Whyte & Mackay chairman and chief executive Vivian Immerman, together with property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, Immerman's brother-in-law, last year bought out the last external shareholder to take control of the group. The company has become something of a bid target over the past six months as its fortunes have improved.
The distiller, which is undergoing the final stages of a major £100m root-and-branch restructuring aimed at switching the focus away from bulk and private-label business to its own brands, reclaimed its number-one position for Scotch whisky in the Scottish off-trade in the two months to June.
It also successfully relaunched its flagship Whyte & Mackay label recently along with Vladivar vodka and Jura single malt whisky.
In a recent interview, Brannan told The Herald it was this rise in own-label prices, combined with the rising demand for aged Scotch and the growth of emerging markets in Asia and Latin-America, that was behind the company's decision not to sell Highland distillery at Invergordon, the largest grain distillery in Europe.
Meanwhile, the chief financial officer for United Breweries, Mallya's company, last month confirmed negotiations had taken place between Whyte & Mackay and the brewer of popular Indian beer Kingfisher – and Mallya is thought to have already lined up ICICI Bank to back a potential bid.
Mallya, who also owns India's Kingfisher airline, is understood to be keenly interested in buying a major UK distiller. Observers say Mallya believes that acquiring Whyte & Mackay's wide distribution network will also help him sell his own Indian-made whiskies and rums throughout the European Union.
Buying Whyte & Mackay, which also owns Dalmore single malt, gives him access to the company's distilleries and the option to use its whiskies to blend with his own cheap Indian brands, such as Bagpiper.
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Sep 19
2006

Springbank distillers release 2 New whiskies

Hazelburn 8 year old
Hazelburn 8 year old (46%abv) is the third Single Malt to be distilled and bottled at Springbank Distillery. It is un-peated and triple distilled.
First distilled in 1996, upon the return of Frank McHardy from Bushmills Distillery, the First Edition of Hazelburn was released as a limited edition 8 year old in 2005.
The new release of Hazelburn 8 year old will take it place alongside Springbank and Longrow 10 year old in the standard range of products available from Scotland's oldest family owned distillery.
Wood Type - 60% Bourbon/40% Sherry
Strength - 46% abv
Annual Outturn - 6000 bottles
TASTING NOTE
COLOUR Pale gold
NOSE Light and delicate, the 8 yo Hazelburn has subtle nuances of raspberry coulis, shortbread and sherbet. Sweet vanilla, malt and white oak are also in evidence.
PALATE Elegantly sweet and malty. Loads of vanilla flavour combines well with toasty oak notes leading to a spicey aftertaste. No smokiness in triple distilled Hazelburn .
FINISH A slightly peppery finish to a refined and elegant dram

Springbank 7yo Bourbon/Marsala
Springbank Distillers Ltd are proud to announce the release of latest whisky in the Wood Expression series
Aged for 7 years in Re-fill bourbon and 2 years in fresh marsala, this 9 year old whisky was matured until Frank McHardy felt that the balance between the Masala wine casks and the Springbank spirit was acheived.
Distilled - October 1996
Bottled - August 2006
Strength - 58% abv
Outturn - 7740 bottles
TASTING NOTE
COLOUR Russet
NOSE Sugar and spice and all things nice! Rich, sweet and syrupy. Crème caramel, coffee creams and rum and raisin. Forget dessert, just have this instead!
PALATE Thick and rich on the palate, the sweetness from the nose develops and stays at the front of your tongue. Hints of fruit and nut chocolate
FINISH Long and lingering. The Marsala and Springbank compliment each other without either being too dominant. A perfect balance.

Article Courtesy of Springbank Distillers

Springbank

Sep 18
2006

Diageo Triumphs at the International Wine and Spirit Competition
Diageo, the world's leading spirits, beer and wine company, announced today that it has received 66 medals and 3 trophies at the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition. The annual event, which was held over the course of four months, hosted the most renowned food and beverage professionals who sampled products across several different drinks categories in a blind tasting.
Diageo's beverage portfolio received numerous accolades from the judge's panel collecting a total of 13 Gold/Best in Class, 1 Gold, 8 Silver/Best in Class, 34 Silver and 10 Bronze medals. Diageo Scotch whiskies performed exceptionally well garnering three trophies, Blended Scotch Whisky, Single Malt Scotch Whiskey (15 years & under) and Single Malt Scotch Whisky (over 15 years).
"We are honored to receive this number of medals. It is evidence of the great emphasis we place on quality from the huge global brands like Johnnie Walker, to the rare malts and our impressive North American whiskies," remarked Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo US Spirits.
North American Whiskies also contributed to Diageo's phenomenal showing, with Crown Royal XR, Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel setting the precedent at the top of their respective tasting categories.
Article Courtesy of PR Newswire
PR Newswire

Sep 18
2006

Major whisky brand to sponsor Game's On
One of Britain's most exclusive malt whisky brands has added its backing to BASC's Game's On campaign.
Glenfarclas Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky has agreed to sponsor the Game's On website and a new game recipe leaflet which aims to promote game to a wider audience.
Glenfarclas, which has been established for 165 years, is still distilled and matured at the family owned and run distillery in Banffshire, Scotland.
BASC's Director of Operations, Simon Hamlyn, said; "I am delighted that Glenfarclas Whisky is sponsoring our Game's On campaign this year. The initiative has already been hugely successful since its launch last year and this sponsorship deal will help us promote game to even more people."
John Grant, Chairman of Glenfarclas, said; "Well presented and well prepared game followed by a superb malt, such as ours, is one of life's great pleasures. I am really pleased that Glenfarclas will be involved with the excellent Game's On initiative, and wish it every success for the future"
Article Courtesy of Politics.co.uk

Politics.co.uk

Sep 13
2006

Bacardi Limited Elects New Directors to Board; Bacardi Further Strengthens Corporate Governance
Facundo L. Bacardi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bacardi Limited, today announced three new directors have been elected to serve on the Company's Board of Directors.
"These highly accomplished individuals bring vast experience in the consumer products industry to Bacardi's Board of Directors. They are distinguished business leaders who offer unique insights into premium brands," said Mr. Bacardi. "The appointments also demonstrate the Company's continued strong commitment to good corporate governance."
The newly elected directors are Robert Corti, Philip Shearer and Toten Comas.
Robert Corti is currently Chairman of the Board of the Avon Products Foundation and served as Avon Products, Inc.'s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from 1998 until he retired as Chief Financial Officer in November 2005 and as Executive Vice President in March 2006. With more than 25 years of experience with Avon Products, Inc., Mr. Corti joined Avon's tax department as a tax associate in 1976 and held progressive financial leadership positions throughout his tenure at the Company. Mr. Corti is a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Activision, Inc., an international publisher of interactive entertainment software. He also serves as a member of the Board of the Queens College Foundation and the Valtarese Foundation.
Philip Shearer is currently Group President, The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. He is responsible for Clinique and Origins on a global basis and leads the Company's online activities, including the Gloss.com joint venture with Chanel and Clarins. In January 2005, his responsibilities expanded to include the Company's prestige hair care business. Mr. Shearer joined The Estee Lauder Companies in September 2001 as Group President, International. Mr. Shearer has also held various senior level positions at L'Oreal and the Elizabeth Arden division of Eli Lilly. Mr. Shearer was Chairman of the Board of The Fragrance Foundation from 1998 to 2001.
Toten Comas served on the Board of Directors of Bacardi Limited as an Alternate Director from 2000 - 2002. Mr. Comas is President of Propiedades Coba, S.A., a commercial real estate development firm, located in Malaga, Spain, and prior to this, served as General Manager of Inversiones Capricornia S.A., a chain of quick service restaurants in Malaga. From 1977 - 1988, Mr. Comas worked in Spain as General Manager for Tecnica Internacional de Servicio, S.A., a quality control subsidiary of Bacardi & Co. of Nassau, Bahamas, and also as Director of Quality Control for Bacardi Espana and the European Bacardi Bottlers. Mr. Comas joined Bacardi & Co. in 1969 as a Bacardi Rum Blender in Nassau and continued that position until 1977.
Bacardi Limited is the largest privately held spirits company in the world and produces and markets a variety of internationally recognized spirits. Bacardi Limited's brand portfolio consists of more than 250 brands and labels, including: BACARDI rum, the world's number-one selling rum; MARTINI & ROSSI vermouth, the world leader in vermouth; GREY GOOSE vodka, the world leader in ultra premium vodka; DEWAR'S scotch whisky, the number-one selling blended scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, the top selling ultra premium gin in the United States and one of the fastest-growing brands in the spirits industry; CAZADORES blue agave tequila, the top selling 100 percent blue agave tequila worldwide; and other leading brands.
Article Courtesy of Business Wire.com
Business Wire.com

Sep 11
2006

Whisky TV channel to launch
An internet TV channel devoted to 24-hour coverage of the world of single malt whisky is being launched by a Hollywood producer.
Australian Rob Draper, who has worked on some of tinsel town’s biggest films, says there is huge interest in Singlemalt.tv – which he hopes will go live at the end of the month. Draper told the Scotsman: "Internet television is the future. So far the interest has been phenomenal - we put a place-holder website up on the web and we have already shut down one server in the United States because it can't handle the volume of traffic coming into it."
"Singlemalt.tv is not an internet site, it is a television channel broadcast through the internet. I have done a lot of work on internet television going back to 1997 and it really is the future of television and the future of internet.”
Article Courtesy of Morning Advertiser

Morning Advertiser

Sep 10
2006

Scotch on the rocks
A new luxury lodge on Jura has opened up the isle to visitors who wish to sample their whisky in style.
'We have a new motto,' says Micky Heads, manager of the only whisky distillery on the Hebridean island of Jura. 'If you've got the plastic, we've got the time.' It's a jarringly commercial notion on this sleepy, peaty outcrop where life is slow, tourism has scarcely penetrated and deer outnumber the 180-strong population by 25 to one. What Micky means is that anyone with the money can become a whisky connoisseur. The Isle of Jura distillery will oblige with anything from tours, talks and tastings to a five-night, £1,000 Jura Fellowship break - working with the mashmen and tunmen and staying at Jura Lodge, a newly opened shrine to whisky, deerstalking and over-the-top interiors.
While neighbouring Islay (pronounced eye-la), boasts eight distilleries and has turned whisky into a twee, barrels-and-bagpipes branch of heritage tourism, the bleaker, wilder and less self-conscious Jura has been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Until now, anyone with an interest in its floral, fruity and spicy malts - in stark contrast to Islay's pungently smoky, peaty ones - had to stay at the tired Jura Hotel in Craighouse, or infiltrate one of the grand estates (including that of the Astors, David Cameron's inlaws).
Now they can book as part of a house party at the luxurious five-bedroom Jura Lodge, sampling as much of the amber stuff as they wish before stumbling a few steps home to bed. Pouring me a dram of the popular 10-year-old malt, Micky explains, 'it tastes of pine nuts and is slightly salty because sea air has penetrated the cask.' I take his word for it. The 16-year-old tastes, Micky says, 'buttery and orangey, with low phenolics [the chemicals responsible for a peaty flavour] - though you might pick up a slight charring of the oak cask'. While the 21-year-old is like, 'Terry's Chocolate Orange'.
The wood of the storage casks and the passage of time determine the character of each malt. In addition to the 10-, 16- and 21-year-olds, there is Superstition (unusually peaty, its name a reference to the bad luck brought by crofters who cut peat before May) and 1984, a reminder that Orwell wrote the novel on Jura.
The 40-minute tour finishes in the shop, where I notice a limited-edition bottle costing £250 - a reflection of its rarity, not its phenomenal 'cask strength': an intoxicating 63 per cent, compared with 40 per cent for finished malts.
Perhaps that was what designer Bambi Sloan was drinking when she created Jura Lodge. After climbing a rather sober green staircase, we step into the dizzyingly eclectic Music Room: ornate mirrors, carved ebony shutters and oval portraits on lilac walls. The chill-out room has a coffee table made from a giant drum set; the chandeliers resemble hovering brass crowns.
In a red-carpeted living room filled with chestnut leather sofas and warmed by a roaring fire, we are greeted surreally by a white suit of armour. One wall bristles with antlers, not just of local red deer, but elk, gazelle and antelope from Africa. 'Jura is a place to travel to and a place for travellers - a destination,' says the aptly named Bambi. Somehow, her gravelly Gauloises voice and theatrical delivery make even the utterly obvious sound philosophical. Dressed in jeans, black flip-flops and a Picasso T-shirt over a striped Breton jersey, the Parisian 'of a certain age' peers at us over heavy-rimmed Shoreditch specs and declares Jura 'more glamorous than St Tropez'.
In the bedrooms, you can see what she means. The White Room - the biggest and best - has white walls, cream fretwork headboard and cascades of calico drapes framing harbour views. In the centre is a rolltop bath, supporting Bambi's claim that these are not bedrooms but 'big bathrooms with beds'. This one houses 'part of my private shell collection', says Bambi, 'my heart!' The Bird Room has ostrich-egg lamp stands on the dresser and white plaster birds on the walls, a jokey, postmodern take on suburban 'flying ducks'.
Driving along the ribbon of tarmac that skirts the Sound of Jura the next day, we see the real thing - soaring buzzards, scrawny pheasants awaiting their winter plumage, herons silhouetted in trees. We look out for otters in the shallows and, near Craighouse, spot seals basking casually on the beach. More nonchalant still are the deer - 5,000 in all - limbering up for a good rut yards from our car window and wandering across the abandoned tennis courts at Ardlussa House, recently opened as a comfortable B&B.
If Jura has a tourist industry, it centres on culling deer. Every year, 700 are shot to keep the herd healthy. It results in not only a surplus of venison, but a surge of visitors from July to October. Seeing how tame the animals are, it's hard to see how shooting them is a challenge.
Next day, I take a bone-shaking ride by Argo - like a golf buggy with inflated balls for wheels, the vehicle of choice for gamekeepers and gillies - across the peat moors towards the Paps of Jura, the island's distinctive craggy mounds, visible from the mainland. I attempt to fly-fish in a remote loch with water the colour of black tea, catching nothing. Alistair, the gamekeeper, and Alex, our guide, manage three or four trout each. Frankly, I'm not that bothered, but make a public show of disappointment. Back at Jura Lodge, I know I will be offered 10-year-old malt galore to drown my Sassenach sorrows.
Article Courtesy of The Observer
Observer

Sep 09
2006

The Whisky That Demands Respect
Errol Flynn once commented, “I like my whisky old and my women young”. From reborn Whyte & Mackay, ‘The 30’ brings a tough new image to Scotch combining proud Glasgow heritage with a bold black and gold livery.
Founded on the docks of Glasgow in 1844 by James Whyte and Charles Mackay, Whyte & Mackay has pioneered hand crafted distilling for over 160 years. Unique in the industry, the age-old tradition of ‘double marriage’ is preserved to this day.
‘The 30’, created from a selection of the finest spirits of 1976, is the pinnacle in the career of Richard Patterson, Whyte & Mackay’s 3rd generation Master Blender. He explains it simply, “ I have been nurturing this whisky for three decades. It really is a lifetime’s work”.
Aged whisky is a luxury being discovered by more and more discerning consumers around the world. As the vodka generation discover the pleasure of whisky, this 30 year old offers the fortunate few the chance to taste a rare masterpiece from a legend in the whisky business.
Article Courtesy of Europe Travel News

Europe Travel News

Sep 04
2006

Edrington invests GBP18 million in Highland Park
In a bid to double its annual sales and become one of the world's top 10 malts, whisky distiller Edrington Group plans to invest GBP18 million in its Orkney single malt Highland Park over the next five years.
The planned investment - described as the most ambitious in the brand's 208-year history - will see Highland Park undertake an aggressive sales and marketing drive in the UK and key overseas markets, where parent company Edrington has built a strong distribution network for its other key brands, The Famous Grouse - Scotland's best selling whisky, and The Macallan single malt.
"Our plans are ambitious, but we are in a strong position to maximize the full potential of the brand for the first time. We have won many prestigious awards in recent times and the re-pack will build upon these achievements," said Jason Craig, global controller at Highland Park.
"As well as the UK, we have already established strong footholds in several key markets worldwide, such as the USA, Scandinavia and global travel retail (GTR). We believe there is great scope to develop these markets even further," he continued.
The brand has just enjoyed its best ever year and sales of Highland Park are outstripping the rest of the single malt category four-fold - with a 17% increase so far this financial year.
The development plans coincide with the launch of the new look bottle following a GBP750,000 packaging make-over. The new bottle will be revealed at Whisky Live Glasgow on September 8 and 9.
The new look product will go on sale in major UK supermarkets Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose stores by the end of September in time for the build up to the key Christmas sales period, which accounts for an estimated 40% of all Scotch sold in the UK.
Article Courtesy of Drinks Business Review
Drinks Business Review

Sep 02
2006

The Glenlivet Ladurra
The Glenlivet Nadurra is meant to give U.S. drinkers the straight-from-the-cask experience. Avenue Vine reports that the new offering from Glenlivet takes its name from the Gaelic word for natural. The Scotch was aged for 16 years in first-fill bourbon casks and is a 57.2-percent alcohol-by-volume tipple. The whisky is not chill filtered and therefore gets cloudy when you add water. It has been described as having a creamy mouthfeel with sharp citrus notes and sells for around $50.
Article Courtesy of Luxist

Luxist
August 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Aug 31
2006

Construction begins at Ladybank - Scotland's only private club distillery
Construction begins today at The Ladybank Company of Distillers Club Limited ("Ladybank"), Scotland's first and only "private club" distillery, when the first solid oak beams are lowered onto the renovated roof of its customised facilities at Fife, near St Andrews, Scotland. The building will be home to its whisky production plant, set to be the smallest in the Scotch Whisky industry, with a production capacity of approximately 35,000 litres p.a. compared with the bigger producers' more common capacity of 1 million.
Ladybank's founder, whisky expert James Thomson, says: "We chose this site with its farm buildings, disused since the 1950s, as it had the potential to develop into a countryside haven for lovers of the finest spirits. It's also a highly convenient location, being within easy reach of Edinburgh and Gleneagles. Ladybank is spearheading a new generation of drinks producers delivering a number of world firsts. In addition to being the first members-only distillery, Ladybank allows co-creation with its consumers, who will be able to influence and participate in production. It will also be the first distillery to concentrate on highly individual bespoke products only."
In addition to whisky, the club will make other fine spirits including Gin at Ladybank.
Ladybank was launched in 2003 and successfully attracted over 300 members from 30 countries worldwide, raising enough money to fund the first phase of the project. A second round of memberships was opened last year and the money raised from them will pay for the remaining construction work and the purchase and installation of the distillery equipment.
The Ladybank Club will control the assets of the distillery while its members will benefit from the different rare spirits produced and will be guaranteed a specified allocation of 300 bottles over 50 years. The distillery will include a private members' tasting room and dining room and will hold courses and special events for those interested in learning more.
For more information call +44 (0)845 450 1885 or visit www.whisky.co.uk.
The first solid oak beam transported from Cornwall is lowered into the renovated roof of Ladybank's new facilities in Fife, Scotland, home to its whisky production plant, set to be the smallest but finest in the Scotch Whisky industry.
Sir Robert Spencer-Nairn Bt. (left) agreed to lease the site to the club for 50 years. He said "I am delighted to see these buildings put back to good use. Who wouldn't want a small craft distillery as a neighbour during those long winter days!"
James Thomson (right), the Club founder, added "Through Sir Robert we found a truly idyllic site and we share his family's interest in sympathetically restoring these buildings. It is important for our whisky to not only take great care in how we look after the finer details of production, but also to apply the same attention to what will become the product's shrine. The setting here for a small craft distillery could not be bettered."
NOTE TO EDITORS
The Ladybank Company of Distillers Club Limited
The Ladybank Company of Distillers Club Limited is the first members-only distillery club, financed by membership fees and independent from all other whisky producers. Its small production capacity will allow the focus to shift from yield to quality. Working with the industry's best chemical analysts will produce some of the world's best whisky.
The club's legal constitution allows each member to transfer or sell his or her membership through the club's waiting list. Members may also pass on membership to future generations of their families.
Membership of The Ladybank Company of Distillers Club is limited to 1,250 members.
Specialist analytical chemists created recipes for a unique range of single malts. Combining the latest technology in whisky production with bygone craft traditions, the Ladybank whiskies will be of unparalleled quality and display flavours that can only be developed through the extra care and time taken in this process. Particular attention has been applied to all processing design and raw material selection, including fermentation yeasts and the acquisition of oak wood for whisky maturation.
Article Courtesy of Market Wire
Market Wire

Aug 23
2006

Diageo launches duty free whisky
Diageo is launching a single malt Scotch whisky brand in selected duty free outlets in an effort to encourage new drinkers into the category.
The Singleton of Dufftown is described as a “rich, smooth-tasting and well-balanced” whisky, having been matured in both bourbon and sherry oak casks.
Packaged in a traditional 19th century-style blue glass, the whisky will retail at £24.99 for a one-litre bottle and will be sold initially through airports in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It will be sold in a manila-coloured gift presentation, carrying a historic photograph of the distillery.
The new malt whisky is aimed at people who have an interest in single malt but who are trying malt whisky for the first time. The move follows Diageo’s launch of the Singleton of Glen Ord in Asia earlier this year.
Nicholas Morgan, Diageo’s marketing director for malt whisky, said: “In established markets like Europe, we need to drive expansion of the malt whisky market by recruiting new malt whisky drinkers and showing them how pleasurable malt whisky can be. Innovation, in taste and presentation, is one of the keys to this.”
A spokesperson fro Diageo said that the current ban on liquids on certain long-haul flights resulting from the recent terrorist scare would not aversely affect sales.
Dufftown Distillery was founded on Speyside in 1896, and was bought by Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd in 1933, along with Blair Athol, as part of the acquisition of Peter Mackenzie & Co Distillers. Arthur Bell & Sons was purchased by Guinness, now owned by Diageo, in 1985.
Article Courtesy of Mad
Mad

Aug 20
2006

Chivas in £2m revamp
CHIVAS BROTHERS, the Scotch whisky arm of Paris-based drinks group Pernod Ricard, has signalled its commitment to jobs in Edinburgh with a £2m investment in its Newbridge bottling plant on the capital’s western fringes.
Last year there was speculation that the plant would close because Pernod’s £5 billion acquisition of the bulk of Allied Domecq’s spirits portfolio had created spare production capacity.
However, Chivas has now upgraded Newbridge with an automated tissue wrapper, cartoniser and case packer for Glenlivet, the first in a Scotch bottling plant.
Chivas’s Glenlivet brand, which has been distilled in Speyside since 1824, recently overtook Campari’s Glen Grant to become the world’s second biggest-selling malt. Some 500,000 nine-litre cases are sold annually, making it second only to Glenfiddich.
Sources close to Glasgow-based distiller Whyte & Mackay last week dismissed talk that it was about to succumb to a £460m takeover from Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries. “I think Mr Mallya is flying a kite,” said the source.
Bob Brannan, Whyte & Mackay’s managing director, would not comment specifically on the takeover talk, but said that the owners, Vivian Immerman and Robert Tchenguiz, “are in a five-to-10-year programme of building this business for the long term”.
Article Courtesy of The Times
The Times

Aug 16
2006

Mallya considering acquisition of Whyte & Mackay brands
Vijay Mallya-owned Indian spirits giant UB Group is eyeing the acquisition of Whyte & Mackay (W&M) brands through a leveraged buyout, reports Economic Times.
The Indian spirits major is among four or five bidders in the fray for W&M`s brands and distillery operations separately. The deal is expected to be to the tune of Rs 400-500 million (USD 756-945 million).
If the deal goes through, it could be the largest overseas acquisition by an Indian company. The largest acquisitions until today by the Indian private sector companies have all been entered into this year.
ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank are believed to have agreed to lend money for the transaction. A successful acquisition is expected to give UB`s global spirits play the much needed fillip.
Mallya has been searching for a scotch company to unfurl a global liquor story for his already formidable spirits empire in India. He is believed to be interested in taking over scotch whisky brands such as Whyte & Mackay, single malts such as Isle of Jura and Dalmore, Vladivar vodka and Glayva liqueur.
Ambit Corporate Finance is said to be advising the Indian major while Accenture would look at the integration of the global brands into the company.
However, Mallya has strongly denied any plans to acquire the global assets of W&M, adding that the company is always on the lookout for global acquisition. But W&M are not likely sellers currently as they are looking at refurbishing their brands, he pointed out.
Article Courtesy of Myris
Myris

Aug 10
2006

EU Warns India over Whisky Taxes
The European Commission has warned that India will be referred to the World Trade Organisation unless it stops discriminating against European spirits and wines, the Financial Times reports.
After an eight-month investigation, Brussels concluded that India's duty system amounted to "blatant violations" of WTO rules and distorted competition by imposing a much higher tax burden - up to 550 per cent on Scotch whisky - than faced by Indian distillers.
The result was that "the Indian market has remained essentially closed for imported wines and spirits", says the commission, according to the FT.
The commission also took note of India's refusal to cooperate with the investigation and warned that if it did not "rapidly abolish" the tax arrangements then Brussels would bring the case before the WTO.
According to the Scotsman, while there is no timeframe for New Delhi to scrap the additional duties on imported spirits, action is expected if the EU-India business summit in Helsinki in October does not result in an Indian climb-down.
The newspaper quotes Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, as calling the report "comprehensive and highly critical" of India's duty regime and expressing the hope that the issue could be resolved "without the need to resort to the WTO".
The commission said the size of the Indian market for spirits in 2004 was estimated at 87 million nine-litre cases, making it a big international market for spirits and the world's largest market for whisky.
Article Courtesy of Focus News
Focus News

Aug 08
2006

Brand loyalty lifts Whyte & Mackay profits
The managing director of privately-owned distiller Whyte & Mackay believes the outlook for Scotland's whisky industry is at its most buoyant for 15 years.
Bob Brannan was speaking as he unveiled a 28% rise in underlying profits at the Glasgow-based company, which is undergoing the final stages of a £100m restructuring aimed at switching its focus away from bulk and private label business to its own brands.
Brannan said the retail price of own-label Scotch - after stripping out VAT and duty - has leapt 15% at the UK's big supermarkets in the last three months.
This is a major boost to Whyte & Mackay, where private-label Scotch still accounts for about half of the company's volumes.
Brannan said it was this rise in own-label prices, combined with the rising demand for aged Scotch and the growth of emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, which were behind the company's decision not to sell giant Highland grain distillery Invergordon.
The Herald revealed last November that Whyte & Mackay had put the Easter Ross distillery up for sale with a £175m price tag.
"The company received a number of offers for Invergordon but decided against selling in light of positive trends in the industry," Whyte & Mackay said.
Whyte & Mackay increased operating profits by 28% in the 12 months to September 30 2005, to £11.1m, on turnover up 4% to £149m. The profit figure is stated after charging £8.6m of exceptional costs relating to the restructuring, including redundancy payments.
The group began streamlining operations early in 2005 by closing its bottling plant at Salamander Place in Leith, Edinburgh, with the loss of about 100 jobs. It is close to completing the consolidation of bottling operations at a purpose-built £30m facility next to its existing plant in Grangemouth.
Whyte & Mackay refinanced in early 2005 with Bank of Scotland and cut net debt by over £12m, to £185m, in the year to September. A £14m interest bill pushed the firm into the red at the pre-tax level, but a £3m deficit would appear comfortably recoverable as exceptional charges diminish.
Next year's bottom line will be affected by restructuring charges relating to a forthcoming shake-up of international distributor arrangements.
Brannan said Whyte & Mackay successfully relaunched its flagship Whyte & Mackay brand recently along with Vladivar and Jura.
Whyte & Mackay reclaimed its number one position for Scotch whisky in the Scottish off-trade in the two months to June, and the brand has recorded a 10% rise in the UK off-trade over the last six months, against a market decline of 2%.
New packaging for Isle of Jura has driven that brand to number six in UK grocers and number seven in on-trade.
The company's Dalmore and Glayva brands will be repacked and relaunched in October at the international travel retail festival in Cannes.
Brannan, a short-lived chief executive of Rangers FC in 1998, was charged with a root-and-branch shake-up of the spirits business following his appointment as group managing director in early 2005.
He was poached from William Grant after chairman and chief executive Vivian Imerman, together with property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz - Imerman's brother-in-law - bought out the last external shareholder to take control of Whyte & Mackay.
The company has since recruited a number of high profile executives from the international spirits industry, including Tony Roberts as international sales director, also from William Grant, and marketing director Richard Hayes from Allied Domecq.
Five of seven international regional director appointments are pending. Philippe Giraud has already been poached from William Grant to head the Latin America region while Lars Andersson is joining from Maxxium Sweden to head the Northern Europe region.
Brannan added: "The pros-pects for the Scotch Whisky industry are more positive than I can remember at any time in the last 15 years. Stocks are tightening, prices are increasing and a number of potentially lucrative markets are showing strong signs of growth.
" We are confident of excellent progress over the medium-term."
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

Aug 04
2006

Russia's drinkers fret in face of alcohol crisis
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian drinkers are facing their worst 'dry' spell in years after a mix-up blamed on government meddling stripped stores of imported liquor and wines.
Supermarket shelves, usually packed with an array of Chilean wine, Armenian brandy and Scotch whisky, have been almost empty for over a month after the government tried to enforce a law aimed at cutting chronic alcohol bootlegging.
Furious wine merchants say it is the latest example of how the government of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, flush with cash from oil and gas exports, is making muddled decisions.
"It is chaos. We have found ourselves hostages to a situation upon which we have no influence," said Pyotr Kanygin, chairman of Vinny Mir, a top alcohol importer.
The crisis will cost his company millions of dollars and the whole industry as much as $1 billion, he said. The shortages could last for months.
Rules introduced from July 1 mean each bottle of imported alcohol must carry a bar code registered in a vast database.
But importers say they did not get enough labels and that the system -- developed by a state company -- was plagued by faulty scanning, poor programming and server break downs.
Locally-made beer and vodka, Russia's favorite tipple, are still on the shelves.
But since the fall of the Soviet Union, many affluent Russians have switched from vodka to cognac, wine and even cocktails such as mojitos.
MADNESS
"It is madness. You can hardly find wine or whisky here at the moment," said Mikhail, a Moscow advertising executive.
A wine waiter at one Moscow restaurant said he could only supply one choice -- an Italian chianti -- from the normally extensive range of wines on offer.
President Vladimir Putin has been forced to get involved and Fradkov has ordered ministers to get to grips with the problem.
Russia's rulers, rarely temperate, have had a love-hate view of alcohol for decades: happy with the vast tax revenues it brings but concerned at the health and social problems it leaves behind.
Russians drink an average of about 16 liters of vodka a year. Health officials say alcohol abuse is the cause of much domestic violence.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev restricted alcohol sales in 1985, earning him the derision of a generation of tipplers, some of whom resorted to perfume, brake fluid or shoe polish.
The abstemious Putin has called for new rules to cut sales of bootleg alcohol, which kills 40,000 people a year.
"The market is paralyzed, business is paralyzed, we are suffering colossal losses because they are simply not doing anything," Kanygin said.
But if frantic drinkers were thinking of turning to less traditional tipples, industry watchers warned perfume could be next to disappear from the shops as it too is based on alcohol and thus supposed to fall under the new rules.
Article Courtesy of Washington Post
Washington Post

Aug 02
2006

Dram fine way to turn back the whisky clock
GLASGOW'S proud past is being toasted by distillery bosses who have turned back the clock by two centuries.
Whyte & Mackay has relaunched its range of blended whiskies in bottles which first appeared across the city in the mid-1800s.
The rebirth was signalled with the unveiling of a huge banner at the firm's HQ in St Vincent Street.
Today master blender Richard Paterson, said: "To celebrate our proud Glasgow heritage Whyte & Mackay has dramatically revamped its entire portfolio of blended whiskies with a bold, striking design that commemorates the first Whyte & Mackay bottles of the 1840s."
The banner features an award-winning new livery which marks the return of the rampant "double lions," the company's distinctive signature since 1844.
Article Courtesy of Evening Times
Evening Times
July 2006 Scotch Whisky News

July 28
2006

Glenfiddich whisky named a 'superbrand'
Glennfiddich is the only whisky brand to receive the accolade
Glenfiddich whisky has been awarded UK “superbrand” status – the only malt whisky brand to receive the accolade alongside other iconic brands such as Microsoft and the BBC.
Superbrands – an independent panel of marketing and branding experts and, for the first time, consumers – identifies and pays tribute to top brands by recognising, rewarding, and reinforcing leading brands from all over the world.
Lindsey Tier, Glenfiddich senior brand manager at First Drinks Brands, said: “We are extremely proud to be the only malt whisky to be awarded this accolade.”
Article Courtesy of The Publican
The Publican

July 24
2006

A whiff of distillery action
THE COMPANY behind plans to build a whisky distillery in Shetland has just commissioned an Edinburgh consultancy firm to produce an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Natural Capital will spend the next six weeks assessing what impact the conversion of parts of the former RAF base at Saxa Vord, in Unst, is likely to have on the island's environment.
The news of movement on the ground in Unst comes at the same time Blackwood Distillers announced a major boardroom coup.
The EIA is a statutory requirement in the forthcoming planning consent process. Blackwood chief executive Caroline Whitfield said the company was also in regular contact with other statutory bodies such as SEPA.
Natural Capital is no stranger to Shetland. The company has most recently produced an EIA for the Icelandic company Sildarvinnslan, who used it to gain planning consent to build a £10 million fishmeal plant at Sella Ness, in May this year.
Ms Whitfield said: "I think it is going to take about six weeks for them to produce a report which then has to go to planning."
Earlier this year, Blackwood joined forces with property developer Frank Strang of Military Asset Management (MAM), who had signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence to buy and redevelop the recently vacated military site on Scotland's most northerly island.
The move to Unst replaced earlier plans by Blackwood to build a whisky distillery at South Nesting, north of Lerwick.
Ms Whitfield said that MAM were already on site in Unst with everybody focused on the fact that time was a crucial factor. First whisky is still being scheduled for spring 2007.
She added that the appointment of Tony Mair as the company's executive chairman would give Blackwood's white spirit business and its whisky plans further strength.
Tony Mair, a former corporate director for drinks business Diageo Great Britain, is to join Blackwood as new executive chairman and will be given the job of developing the company's overseas business, most notably the massive Chinese market which Blackwood has just managed to break into.
He will replace chairman Arthur Davies who stepped down earlier in the year and who is retiring from many of his current business commitments.
Ms Whitfield said: "If you have met or know Tony you will know of his boundless energy and enthusiasm, his passion for all things Scottish and his track record of growing premium drinks brands when at Diageo. He shares one common view with us all - that little is impossible when you really put your mind to it.
"He is a great whisky expert since he ran Diageo Scotland which includes all the whisky distilleries, and was involved in a whole range of development.
"He is an executive chairman which means he is going to work two days a week for us. The key thing is that he is going to concentrate on international duty free. We are not really in duty free yet.
"Secondly, going into the whisky business we can benefit from his expertise. Whisky is highly regulated and Tony is already having discussions with the Scottish Whisky Association. He is the perfect person to go and interface with the various regulators."
Mr Mair commented: "There is no question that there is space growing in our industry for original and innovating brands at premium prices. Blackwood has shown great creativity to date, and has such exciting people and brands that I am delighted to be working with them all."
Article Courtesy of Shetland News
Shetland News

July 24
2006

Have a whisky and help the planet
WHISKY bottles are becoming lightweight to reduce the amount of packaging sent to landfill in Britain each year.
Allied Glass, which makes a sizeable proportion of the bottles used for spirits in the UK, has worked to reduce the weight of glass used in its generic 70cl and 1.5l bottles. It has saved 4,788 tonnes of glass in a trial organised by Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap), a state-sponsored body aiming to create markets for recycled materials.
High Commissioner, the UK’s fifth highest selling blended whisky, and Glen’s Vodka, the third highest selling vodka, are using the bottles. They are also used for some supermarket own-label whiskies and vodkas.
Such techniques save money because the bottles use less glass and reduce energy costs because the goods are lighter to transport.
Retailers are increasingly attempting creative ways to reduce resources wasted on packaging goods as they try to reduce their liability for landfill tax and at the same time respond to consumer demand.
Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer are using packaging that breaks down into harmless matter in home compost bins, while many firms are moving away from using PVC plastic, which is difficult to recycle.
Boots and M&S have pledged to use an increasing amount of a recycled plastic made from plastic bottles, called PETr, after trials part-funded by Wrap.
Boots makes containers for a number of products in its Ingredients toiletries range from 30 per cent PETr and the high street chemist plans to step up use of the material.
It has already decided to use bottles part-made from PETr on 13 new products, which would account for 10 million bottles a year or about 1 per cent of those used by the retailer. Andrew Jenkins, sustainable development manager for products at Boots, said that the company, which manufactures many of its own goods, also aimed to increase the amount of PETr used in the manufacture of bottles to 50 per cent over the next year.
Mr Jenkins added that raw material costs had been cut and sales had increased, showing that customers were comfortable with the idea of recycled plastics in sensitive toiletries such as skin creams and soaps.
He said: “This project was important to Boots because it demonstrated that sustainable development is good for business. The recycled bottles are not only environmentally good but also commerically successful and at least cost-neutral.”
Coca-Cola was also involved in the PETr trial. The soft drinks giant successfully made 75 million bottles using 25 per cent PETr from one supplier but it was unhappy with the quality of plastic supplied by another firm.
Coke said that it was waiting for another trial this autumn before expanding use of PETr. A spokesman said: “We need to depend on a readily available supply of quality-recycled PETr at a commercial rate.”
That could depend on consumers putting more of their plastic bottles in the recyling bin. At present only 13 per cent of the UK’s plastic bottles are recycled — about 85,000 tonnes — not all of which is PETr. Many councils do not collect PETr bottles for recycling because their main criterion is the weight of rubbish, and these items are relatively light.
Article Courtesy of The Times
The Times

July 22
2006

Studying Scotch whisky: Somebody’s got to do it
Someone, I’m not sure who, said the love of real Scotch whisky, much like that of blondes, is an acquired taste. Distillers of the intimidating spirit have been trying for years to demystify it and bring new drinkers into the fold. Lately they’ve been succeeding. More folks are drinking Scotch. Many of them say that Scotch is the new vodka. They’re the same ones who are saying that 50 is the new 30.
Yet despite the marketing effort to make it the everyman beverage, real Scotch drinkers still look down on people who don’t speak their language – who don’t know a single-malt from a single-grain Scotch, and sometimes even mix it with tap water loaded with chlorine.
Some Scotch drinkers say you can’t get the real stuff unless you go to Scotland – preferably to a place like the Pig & Bicycle Pub in Glen Lachart in the Highlands. The Pig & Bicycle has been right there on High Street for more than 100 years. Its motto, over the door: “Can’t drink on the job? Let the professionals at the Pig & Bicycle do it for you!”
Recently the pub announced that it would soon be offering toilet facilities to women, too – saving them the inconvenience of having to use the shed out back.
There are other Scotch drinkers who say you need to be in Scotland to enjoy the real thing because most of the pure malts that are exported seem to be substandard leftovers, thrown together to sell to unsuspecting Americans. In this, and other ways, Scotch enthusiasts are very much like wine aficionados.
Another example of how serious we’re becoming about Scotch whisky is happening right now at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, of all places: bourbon-whiskey country. Chemical-engineering graduate students there are lining up for a course in Scotch.
The head of the department says it’s real research in the interest of real science. Not only are the students experimenting with small samples of Scotch to analyze it, but they’ll also have an opportunity to visit the Bruichladdich Distillery, in Scotland, to see how it makes the stuff.
That should be interesting. Bruichladdich, in the Islay region, is Scotland’s westernmost intact distillery, founded in 1881. Most recently it’s been using a 17th century recipe that produces a Scotch that’s 92 percent alcohol. That’s as strong as whiskey can get and still be sold without a prescription.
The recipe is dated 1695. It contains a health warning: “The first taste affects all the members of the body. Two spoonfuls of the liquor is a sufficient dose. If any man should exceed this, it would presently stop his breath, and endanger his life.”
The folks at the Bruichladdich Distillery produce only 12 barrels a year of the 184-proof whiskey. The University of Tennessee chemistry students are welcome to come and see the potentially lethal concoction being matured, assuming that the distillery doesn’t explode during the process.
Article Courtesy of Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne

July 19
2006

Single malt that is not for mixing
A whisky priced at £2,000 a bottle goes on sale this week.
At just under 40 years old, the single malt is the rarest released from its distillery in the isle of Islay. It is 41.3 per cent alcohol by volume.
Only 261 bottles of Ardbeg 1965 are going on sale, of which 100 will be released to British shops.
It comes in a hand-blown bottle, which contains a sprinkling of Islay sand and has a numbered wax seal to prove its authenticity.
Article Courtesy of The Times
The Times

July 17
2006

SWA to focus on Indian tariffs
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, is this week visiting Geneva with three other SWA staff to stress the importance to the industry of reaching a deal in the Doha round of world trade talks.
His visit coincides with the annual meeting of the World Spirits Alliance, and will involve a series of meetings with officials from the World Trade Organisation and national missions.
The SWA is a leading member of the alliance of spirits associations which includes representatives from the US, European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Hewitt is expected to say the whisky industry faces a range of trade barriers that a successful round could alleviate.
He added: "Our key objective is an agreement on agricultural market access which leads to more reasonable tariff levels in key markets, such as India, where we face a duty burden of up to 550%."
The SWA has consistently argued that access to the Indian market is "unfairly restricted" because of the high overall duty burden on imported spirits in the country, and noted this is contrary to WTO rules.
The body says the charges make it much more expensive for Indian consumers to buy Scotch whisky, and encourages bootleggers to produce fake products for the black market.
However, the SWA is not short of opponents in India. Dr Vijay Mallya, an Indian MP and head of the Kingfisher beer and airline empire, last year accused the SWA of being "extremely hostile" to companies that manufacture whisky from source ingredients other than cereals, such as Indian whisky which is distilled from sugar cane molasses.
He said in December 2005: "The SWA refuses to acknowledge that, and will not let Indian whisky into Europe. As long as that situation continues, we will lobby in India to keep the import duty high."
Hewitt believes a deal on "trade facilitation" also has the potential to reduce unnecessary costs arising from bureaucratic customs formalities.
It is thought that red tape can add between 5% and 15% to the cost to the consumer of a bottle of Scotch in some markets.
The industry's concern is that if the Doha discussions fail, the important development agenda and the stability of the WTO system would be put at risk as attention shifts to a complex web of bilateral deals.
Hewitt told The Herald: "In our meetings with officials, we (and other associations) will be urging that every effort is made to keep the discussions on track and that the necessary steps are taken to ensure a successful Doha round."
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, is this week visiting Geneva with three other SWA staff to stress the importance to the industry of reaching a deal in the Doha round of world trade talks.
His visit coincides with the annual meeting of the World Spirits Alliance, and will involve a series of meetings with officials from the World Trade Organisation and national missions.
The SWA is a leading member of the alliance of spirits associations which includes representatives from the US, European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Hewitt is expected to say the whisky industry faces a range of trade barriers that a successful round could alleviate.
He added: "Our key objective is an agreement on agricultural market access which leads to more reasonable tariff levels in key markets, such as India, where we face a duty burden of up to 550%."
The SWA has consistently argued that access to the Indian market is "unfairly restricted" because of the high overall duty burden on imported spirits in the country, and noted this is contrary to WTO rules.
The body says the charges make it much more expensive for Indian consumers to buy Scotch whisky, and encourages bootleggers to produce fake products for the black market.
However, the SWA is not short of opponents in India. Dr Vijay Mallya, an Indian MP and head of the Kingfisher beer and airline empire, last year accused the SWA of being "extremely hostile" to companies that manufacture whisky from source ingredients other than cereals, such as Indian whisky which is distilled from sugar cane molasses.
He said in December 2005: "The SWA refuses to acknowledge that, and will not let Indian whisky into Europe. As long as that situation continues, we will lobby in India to keep the import duty high."
Hewitt believes a deal on "trade facilitation" also has the potential to reduce unnecessary costs arising from bureaucratic customs formalities.
It is thought that red tape can add between 5% and 15% to the cost to the consumer of a bottle of Scotch in some markets.
The industry's concern is that if the Doha discussions fail, the important development agenda and the stability of the WTO system would be put at risk as attention shifts to a complex web of bilateral deals.
Hewitt told The Herald: "In our meetings with officials, we (and other associations) will be urging that every effort is made to keep the discussions on track and that the necessary steps are taken to ensure a successful Doha round."
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

July 14
2006

Honours for William Grant whisky at ISC
William Grant's The Balvenie wins big at at this year’s International Spirits Challenge
The Balvenie single malt scotch whisky has won six gold medals at this year’s International Spirits Challenge (ISC).
Produced by independent, family-owned William Grant, The Balvenie won gold medals for its Founder’s Reserve 10 Year Old, DoubleWood 12 Year Old, NewWood 17 Year Old, PortWood 21 Year Old, Thirty and PortWood 1991 variants.
David Stewart, The Balvenie malt master, said: “Dominating such a large competition as the ISC and winning six gold medals is beyond our wildest dreams. All of the employees are delighted the distillery has been given such a massive seal of approval. They thoroughly deserve the credit for all the hard work they have put in to creating a great dram.”
Article Courtesy of The Publican
The Publican

July 09
2006

Scotch industry begins move to prevent imitations
The multi-million pound Scotch industry has initiated moves to lay down precise definitions of Scotch and its variations to prevent counterfeit and imitations being produced and sold in foreign countries, including India.
A bill to this effect is expected to be brought before the Scottish parliament after the next elections. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the apex body of the industry, has secured the support of the main parties for such a legislation.
SWA source say that ‘Scotch’ is protected as a geographical product but regional variations and different types of whiskies are not covered by such protection.
The Scotch industry is keen to prevent complicated legal battles such as the one it had fought against Highland Chief Malt Whisky, made in India, and Lowlands Blended Whisky, made in Spain.
The SWA believes the best way to do this is to enshrine a series of definitions in statute, setting down exactly what is meant by Speyside, Islay, Highland, Lowland and Campbeltown malts. It also wants to establish agreed definitions of ‘Single Malt’, ‘Single Grain’, ‘Blended Malt’, ‘Blended Grain’ and ‘Blended Scotch’.
When the definitions are set out by the Scottish parliament, they will be used as the benchmark definitions in most courts around the world, simplifying the legal process and making it easier for Scotch whisky producers to discourage foreign imitators.
An SWA spokesman told ‘The Scotsman’: ‘These proposals are important to the industry because they will help protect Scotch whisky from foreign competition and will help promote clear information for the consumer.
‘This legislation has important international implications and we would hope, because of the importance of the Scotch whisky industry to Scotland, that this would attract cross-party support.’
A Scottish official said: ‘We are supportive of measures to protect Scottish whisky producers and are currently weighing possible options for the near future.’
Article Courtesy of India News
India News

July 09
2006

Mon Dieu! It's whisky from Champagne
At the height of the worst wine crisis for years, a Frenchman has turned his back on tradition and is successfully distilling malt whisky amid the vines.
As viticulteurs grapple with harsh proposals from Brussels to stem over-production of wine grapes, Thierry Guillon's only challenge is to meet rising demand for his Single Malt de la Montagne de Reims.
Guillon, 39, who expects to produce at least 60,000 bottles this year, says the Champagne region is a natural home for whisky. 'Apart from growing vines, this area is a major barley producer. The Scots and the Japanese come to Reims and Troyes to buy their malt,' he said.
A trained wine expert, but self-taught in whisky-making who has visited Scotland only once - he keeps his three stills in a converted tractor shed behind a house on a wooded hill that was once his parents' country cottage. A small visitors' centre has been accommodated in the old wood shed and 700 oak casks of maturing whisky are in 12 second-hand ship containers.
'My family had the house for years,' he said. 'It had no water or electricity until a diviner found a spring 35 years ago with fantastic water, free from chalk. '
The turnover of Distillerie Guillon is expected to reach €700,000 (£480,000) this year - only six years after he bought his first 500kgs of malt from a disbelieving local wholesaler who had never sold such a small amount.
Champagne is threatened by last month's European Commission proposals to drain the annual 1.5-billion litre EU wine lake. Among measures proposed is a ban on 'chaptalisation' - adding sugar to the grape before fermentation - which is routine in cool regions such Champagne. 'Without chaptalisation, you have completely unpredictable yields. It would be a disaster for Champagne,' said Guillon.
His whisky from Champagne is rare, thus profitable. 'The French drink 150 million bottles of whisky a year. Three billion bottles are produced worldwide annually, one billion of them in Scotland. There's room for me.'
Article Courtesy of Observer
Observer

July 03
2006

Springbank's Festival Whisky
Limited edition Festival whisky celebrates Sir Brian McMaster’s tenure as Director of the Edinburgh International Festival
Springbank Distillers Ltd today releases a limited edition 15 year old blended whisky specially created for the Edinburgh International Festival to mark the 15th and final year of Sir Brian McMaster’s inspirational leadership.
Only 2006 bottles of this special blend will be released. The Edinburgh International Festival blend is made from a range of well aged single malt and grain whiskies, some as old as 25 years.
The first of the 2006 bottles will be presented to Sir Brian McMaster.
Springbank is in many ways unique. It is the only distillery in Scotland to carry out the entire production process, from traditional floor malting to bottling, on site and the distillery is in the hands of the same family that established it in 1828.
Brian McMaster, Festival Director said, “It is really a great honour to have Springbank compliment the Festival in this way. We’d also like to thank Springbank for generously donating bottles of whisky which we’ll give Festival artists after their performance. We know they’ll be delighted with it.”
Mr Hedley G Wright, Chairman of Springbank Distillers Ltd., has been a patron of the Edinburgh International Festival since its first year. He remarked that although the Festival has changed since its inception in 1947, the excitement of those early years has been maintained and even enhanced by Sir Brian's innovative programming and flair for selecting daring novel productions as well as the best of the established repertoire.
Springbank whiskies have many connoisseur fans who will be interested in this new blend. A long marrying period and the exceptional casks used, have resulted in a rich, malty whisky. The autumn fruits, raspberry and oak on the nose develop into a rich and creamy palate with spicy oak and malt notes coming through.
In Edinburgh, bottles will be available exclusively from the Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop, 172 Canongate, at the lower end of the Royal Mile. Alternatively, a mail order service is offered, either on line at www.springbankwhisky.com or by phoning 01586 551710. The Edinburgh Festival blend will cost £35 and be available from 3rd July, while stocks last, throughout the Festival.
Article Courtesy of Springbank
Springbank

July 03
2006

Famous Grouse whisky reviews £2m media account
Distiller the Edrington Group is reviewing the media planning and buying account for its Famous Grouse whisky brand, currently held by PHD.
The advertiser is believed to have drawn up a shortlist of agencies including the incumbent PHD, Mediaedge:cia and one other unnamed agency to pitch for the account. The pitch is being handled internally by the client.
Mediaedge:cia holds the global account for Remy Martin cognac range, including V.S.O.P and Louis XIII, which is also owned by the Edrington Group.
The independent distiller, which is one of the biggest distillers in the Scottish whisky industry, spends an estimated £4m on its annual media spend for all its brands.
The group has spent £2m promoting the Famous Grouse brand over the past 12 months, according to media measurement firm Nielsen Media Research, of which £1.8m was spent on television advertising.
Other brands within the Edrington Group's portfolio of products include The Macallan, Cutty Sark, Highland Park and Glennturret.
Last year the Famous Grouse brand was overhauled when marketing agency bd-ntwk/Scotland was appointed. The agency was brought in to consult on its global positioning and create a new identity for the whisky ahead of a trade and consumer marketing campaign.
In January this year, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO retained the £3m Famous Grouse creative account. The agency pitched against Wieden & Kennedy and Newhaven.
The history of the group stretches back to the 1850s when the Robertson family founded the company in Glasgow.
The Edrington Group was unavailable for comment regarding the media review of the Famous Grouse brand.
Article Courtesy of Brand Republic
Brand Republic
June 2006 Scotch Whisky News

June 30
2006

A question of taste
REBUS author Ian Rankin confided at the opening of the new tasting room at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh yesterday that his love of whisky began at the very young age of eight when he would sneak into the cupboard and take a tiny amount out of his dad's bottle of Bell's.
His father eventually twigged that something was going on as he would later mark his bottle so that he would know if it had been sampled.
And, in his twenties, Ian went on a tour of distilleries with a friend from America. After seeing the whisky-making process on a number of occasions – it doesn't vary very much, it has to be said – they would eventually pitch up at a distillery and tell them: "We know how you bloody make whisky – just show us to the tasting room."
Article Courtesy of The Herald
The Herald

June 28
2006

Whyte & Mackay revamps iconic Scotch whisky
Whyte & Mackay is relaunching its flagship whisky brand as it seeks to give it a more upmarket feel.
The rebrand will take in the five blends that comprise the eponymous Whyte & Mackay portfolio as well as a blended malt, called Prize, which is being launched in October.
Whyte & Mackay's blue packaging has been replaced by a metallic red-and-black look, while its prestige range will use metallic silver and gold cartons.
The shape of its bottles has reverted to an historic Whyte & Mackay design, originally introduced in 1844.
A red logo featuring two lions, representing the Lion Rampant symbol of Scotland and the MacGregor/Whyte Clan, has also been reintroduced. The design is intended to emulate the work of Scottish architect, artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The redesign, which was carried out in-house and will be rolled out over the next few weeks, will be backed by ads targeting the drinks trade and consumer PR activity.
The activity follows Whyte & Mackay's relaunch of its Isle of Jura whisky and Vladivar vodka. Its Dalmore and Glayva whisky brands will also be revamped by the end of the year, according to a spokeswoman.
In addition, Whyte & Mackay is replacing its 12-, 18- and 21-year-old whiskies with 13-, 19- and 22-year old offerings.
Whyte & Mackay is the bestselling whisky brand in Scotland, with a 16% share of the off-trade market, according to ACNielsen.
Earlier this year, the company hired Michelle Audette as its international brand director (Marketing, 15 February). She joined from Allied Domecq and reports to international marketing director Richard Hayes.
Article Courtesy of Brand Republic
Brand Republic

June 26
2006

Bowmore unveils three new Whiskies
The new launches are limited edition single malts.
Morrison Bowmore Distillers in Scotland has unveiled three new limited edition single malt whiskies.
The distiller confirmed the release of a new 18 year-old bottling for Auchentoshan, Scotland’s only triple distilled single malt whisky.
Meanwhile, it has also announced the bottling of Bowmore 16-year old, a single malt which has been aged in sherry casks, as well Bowmore 37-year old. The latter is so limited that only 708 bottles will be available for purchase.
Karen Murray, Auchentoshan marketing manager said: “This limited edition is a fantastic expression of Auchentoshan and is a worthy addition to our premium range.”
Glen Moore, Bowmore brand director, said of the Bowmore bottlings: “These releases, demonstrate the complexity of Bowmore single malt and the influence the cask type has on Bowmore.”
Article Courtesy of The Publican
The Publican

June 25
2006

Plan for online whisky futures
A distiller based in the Shetland Islands is poised to launch what is believed to be the world's first online whisky futures trading platform.
Blackwood Distillers, a spirits group that is converting an abandoned RAF base into a distillery on Unst, the UK's most northerly island, is hoping to have the system in operation by the end of next month.
Set up by New York hedge fund managers in conjunction with Blackwood, the platform will allow traders and customers to buy and sell options on the whisky distilled on Unst.
Although similar futures trading of fine wines is a booming business, with Farr Vinters, the UK wine traders, believing it will sell £20m worth of Bordeaux futures this year, the trading of whisky futures or options is largely uncharted territory.
The principle of how the whisky will be traded is similar to the en primeur system of wine trading, in which customers buy maturing wine before it is bottled.
Cask samples of wines are made available for tasting to journalists and large wholesale buyers in the spring following the vintage. The brokers and merchants sell on the wine to their cus-tomers.
In general it is not bottled or shipped until about two years later.
Article Courtesy of The Telegraph
Telegraph

June 23
2006

Scotch Whisky takes on Russia's vodka habit
The Scotch Whisky Association has held its first tasting in Russia, reflecting the inroads whisky has made in a nation traditionally hooked on vodka.
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), hosted the tasting, which included various whiskies from single malt to blended.
The event, the first of its kind for Scotch Whisky in Russia, demonstrates how the country is growing in importance for whisky exporters.
Scotch Whisky exports to Russia rose from £5m to £20m between 2000 and 2005, making Russia the industry's 25th largest export destination by value.
Hewitt said: “With Russian consumers starting to enjoy Scotch Whisky in greater numbers, and Russia's eventual accession to the World Trade Organisation likely to improve trading conditions for imported spirit drinks, we are confident the market will continue to grow in the future.”
Emerging markets across Eastern Europe and Asia helped Scotch Whisky to offset an 11 per cent drop in exports to other parts of the EU last year.
Whisky was the largest imported spirit drink in Russia last year, after strong growth in the last five years, according to a recent report on the Russian spirits market by the US Foreign Agricultural Service.
Whisky sales in Russia reached £157m in 2004, according to figures from market research group Euromonitor, although the sector was still eclipsed by vodka, which posted sales of around £5.6bn for the same year.
The US report said rising incomes in Russia had fostered a promising premium spirits market, and that the sector as a whole now made up 13 per cent of Russia's food and drink market.
Scotch Whisky, however, can expect to face rising competition from other countries, notably the US and Ireland, the report added.
The SWA trip to Russia coincided with a trade visit to the country by Scotland's deputy first minister Nicol Stephen.
"I've spoken recently to many Scottish companies, across a range of sectors, who are already operating in Russia. Their message is consistent and clear - the opportunities in Russia are considerable,” he said.
Article Courtesy of Beverage Daily
Beverage Daily

June 16
2006

No need to know whisky for a shot of fine dining room
THE elegant Georgian dining room of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society must be one of the most charming eating venues in Edinburgh.
Even before a morsel arrives on your smart, white linen-covered table, the classical proportions of the high-ceiling room and the view outside past the wrought iron lamps to the greenery of Queen Street Gardens puts you in an appreciative frame of mind.
As specialist architects Simpson and Brown inform us, James Nisbet developed 28 and 29 Queen Street in 1789. He had an enthusiasm for the geometric plans of Robert Adam and introduced as many curved walls and interesting shapes as possible.
After 160 years of residential use, the houses were bought by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. They moved in 2001 and the houses were to be split into flats. Work was under way when the Scotch Malt Whisky Society acquired it as a club, which allowed a more sympathetic restoration.
Article Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

June 15
2006

A modern-day dram
DRINKS giant Diageo is launching a new single malt brand for a "new generation of malt whisky drinkers".
The 12-year-old Scotch, called The Singleton Of Glen Ord, will go on sale this month in selected Asian markets.
Article Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

June 10
2006

Trying to stub out the fakes
In the drinks industry, rather than concentrating on the packaging, the main way of identifying brand impostors is to analyse the liquid in suspect bottles.
Diageo, the owner of whisky brands such as Johnnie Walker and J&B, uses a machine called the Authenticator, which was developed at a cost of £100,000 and is about the size and weight of a mid-1980s “brick” mobile phone.
The tester injects a syringe-full of whisky into the Authenticator. After analysis with ultra-violent light, the machine spells out on its screen the name of a recognised brand or the word “fail”.
Robert McElroy, technical director of Diageo, said there were now 75 Authenticator machines worldwide, each costing £6,500. Tests last only 15-20 seconds. “You can go into any city, take thousands of samples and act quickly,” he said.
Diageo has about 20 staff engaged in anti-counterfeit work. In developed markets such as the UK, the problem is often a case of illegal substitution — unscrupulous bar owners refilling empty bottles with something cheaper and then selling it at the price of the drink on the label. In emerging markets, it is generally a question of home-made spirit masquerading as a Scotch brand.
McElroy said: “What we say to the authorities is that counterfeit whisky is a danger to health, results in a loss of tax revenue and can often be used to finance other criminal activity.”
Article Courtesy of The Times
The Times

June 07
2006

Something new is brewing in Shetland
"YOU'RE not going to do the 'Britain's most northerly distillery' stuff are you?" is Caroline Whitfield's opening gambit. "That's not what we're about - really it isn't."
Don't play the "niche market" card with Shetland's Blackwood Distillers CEO either.
"Niche is a dangerous concept, implying a minor part in a big portfolio – not my vision of what Shetland can do."
Blackwood Distillers – already producing top-selling brands of gin and vodka – is in the process of converting a former military base in a remote part of Shetland into a whisky distillery.
RAF Saxa Vord in Unst, was situated at the outermost edge of the most northerly part of Shetland – nearer to Norway than Scotland. Its strategic location is no longer relevant in post Cold War times, but for 60 years the base had been the island's economic mainstay. Last year's closure were a devastating blow. For Blackwood Distillers it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
"The economic aspect of doing this at Unst is that when we move in, we're aiming for a straight one-to-one swap when it comes to locally based jobs", says Whitworth, who emphasises that no public funding is involved.
No prizes for guessing that the sheer audacity of Whitfield's approach is the reason investors took a chance on her in the first place.
It has been four years since the Oxford graduate with a background in law and a career in global marketing moved to Shetland with her husband and family.
"We wanted somewhere safe to bring the children up," she says. "I've got a Scandinavian background and my husband is Scottish, so we compromised."
Previous promotional work for the drinks industry proved fortuitous.
"Something that soon sprang to mind was the land was 52 per cent peat and it rained on average two days out of three – perfect conditions for distilling."
Whitfield was amazed to find no distillery there already.
"I went to the local museum and found out Shetland had been a hive of activity for gin smuggling over the centuries, but no history of commercial spirit distilling. I thought 'what an opportunity' and got my thinking cap on."
Shetlanders were enthusiastic about the idea but weren't convinced the massive capital sums could be raised. Some were familiar with Whitfield, who organised working holidays in Shetland for drinks industry contacts. By the end of 2002 a company had been set up; shareholders consisted of private individuals who decided it was a chance worth taking.
The huge outlays involved in setting up a whisky distillery are being offset by selling white spirits (which don't need maturing). Working capital is being provided by Blackwood's Nordic Dry Gin, Shetland Nordic Vodka, and Jago's Vodka Cream Liqueur – a sort of alcoholic ice cream, with natural vanilla and local double cream.
"For all our products we use natural and home-grown ingredients," says Whitfield. "We flavour with sea pinks, wild water mint, cassia bark and orris root."
The company's operational base at Nesting, ten miles from Shetland's main town of Lerwick is ideal for growing the botanicals used in their white spirits, and she intends to keep that side of the business separate from the whisky production in Unst. Meanwhile, the commercial success of their initial venture has gone a long way to raising the £5 million needed to convert the former Royal Air Force base and make whisky production a commercial reality.
To this end she's joined forces with another Highland entrepreneur, Frank Strang.
"It was purely by chance that I met Frank, who's ex-RAF and passionate about the place. He knows about the commercial side of things when it comes to converting the premises. Having him on board means I can concentrate on my side of it. I’m determined to produce a premium product here."
She intends to use bere barley – an ancient strain grown in Unst as far back as 5,000 years ago.
"We're going to do our own thing here, and we hope we'll provide an economic incentive for local farmers to produce grain for us," Whitfield adds. "In the meantime we're working with the Orkney Agronomy Institute and existing suppliers and aim to have our first batch distilled and barrelled by April next year."
Whisky can't legally be called whisky until it has matured for exactly three years and one day.
So in April 2010, we can look forward to our first taste of Shetland whisky.
The name for this new special concoction is still under wraps.
"It will be a local decision – an old dialect name," says Whitfield. "Something unique, to suit a unique place and a unique product."
Article Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

June 04
2006

Malt fans rebel over glass ban
Owner of world-renowned bar vows to lose his licence rather than serve his £250 nips in plastic cups.
The most famous whisky bar in the world could be forced out of business under Glasgow's controversial plan to introduce a blanket ban on glass.
Ken Storrie, the owner of the internationally-renowned Pot Still, said he would rather lose his licence than serve his vast selection of malts, which cost up to £250 a nip, in plastic cups.
The ban, due to be introduced in all bars and pubs in the city from January, will also prevent people from buying bottles of wine or champagne.
Storrie said it would damage Glasgow's global image and hit tourism when it is trying to shed the violent image highlighted in the book No Mean City.
He is backed by Scotland's tourist board and Edinburgh City Council, while the Scottish Beer and Pub Association has asked the Court of Session for a judicial review of the Glasgow Licensing Board's decision to introduce the ban.
But Councillor Gordon Macdiarmid, the board's convener, said he was not worried by the legal challenge, adding: 'It is astonishing that anyone in the 21st century should seek to place the protection of glass receptacles ahead of the safety of their patrons.'
Macdiarmid, who has campaigned for years to make Glasgow the first 'glass-free' city in the world, said he was acting on evidence, as well as demands from parents of 'glassing' victims, surgeons and the police.
But Storrie dismissed the suggestion that he was against efforts to tackle violence: 'All licensees want to address violence and reduce injuries. But this policy is totally ill-thought out and over the top.'
His range of almost 500 malts is now served in specially-designed Glencairn crystal glasses. 'They have won a Queen's Award. Yet here in the home of whisky, we're supposed to start serving it in plastic cups. It is utterly ridiculous.'
His refusal to sign up to the scheme means he will initially lose his regular extended opening hours. A continued refusal to comply or seek an exemption could cost him his licence.
A VisitScotland spokesperson said: 'The ban could present a message to visitors that Glasgow is unsafe.' Councillor Phil Attridge, convener of the Edinburgh licensing board, said a city-wide ban 'would be an over-reaction'.
The application for a judicial review is expected to be heard later this month.
Article Courtesy of The Observer
Observer

June 04
2006

Australian wines inspire new whisky range
ONE of Scotland's oldest family firms has launched a range of branded whiskies it hopes will revolutionise the way drinkers perceive and buy the spirit.
Fife-based Wemyss Development Company, whose interests range from tea planting in Kenya to sheep farming in Australia, is launching three blended whiskies: The Peat Chimney, The Spice King and The Smooth Gentleman.
The whiskies, which will be distributed by the Boutinot Group to specialist independent retailers, are named after taste profiles conducted by industry nose Charles Maclean.
Wemyss chairman William Wemyss said the aim is to do for the Scotch whisky industry what putting the grape variety on the label did for Australian wines.
He said: "There is so much terminology within the industry - vatted, blended and single malt - that it is often very confusing for the consumer.
"What we are trying to do is to use what the Australian wine industry has learned by clearly telling the consumer what is in the bottle.
"If you put Chardonnay on the label, people know what it tastes like. With our taste description, buyers know it's smooth, they know it's spicy, they know it's peaty, rather than a crusty old distillery label that nobody has ever heard of."
The blends follow the launch of a range of branded malts by the firm at last month's London Wine Trade Fair. The malts are bottled by region: Highland, Speyside, Islay and Lowlands.
Alan Gray, whisky analyst at Charles Stanley Sutherlands and author of the Scotch Whisky Industry Review, said: "Fresh ideas are always welcome in the industry and if they are well thought out there is no reason why the product should not succeed."
Article Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com
May 2006 Scotch Whisky News

May 31
2006

Whisky back on the menu at Murrayfield
THE drink of Scotland's national rugby team is to be available to fans in Murrayfield Stadium tonight for the first time in 20 years.
Famous Grouse, which has sponsored the national rugby team for the last 15 years, is to be on sale in the ground's bars for the first time since 1980, following a change in rules on alcohol at the ground.
For the past 26 years, public alcohol consumption at men's international rugby matches has been confined to areas outside the stadium.
But a decision to relax the rules will see Famous Grouse make a comeback to the stadium for the first time at the Scotland v Barbarians match tonight.
The whisky will only be served as "The Ginger Grouse", a long drink with ice, lime and ginger beer as Murrayfield spectators will not be allowed to buy neat whisky or double measures.
Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie said: "Scotland's game against the Barbarians allows us the opportunity to give the green light to The Famous Grouse to sell The Ginger Grouse at Murrayfield and I'm confident this will help demonstrate how our sport can adapt seamlessly to alcohol being sold here in a responsible manner."
The legislation was changed following the success of the introduction of in-stadium drinking at recent club events, such as at the Heineken Cup Final in 2005.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

May 30
2006

Whisky's Number 1 Woman
A DISTILLERY manager has become the first woman to join the whisky industry's powerful governing body in their 132-year history.
Polly MacDonald, 23, has been voted on to the Malt Distillers Association of Scotland management committee.
Yesterday, she said: "I suppose I should feel proud. It's one for the girls."
Tomatin Distillery production manager Polly, who graduated from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, hopes it will pave the way for more women to enter the traditionally male-dominated world of whisky.
At the Inverness-shire plant, Polly supervises the production of more than two million litres per year with a team of three mash-men, four still-men and a quality control analyst.
She oversees the Antiquary range of blended whisky and Tomatin's 12-year-old and 15-year old single malts.
Articles Courtesy of The Daily Record
Daily Record

May 25
2006

Chivas takes China newspaper to court
CHIVAS Brothers, which is owned by the world's second-biggest Scotch whisky producer, Pernod Ricard, has gone to court in China to rebut a front-page Shanghai newspaper story claiming the firm sells inferior, younger whiskies in the country labelled as 12-year-old Chivas Regal.
The firm and its sister company in China are demanding an apology from the International Finance News, which said almost all the 700,000 cases of 12-year-old Chivas Regal shipped to China each year were mislabelled, and have not been aged that long.
The claim is groundless, said a spokeswoman for Pernod Ricard (China) Trading Co.
"All Chivas Regal 12 sold in China is the same as the Chivas Regal 12 sold in the rest of the world," said Kathie Wang, saying the company has documents from the Scottish Whisky Association and various government bodies proving the drink is produced and labelled according to both countries' laws.
The International Finance News is standing by its story and has countersued, demanding an apology for alleged defamation, the paper's lawyer, Zhang Yi, told the Associated Press. Neither side is seeking damages, Zhang said.
Both sides submitted evidence during an initial hearing on Tuesday, he said.
Pernod Ricard recently revealed that sales of Chivas Regal were up 10 per cent in the nine months to the end of March as total sales of its spirits and wines rose two-thirds to £3.12 billion. The company also produces The Glenlivet.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

May 23
2006

Malt Whisky has been the Most Robust Sector within Scotch Whisky for Over a Decade
This 2006 edition of the malt whisky report has been written by Dave Broom and provides malt whisky estimates by total volume for the major markets from 2000 to 2011. It examines the current state of play within the malt whisky category and discusses how distillers and brand owners are facing up to the next step-change in malt's evolution; from sector to category and from product to brand. The report looks at the dilemma faced by brands in the UK where supermarkets rather than brand owners have dictated marketing strategies.
The author spoke with over 20 leading industry executives in producing this report. The extracts of their interviews provide unique viewpoints on the state of the industry, including executive commentary.
Malt whisky has been the most robust sector within Scotch whisky for over a decade and although it still makes up a small percentage of overall Scotch volumes (a maximum of 10% volume overall) its share of voice is considerably higher. Neil Macdonald, malts marketing director at Chivas Bros: "The UK is undoubtedly competitive and we have to fight for space but I do think we have turned a corner and, although price promotion is inevitable, we are trying to wean consumers away from it. We have managed to move The Glenlivet pricing up and, since the breaking of the GBP20 barrier, the category appears to have moved up. Certainly, GBP22.99 is a better position to be in than GBP19.99."
Market coverage includes the major markets of France, US, UK, other markets including: Spain, Italy, Nordic Markets and Japan, and emerging markets: Taiwan, China and India.
Chapter one discusses the states of the markets in the United Kingdom, United States and France. It highlights where companies are cautious and what gives greater optimism. The top ten brands for each country are given as are total volume sales for 2000 - 2004. This chapter also includes other markets covering: Spain, Italy, Nordic Markets and Japan and emerging markets: Taiwan, China and India.
Malt is at a crossroads, the niche is becoming a category in its own right. The component parts are at a crossroads too, shifting from products to brands. Products exist but brands want consumers to love them; they need to seduce the consumer. The success or failure of each brand lies in the effectiveness of this seduction. There is a need, therefore, for differentiation. The days of malt simply being a well-crafted product have passed. If all malt is equally well made, then each brand needs to find its own way of attracting possible purchasers.
The second chapter highlights the concept of luxury and consumers. Luxury is a buzzword among marketing people these days and it makes commercial sense for a category such as malt to disassociate itself from being a value-for-money commodity and appeal, instead, to the growing numbers of luxury consumers. As brands have evolved, the balance between brand owner and consumer has shifted. But who are these malt drinkers? Can there be such a thing as a global malt brand? The industry is entering an interesting phase in its evolution.
There is little to suggest that malt will not continue to grow robustly globally. There is momentum behind the category, consumer awareness is increasing, there is a general trend to premium products and, most importantly, investment is being put behind the brands. All of these point to a category which will continue in rude health. Taking a number of statistical reviews into consideration, we estimate that malt will put on 6% growth per annum for the next five years. This level of growth, however, will not be seen across all markets.
Covering the market forecasts for France, US, UK, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and the rest of the world (which includes, Germany, Sweden). It also covers the emerging markets: Russia, China, India and Brazil. The chapter highlights which brands will grow as well as providing malt whisky total volume for the major markets (France, US, UK, Italy, Spain Taiwan, Germany, Japan and Sweden) from 2000 to 2011.
Articles Courtesy of Business Wire
Business Wire

May 22
2006

Distillery elicits historic drams
Whisky distillers at Glenlivet are recreating history by legally using the type of still used illicitly about 200 years ago.
The specially designed "Small Still" uses the same methods as illicit distillers once employed in Banffshire.
The aim is to produce a small supply of the spirit that first created the reputation of Scotch whisky two centuries ago.
Distilling was legalised by the Excise Act of 1823.
The Small Still was commonly used to create a whisky which entered legend as being smooth, fruity and easy to drink.
There were believed to be hundreds of illicit stills hidden away in the hills of Glenlivet before distilling was legalised.
Current legislation restricts the size of a still, so the Glenlivet Distillery in Ballindalloch had to seek government permission to use the still, which has a capacity of only 12 gallons.
'Huge impact'
Jim Cryle, the retired master distiller at Glenlivet, and Alan Winchester, current malt distilleries manager of Glenlivet's owners Chivas Brothers, are overseeing the first distillation.
Mr Cryle said: "We are delighted to have been granted permission to use the Small Still once again.
"The smuggling community made a huge impact on the reputation of Scotch whisky and we have learnt a lot from their original methods of distillation.
"To this day The Glenlivet retains the fruity, pineapple notes and unique softness first associated with the illicit Glenlivet spirit of the 19th century."
Experts will assess the results of the process before deciding if any of the recreated whisky will be sold.
Articles Courtesy of BBC
BBC News

May 21
2006

Upgrade for Edinburgh whisky centre
THE Scotch whisky industry is to invest £2m in a revamp for its capital tourism centre.
The first phase of the project at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre will include a £400,000 upgrade of the frontage that will include building a state-of-the-art glass cylinder that will open out on to Castle Wynd.
Alastair McIntosh, managing director of the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, says he hopes the second phase, a £600,000 overhaul of the visitor tour, will be completed by 2007.
The SWHC has a turnover of £3m and last year made a pre-tax profit of £400,000.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

May 20
2006

A dram good perfume
WHISKY lovers may be alarmed by our revelation today that the latest innovation in perfume is to be a new range based on some of the finest malts.
Some will choke on their dram at the very thought that the merest drop of the Water of Life could be wasted as an eau de toilette (the very name of which should arouse immediate suspicion). Then there will be disbelief that Scotch could be bracketed with inferior indulgences, such as chocolate, as an ingredient in a potion to be dabbed behind the ears of women.
The fact that Dr George Dodd, the inventor behind the new perfumes, is from Ireland - a land which cannot even spell the word 'whisky' correctly - will only add to the concerns.
But, wait - perhaps Dr Dodd is on to something. For a start, no whisky is actually used in the perfume. And a malt-based scent has obvious commercial possibilities and could open up a whole new arm of the tourism industry. In the same way that drinkers come to Scotland to take to the whisky trail, a whole new group of 'Sniff-ters' might also holiday here. In fact, we hope that Dr Dodd has all his patents in place lest the Japanese, Indians and Welsh try to get in on the act.
At a practical level, a perfume that smells of whisky will provide malt-lovers with the perfect gift for the woman in their lives. And, if the absent-minded ever get caught out on the morning of an anniversary or a birthday, the drinks cabinet might offer a source of last-minute presents.
We do foresee one further dilemma, however. What is a wife to think from now on if her husband comes home, late at night, smelling of whisky?
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

May 19
2006

Duncan Taylor introduces new Lonach collection to its premium portfolio
Multi award-winning whisky merchants Duncan Taylor & Co. have launched a new range of aged single malts to their expanding collection of unique premium whiskies.
Joining the Duncan Taylor group The Lonach Collection, is a new range made up of seven different single malts from premium whisky distilleries throughout Scotland including Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Glenrothes and Caperdonich.
The Collection, out this month, contains a vatting of aged malt whisky from under-strength casks with over-strengths’ from the same distillery. This results in truly unique single malts aged from 33 – 37 years old.
Euan Shand, Director of Duncan Taylor comments. “What usually happens in distilleries is lower-strength whiskies tend to be used for blends if they do not meet the minimum alcohol requirement of 40% - regardless of the quality. This can be a terrible waste of some fantastic lower strength malts. What is important about the Lonach Collection is that it keeps these natural lower strength whiskies by combining them with over-strength casks.”
As with all Duncan Taylor’s premium ranges, The Lonach Collection is non-chill filtered, with no colourings added. The malts are 100% natural from casks to bottle.
According to Mr Shand, this is just the beginning of the Lonach’s bright future with Duncan Taylor. He adds “The launch is just the preliminary phase of this range. We have great expectations for the Lonach Collection. They are exceptional value for premium aged single malts. We’re looking at releasing bottlings from other distilleries which are older than this range. It’s a very exciting time.”
The Lonach Collection from Duncan Taylor is available now in 70cl bottles and is purchased in a prestigious presentation tube with gold-leaf print.
RRP between £55- £70.
Log on to www.duncantaylor.com for more information and stockist details.
Articles Courtesy of Duncan Taylor & Co
duncantaylor.com

May 18
2006

Top pipers toast whisky firm
A SCOTCH whisky firm has handed over £10,000 to sponsor this weekend's Scottish Pipe Band Championships.
Chivas Brothers, based in Paisley, will be the main sponsors of
Saturday's event at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton.
With Dumbarton Rock as a dramatic backdrop, more than 30,000
visitors are expected to attend the spectacle, which will feature around 140 bands from the UK and abroad.
It is the first of this year's championship-ranked piping events
Each band will compete for the title of 100 Pipers' Pipe Band Champions.
The event, organised by West
Dunbartonshire Council, has free admission. It starts at 9am and competition will continue throughout the day, building up to the march-past of the bands.
The final event will be the prize winners' ceremony, performed by the championship chieftain.
To help make it a family day, There will also be funfairs and village stalls.
Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers said:
"We are delighted to be involved in the event and to support the local community."
Alistair Macdonald, provost of West Dunbartonshire Council, said: "The sponsorship will help to ensure the event is a great success."
Articles Courtesy of Evening Times
Evening Times

May 17
2006

Barrels rolled out for water cuts
An Aberdeenshire whisky merchant plans to sell unwanted barrels to ease drought problems in south east England.
Euan Shand, of Duncan Taylor and Co in Huntly, has thousands of surplus wooden whisky barrels which could be used to collect water.
He hopes they could help people facing water shortages and hosepipe bans in the south of England.
Mr Shand said: "They could help water gardens - and you could even water down your whisky as well."
The barrels have been used to mature some of the finest and oldest of Scotland's whisky.
However, because they are now more than 40 years old they are seen as surplus to distillery requirements.
Mr Shand, the managing director of Duncan Taylor, believes the best way to get the casks to people is via garden centres which could then sell them to the public.
He said he was inspired by television pictures of the impending drought in parts of England.
Mr Shand said: "I saw the plight of what was happening and thought people could use them to catch rainwater for their plants and washing cars.
"We have a few thousand surplus casks and decided it was a good opportunity.
"Most of the whisky is out of them although there may still be some dry taste in the wood.
"People could run a power hose out of them.
"And they are aesthetic and it's natural oak."
Articles Courtesy of BBC News
BBC News

May 15
2006

'Whisky' sailor returns to island
An original crew member from the ship which inspired the film Whisky Galore has returned to the Western Isles after 65 years.
Maurice Watson, who worked as a cadet on the SS Politician, returned to Eriskay to mark his 80th birthday.
The SS Politician ran aground in February 1941 while carrying an estimated 22,000 cases of whisky.
Local fishermen from the island boarded the stricken ship in the dead of night and removed much of its cargo.
The incident inspired the 1947 Compton Mackenzie novel Whisky Galore and the film of the same name in 1949.
Mr Watson, who was only 15 years old when the vessel ran aground, said he had not been aware of the ship's alcoholic cargo until years later when he read the Mackenzie story.
Crates of whisky
Crew members from the SS Politician were travelling to Jamaica when the ship ran aground on the northern side of Eriskay in bad weather.
While the marooned vessel awaited salvage local fishermen boarded the ship and found the crates of whisky.
It is estimated that up to half the cases of whisky eventually found their way ashore - along with other items including silk, perfume, bicycles and toothpaste.
Nineteen islanders were eventually prosecuted for looting whisky and sent to jail for a month.
Articles Courtesy of BBC News
BBC News

May 12
2006

'Premiumisation' boosts Pernod Ricard numbers
PERNOD Ricard, the second-biggest Scotch whisky producer, yesterday announced that sales of its spirits and wines rose two-thirds to 4.57 billion (£3.12bn) in the nine months to the end of March.
The figure compared with sales of 2.73bn in the same period a year earlier, and was heavily influenced by Pernod's acquisition of Allied Domecq last summer.
Stripping out Allied, organic growth was 4 per cent for the first nine months of the financial year, and 1.5 per cent for the third quarter.
Pernod said yesterday that its premium brands had all performed strongly: Chivas Regal sales were up 10 per cent, The Glenlivet was up 14 per cent, Jameson ahead 14 per cent, and Martell up 8 per cent.
The company said: "Sales value of Pernod Ricard's 12 key brands thus increased by 7 per cent, which represents an organic growth significantly higher than the 1 per cent volume growth, reflecting the premiumisation of the portfolio."
Spirits drove the strong performance, showing 5.3 per cent growth, while the wine business declined 2.9 per cent.
Pernod reaffirmed it expected full-year earnings per share at the top of a range of 7.25 to 7.60, compared with a restated 6.6 in 2004-5, and said it would pay an interim dividend on 2005-6 earnings of 1.12 euros on 5 July.
One analyst said: "These are pretty decent figures, although not stellar."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

May 09
2006

Malts prepare for new phase of development
The malt whisky sector has grown from being a niche to being a category in its own right. In addition to providing an overview of the malt market, along with brand and country forecasts to 2011, a new report from just-drinks also examines how malt whisky marketing is changing as the category expands.
The growth of the malt whisky segment means this is no longer a niche of the larger Scotch whisky market but a category in its own right, which has implications for how malts are marketed going forward.
According to a new report on the malt market published by just-drinks, Global market review of malt whisky - forecasts to 2011, the days of malt simply being a well-crafted product have passed. If all malt is equally well-made then each brand needs to find its own way of attracting possible purchasers. In other words, differentiation and brand identity are key.
However, even if malt whiskies are entering a new phase in their development, asserting themselves as brands, this does not mean that the intrinsic attributes of production and provenance, which differentiated malts from blended whisky brands in the first place - are to be lost. Rather, those characteristics must be retained but the malt brand’s identity is enhanced and developed.
As Martin Price, marketing director at Maxxium UK, puts it: “Today it is not just about quality or provenance but self-expression, so the personality of the brand has to reflect the personality of the consumer. Therefore there are more ways to talk about malt than just ‘it’s made from heathery peat’.”
The development of malt as a category in its own right is not simply about the size of the sector - though it does now account for 14% of the Scotch whisky market in value terms - but is also reflected in how the offering is broadening, with sub-sectors such as value-for-money, mainstream, premium and esoteric now being identified.
The newly-defined sector of blended malt has an intriguing role to play in this. Positioned slightly above value-for-money, edging into the mainstream, blended malts have fewer volume constraints and the phenomenal growth shown by brands such as Johnnie Walker Green Label and Famous Grouse Vintage Malt, suggests that this sector could act as a significant volume player in the new malt category.
Although brand owners largely agree that blended malt will act as a useful introduction to the category, many are focusing equally strongly on establishing malt’s luxury credentials.
In essence, luxury equals craftsmanship, tradition, limited production and high quality, all buttons which malt pushes. However, the existence of a value-for-money sub-sector within malt shows that not all malts can be seen as luxury products. In other words, if some malts wish to be seen as part of a luxury category then they have to establish themselves as such, which once again comes down to an enhanced brand marketing approach.
“Luxury equals authenticity, provenance, supreme crafting, scarcity,” says Ken Grier, malts marketing director, Edrington Group. “It must be aspirational and relevant and, finally, it must be innovative and fresh in order to attract new consumers.”
The key to any malt whisky has always been in its individuality, but as malt grows globally, even the importance of a national identity becomes less overt and more of an underpinning. The fact that malt comes from Scotland conceivably matters less to a consumer in Taipei than an ex-pat in New York. The same goes for heritage. It is a fundamental part of malt and a powerful cue for the premium/luxury consumer but is only part of a more complex marketing mix.
There is now greater divergence of message from malts than at any previous
stage of its existence. The different approaches taken by the major players are a clear indication of malt growing up, of products becoming brands. The key to their success is how they engage with the new global consumer who is shifting towards premium and luxury.
Malt drinkers today tend to be upscale, affluent and there are, theoretically, a growing number of them. But while malt marketers generally agree that there is a global trend towards premium and towards malt, there is also a consensus view that there is no such thing as a malt consumer, but a number of different groupings all of whom are engaged in one way or another with malt.
However, as the malt sector continues to grow, the key question distillers have to ask themselves is how mainstream do they want malt to become. For all the talk of latent potential, the bottom line is that the majority of brands are currently using stock which was laid down a minimum of ten and more often than not, 12 years ago. Malt’s growth is entirely dictated by the stock profile within each distillery. The tap cannot simply be turned on to satisfy rapidly increased demand. Steady growth is the by-word, and any move into the mainstream needs to be carefully managed.
Articles Courtesy of Just Drinks
just-drinks

May 08
2006

Whisky takes Scotland to top of spirit world
SCOTCH whisky remains the world's most powerful part of the spirit and wine sector - while Scotland itself is now the most powerful country of origin for the products, according to a new report.
The Power 100 2006 report, published today by Intangible Business - the respected independent brand valuation consultancy - researched nearly 10,000 brands in the spirit and wine sector to come up with its top 100 most powerful, defined by a brand's ability to generate value, based on share of market, growth, price positioning and the number of markets in which it is sold.
Diageo - which has its production headquarters in Edinburgh Park - topped the league table for the most powerful brand owner, with Glasgow's Edrington Group in at world number 11.
Diageo-owned Smirnoff was named the world's most valuable brand, followed by Bacardi, with Diageo's Johnnie Walker in third place, with an estimated 8.2 per cent of the world whisky market.
Pernod Ricard's Ballantine's whisky was the other Scottish name in the top ten. The top five was completed by Martini and Stolichnaya vodka.
Scotch whisky accounted for 13 of the top 100 brands - Ballantine's was closely followed by Chivas Regal (11), Dewars (13), and J&B (16). Grants appeared at 27, Famous Grouse at 32 and 100 Pipers at 36. Bells was at 53, Glenfiddich 63, Cutty Sark 77, and Drambuie 94.
Whisky is deemed the world's strongest overall spirits brand, ahead of vodka, rum, flavoured spirits and still light wine.
Scotland led Russia, the US, France and Cuba as the five most powerful countries of origin.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

May 02
2006

India beats US to become world’s largest whisky market
For scots, the problem with Indian whiskies just got bigger. India has quietly emerged as the largest international whisky market, toppling the US by volume.
This is seen as a significant development for the global drinks industry, comparable to China’s emergence as the top beer market two years ago.
Industry data for ‘05-06 suggests that Indian whiskies, non-matured alcohols mostly made from molasses, and hence not considered whisky by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), reported depletions of about 60m cases (9-litre each). In comparison, the US recorded combined sales of Bourbon, American and Scotch whiskies at 48-50m cases, putting it one notch below India .
Indian whiskies account for 98% of domestic whisky consumption, reporting 8-10% growth annually, which makes it one among the fastest growing whisky markets anywhere in the world.
It must be mentioned that nine Indian whiskies figured in the New York-based Impact International’s latest list of top 100 global spirits brands.
India’s emergence as the top whisky market comes at a time when it has alleged that EU and SWA, in particular, have been building non-trade barriers on definitional issues to keep Indian whiskies out of the global market. Besides the domestic market, Indian whiskies sell mostly in the Middle East and in some other Asian markets, but has no market access to the mature markets in the West.
The Indian liquor industry, led by UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya, has consistently opposed lowering of tariffs on imported spirits in the absence of better market access for Indian whiskies.
Indian whiskies have reported staggering growth over the past decade, going up from 35-38m cases in ’98 to 60m in ’05-06. “
The domestic market for whiskies could touch 100m in ’09-10 and a whopping 180m in ’15,” predicts Mohan Krishna, a doctorate in alcobev marketing, who represented the Indian voice in the recent World Whisky Conference in Scotland.
“The one market that can change the character of the whisky industry overnight will not be China, Russia, Eastern Europe or Brazil, but India. This is where you already have a large number of educated whisky connoisseurs,” says Dr Krishna.
This former Shaw Wallace official adds that SWA may have a lot to gain from the Indian market for whiskies, if they bury the hatchet with the local industry. “The younger Indian generation tends to move towards Scotch because they associate it more with the West and modern brand values. Again, the market is also showing a growing preference for the malt-based whiskies,” he adds.
However, voices on the side of the Scotch industry tended to play down India’s ranking as the largest international whisky market. As expected, they qualified the domestic market, citing the definitional problems pertaining to Indian whiskies.
“The Indian whiskies benefited as the consumer shifted from country liquor with some of the big federal markets banning the latter, and again, our point is that in value terms the market here, still, has not much attraction,” they explain.
Articles Courtesy of India Times
indiatimes.com
April 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Apr 27
2006

Scotland targets China's tourists
TWICE as many Chinese travel industry buyers as last year have attended this year's VisitScotland Expo in Glasgow, raising hopes of a major boost for the Scottish industry from the world's fastest-growing, and potentially biggest, tourism market.
Around 20 Chinese travel companies from the Beijing and Shanghai areas were represented at the Expo, Scotland's only business-to-business travel trade event which ended at the SECC yesterday.
VisitScotland recently appointed Po Ling Lee, a Chinese national, to promote trade from East Asia. In 2004, the most recent year for which statistics are currently available, 11,000 visitors from China came to Scotland, contributing around £4 million to the economy.
Around 435 buyers from the UK and Irish markets have attended this year's show, 25 of whom are attending for the first time.
The UK recently won Approved Destination Status (ADN) from the Beijing government, giving the green light for China's newly affluent middle class to travel here.
"I sense a real enthusiasm from the Chinese market," said Lee. "Scotland has strong brand appeal to the white-collar Chinese, not least because of the language advantage. As well as the whisky and golf, we have been showing round groups of professionals who appreciate unexpected aspects of Scottish culture, like the Rennie Mackintosh buildings."
Arthur Liu, chief executive of Fasco Travel, one of Shanghai's biggest travel companies, which turns over around £2m a year in tourism traffic to Europe, told The Scotsman that he would be bringing his first tour to Scotland as early as this summer.
"We have had a fascinating time, from Blair Castle to Loch Lomond. Many things about Scotland appeal to Chinese taste," he said. "We have a lot more to learn, and we see real scope to develop the depth and range of itineraries."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 25
2006

Nip in the air
AS THE ferry steers its way through the Sound of Islay towards Port Askaig, you are sailing into a whole new world. On the right is Jura, home to 188 people and 5,000 red deer, the place George Orwell came to write 1984; to the left is Islay, which after the neat townships of Arran looks much more the way you imagine the Hebrides should look.
A gang of island children are with me on the ship, returning home after the holidays. "There's the lighthouse, there's the rich man's house, there's granny's car." It's like being in a Katie Morag book as the boat comes into port.
As I drive on to shore, I open all the windows and fill my lungs to test what I've heard from whisky connoisseurs ... and it's true. The air of Islay really does smell like whisky. It could be the musty smell of peat mixed with the salt spray of the sea. Perhaps you can even smell the Angel's Share, the thousands of litres of single malt which breeze through the walls of casks in bonded warehouses.
Islay is the whisky capital of the world, with seven working distilleries producing 25 million litres a year. As any resident will tell you, if the millions of pounds generated in duty stayed on the island, Islay would be the richest place in Britain.
A visit to a distillery is an essential part of any Islay tour and I've decided to visit Bruichladdich (pronounced Brook-laddie), the new kid on the block. The Victorian distillery lay empty for years until whisky enthusiast Mark Reynier came across it on a cycling holiday. He and a group of investors put in a bid to buy the white-washed buildings; the owners refused every year until 2000, when they suddenly decided to sell.
Since then, Bruichladdich has become the enfant terrible of the whisky world, breaking the mould by selling the water of life in squat, clear bottles, with a bright turquoise label inspired by the vivid colour of the sea as it breaks over the white sand across from the distillery. In the shop, the sales girl is carefully straightening the display of 40-year-old, which normally sells at £1,000 a bottle. "We are having a sale," she tells me. "We have put the price down to £999."
Simon Coughlin, one of the directors, takes me on a tour of the cluster of buildings, showing me the still, the vat where the mash is stirred, the new bottling plant. Production hasn't started up again but the place smells like heaven. I stick my head into the huge wooden vat where the mash is stirred and breathe in a heady, honeyed scent.
After scrambling up the steps to a platform around the top of the narrow-topped copper still, I am introduced to the copper taps where the spirit finally makes its appearance. Whisky production varies according to weather, wind and atmospheric pressure and only a small proportion of the distilled liquor is fit to be bottled.
The company has an imaginative approach to marketing. A couple of years ago, they made headlines by revealing the CIA had trained a spy satellite on the distillery in case they started producing chemical weapons. Now the Bruichladdich boys claim to have discovered the island has an identical twin on the other side of the world; the remote region of Islay in Peru has the same 1,800 million-year-old Gneiss rocks and its inhabitants are also known for distilling liquor.
With my head full of bizarre whisky facts and the flavour of ten-year-old malt singing in my tastebuds, I set off on a quick tour around the island. Here, on the west side of horseshoe-shaped Islay, there are few trees and the landscape seems empty compared to lush Arran. Yet Islay has its own windswept beauty with whitewashed cottages, shell sand beaches - beautiful, welcoming and frequently deserted - and plains of marsh and seagrass. People come for simplicity, for walking and wildlife.
On the rocky promontory known as the Rhinns, I look up into the vast sky, which I realise is full of birds, with maybe 50 swooping formations. Unfortunately, the sky is also full of rain, so I head to the Port Charlotte Hotel, my home for the night.
It looks like a village pub, but is furnished like a smart country hotel, with antique furniture, a bookcase which stretches to the ceiling and vases of lilies on the coffee table. It has been owned for the past three years by Graham and Isobel Allison, who are firm converts to island life. They have adorned the hotel with a collection of contemporary Scottish art and encourage local people and musicians to inhabit the hotel bar. Visitors also come to the Port Charlotte for whisky. The bar is stocked with 127 different bottles, all from Islay, apart from a lone bottle of Jura.
The sun is shining again and the sea shines turquoise behind the rocks and lighthouse but the bar is warm and welcoming, so I settle down for the evening. I tuck in to a fantastic Islay steak washed down with a malt. My fellow guests are two enormous Vikings, dressed in full Highland regalia and drinking £10 glasses of malt.
Soon I am joined by strapping local farmers, who look as if they have been wrestling cows and hurling sheep all day. I notice the Islay accent, soft with a definite Gaelic lilt. Gaelic is still strong here, although people insist they learn it in school like a second language. Islay was once the centre of a Gaelic-speaking seafaring kingdom, which held court at Finlaggan, and I have a sense that islanders retain the self-confidence of a people at the centre of their universe. They still say "the mainland is cut off" on bad weather days.
The whisky industry means Islay is used to business visitors and doesn't depend on tourism, which brings a subtle change in the way newcomers are welcomed. After hearing that I have visited the distillery, locals start suggesting which whiskies I should try. Someone buys me a 17-year-old Bowmore, which impresses Allison when he drops back in. "That's the one the managers drink," he says, and immediately ups the stakes by pouring me 20-year-old Bunnahabhain. I could get used to this, I think, as the peaty, seaweedy, strawberry, toffee and coffee flavours chase around my mouth. I dream of tasting more Islay malts - Port Ellen, Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Lagavulin Laphroaig - but, due to the vagaries of ferry timetables, I must head for the mainland at 9am. I retire with a last look at a moonlit sea crashing on to rocks behind the lighthouse, the taste of Islay still tingling in my head.
Next morning, after superb scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, I head to Port Ellen for the early ferry. Driving across Islay, I am almost blinded by sleet, but, as the ferry pulls out, the sky clears and as we drift towards the sunlit hills of Argyll, the view ahead like a postcard.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 24
2006

Some Scots Angry Over Celebratory Whisky
A whisky dedicated to England’s World Cup win in 1966 sounds like a lovely idea right? Not to some Scots who feel that a Highland distillery's plan to launch a 1966 vintage single malt is unfair since Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup. The whisky is supposed to encourage the Scots to support England at this summer’s World Cup in Germany. Tullibardine Distillery plans to sell 380 70cl bottles for £250 and 5cl miniatures at £30 each. The Sunday Times reports that some Scottish soccer fans think the move is unpatriotic and are calling for a boycott.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 23
2006

Storms hit the glen of tranquillity
GLENMORANGIE, the Scotch whisky company, has come in for further criticism over its production of what a drinks analyst described as own-label "filth".
John Wakely, a former managing director of investment bank Lehman Brothers, said he was looking forward to the "nuclear explosions" that he claims will result when Bernard Arnault, boss of parent group LVMH, sees that Glenmorangie is supplying so much private, own label whisky to supermarkets.
LVMH, which owns global brands such as Moët & Chandon champagne and Louis Vuitton luggage, bought Glenmorangie for £300m in 2004. It was attracted by Glenmorangie's premium malt whisky brands.
But, as Scotland on Sunday revealed earlier this month, it is understood to be uncomfortable with its Broxburn operation that was built to churn out drink at low cost.
Speaking at the world's first-ever global whisky summit, held in Edinburgh last week, Wakely told delegates: "I know a lot about LVMH, and indeed relative to others, about their boss Monsieur Bernard Arnault. It was to many, a surprise that they bought it [Glenmorangie].
"Moet Hennessy felt they could do something with Glenmorangie. Of course now they discover they deal with the 'supermarkets' not for their brand but for the ultimate 'filth' - private label. This is bad.
"Can you imagine LVMH selling one of their own handbags for £500 through their own stores and then selling an imitation to Asda for £30? I look forward to the nuclear explosions this will result in."
Wakely, who has been analysing the drinks market for more than 20 years and is now a strategic consultant, also delivered a verbal tongue lashing to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) for taking a heavy-handed approach to India.
He told delegates: "If I was the SWA, I would be getting awfully friendly with that nation and not issuing threats about trade liberalisation, sneering that their whisky is largely made of molasses and that it must not be allowed into the EU, in case the health of the consumers in this centre of the world would be damaged.
"Perhaps it shows the insecurity of the SWA that they would be threatened by such products."
Last night, a spokeswoman for Glenmorangie said: "The model of having a volume business in tandem with a premium branded business is used by many players in the Scotch whisky industry.
"We have operated this business model very successfully for many years. Moet Hennessy, together with other interested parties, had full access to all company data during the takeover process. This business model was fully understood. Moet Hennessy/LVMH's understanding of, and support for, our use of this model has not changed. No rift exists between the parent and Glenmorangie.
"The conjectures of an analyst who has had no contact with us for at least two years are entirely inaccurate. We are a thriving, successful and profitable Scottish company, which strongly supports Scottish employment and overseas sales."
Campbell Evans, consumer affairs director of the Scotch Whisky Association, dismissed Wakely's comments on India. He said: "For 40 years the Scotch Whisky Association has been seeking fair access to India. Despite repeated promises of reform these have failed to materialise, and the time has to come when stronger action is necessary. Despite that, we still hold out, and would much prefer, to find a negotiated solution to this problem.
"However, there is no doubt in our minds that the system is not compatible with WTO rules."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 23
2006

A Scotch and rye look at life from the bottom of a whisky glass
LAST week, the East Kilbride company Glencairn Crystal won a Queen's Award For Enterprise for the Glencairn Glass, which is designed to enhance the whisky-drinking experience. No Esso tumbler this; the glass is a thing of beauty. It sits on a plinth of crystal, opening out into a big-bottomed bell, before tapering at the rim.
If a glass can be sexy, the Glencairn is. In a certain light, at a Frank Sinatra time of the morning, after a few too many shots from the bartender while the pianist plays a melancholy air, it might be mistaken for Ava Gardner, so gentle and persuasive are its contours. But those curves are not designed to remind whisky drinkers of the fatal femmes who drove them into the saloon, they are made that way to facilitate "nosing", to enhance connoisseurship, allowing an appreciation of colour and bouquet, before the uisge beatha is sloshed into a spittoon.
I write as a recently fallen teetotaller and born-again whisky drinker. For more than 20 years I was a one-man band of temperance, working my way from ginger beer and lime to fresh orange juice that was never fresh, and on to a pointless diet of flat Strathmore. I had my reasons for not drinking, but the sense of them seemed to dissolve in middle age. Latterly, it began to seem like a kind of liquid anorexia, and a public assertion of my pathological resistance to pleasure.
Nor was it beneficial. A couple of years ago I changed dentists. I am accustomed to expressions of shock and awe when I open my mouth, as my smile resembles sunset at the Standing Stones of Stenness. Usually, dentists sigh like mechanics surveying the rust on the wheel arches of an old Mini Clubman, but this one was different. He informed me I had the teeth of an alcoholic, and was astonished that I didn't drink. Eventually it was established that my teeth had dissolved to Steptoe stumps as a side-effect of imbibing too many bottles of Schweppes and ice. "You must have drunk a lot of orange juice," he said, implying I would have been safer with turps.
Still, my collapse was gradual. A holiday in Cuba prompted a dabble with rum, as they don't really do soft drinks in Castro's paradise, and it's hard to impersonate Hemingway without a mojito. Sitting in a cane chair beneath the palms on the veranda of the Hotel Nacional I discovered a dangerous thing. In terms of their effect on the senses, spirits are less powerful than strong coffee. And, while coffee prompted psychosis and sleeplessness, cocktails were soporific.
Whisky was something else. Somewhere in childhood - around the age of seven - I had glugged from a bottle of Bell's, mistaking it for ginger ale, an incident which established an emetic aversion to the stuff. Of course, trainee drinkers understand that all alcohol tastes revolting at first. It can only be appreciated once the body has learned to tolerate each new brand of poison.
The significant moment in my whisky-drinking career came when I found myself on a tour of the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It is a peculiarity of state law that the distillery is located in a dry county. There are no bars, no off-licences. On my first visit to Lynchburg over a decade ago the distillery was not even allowed to sell whiskey (as they wrongly spell it) to visitors.
Well, commerce has inspired a degree of pragmatism. The licensing laws have been tweaked to allow the sale of souvenir bottles, as long as no sorrows are drowned on the premises. Actually supping with the devil is prohibited, unless one signs up for a "tasting course".
Faced with such an inventive approach to legislation, it would have been churlish to refuse. I duly took my place in the lecture theatre. Every student was given four or five glasses. The colour of the liquid progressed from transparent to amber: the richer colour representing the whiskey in its most mature state.
I drank them all, taking indecipherable notes about the importance of charcoal in the distilling process. It was a chastening experience. My favourite was the first glass. It looked like water, and tasted like molten lava. It was pure alcohol, more deadly than moonshine, and with none of the distiller's art applied to its flavour. By the time I got to the final glass - a single barrel malt made from the distilled vapour of virginal kisses - I could taste nothing, and cared less. I grabbed the distiller by the lapels and demanded he name his favourite Scottish malt. He demurred for a while, eventually offering Glenmorangie. "But it's a different drink," he said. "A very different drink."
It is. And I now know that Talisker is different again, as are Springbank and Highland Park and Caol Ila, and all of them are lovely in the right time and place. And while I know nothing about the scholarship of whisky apart from the fact that it is usually safe to opine that something tastes "peaty", even if you have never eaten peat, I do have some experience of those right times and places. They are times of shared humanity usually, often with exhaustion thrown in, and I have enjoyed them in moments of uncertain emotion in various locations; after a near disastrous, but ultimately thrilling hillwalk in the West Highlands, and with strangers on a farm in Derbyshire, who were friends before the Glenlivet was drained.
And now I feel inadequate. Lynchburg put me off connoisseurship, and at no time in my short drinking career have I paused to consider the architecture of the glass. Who knew that "nose" could be a verb?
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 22
2006

Macallan aims to take Moscow success across whole of Russia
EDRINGTON'S flagship single malt, The Macallan, is to launch a country-wide assault on the fast growing Russian market, as it builds on its industry-beating growth in the affluent Moscow region.
The Macallan is the leading premium single malt in a vodka-dominated market that, according to the Scotch Whisky Association, rose by 80 per cent in value terms in 2005. This growth was largely through the expansion of the high-end malt sector, which achieved 35 per cent volume growth compared with 25 per cent for whisky as a whole.
Edrington claims that The Macallan's growth has been at "three times the rate" of that enjoyed by Scotch whisky in Russia overall. Scotch sales amount to 450,000 cases a year, valued at £12 million.
Stewart MacRae, The Macallan's area director for eastern Europe, said: "In global terms Russia is still a relatively small market, but it's shooting up the SWA chart dramatically."
Having established a stronghold in affluent Moscow, The Macallan is putting "boots on the ground" in Russian cities from St Petersburg to Vladivostok in an "aggressive" drive to establish the Macallan brand, he said. "The stereotype of the big spending but undiscriminating Russian consumer is out of date. Our brand appeals to a new Russian taste for the understated."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 21
2006

A Culinary Match Made in Heaven for Duncan Taylor Whiskies
Whisky doesn’t just have to be enjoyed by the glass according to multi-award-winning whisky merchants Duncan Taylor who, this month, have helped create a new whisky-fused menu in association with the acclaimed Highlander Inn, Speyside.
Brochette of sea bass with king prawns followed by breast of duck with sweet potato mash, then finished off with a rich dark chocolate brownie. This is just a hint of the three new dishes which see a gastronomic marriage of the finest seasonal foods with bottlings of Duncan Taylor’s Bruichladdich, Glen Grant and Glenugie malts.
Euan Shand, director of Duncan Taylor comments “Whisky is Scotland’s wine. As our national drink I believe it should be enjoyed like we would a bottle of fine wine, and what better way to do this than over a good meal. Certain whiskies can bring out hidden flavours that you wouldn’t normally get over a bottle of sparkling water. By choosing a good malt, it can really bring a dish to life.”
Tatsuya Minagawa, Director of the Highlander Inn and whisky connoisseur agrees and reveals the reasons behind his favourite couplings. He explains that pairing whiskies with food is not difficult. Like choosing a G&T or small lager for an aperitif or a cognac or port for digestive - whisky can be used in exactly the same way. Generally colours play an important part when matching whisky. Tatsuya sticks to the following: paler whiskies for aperitifs and darker for digestive.
“The starter was easy for me. This is like a law. With fish, always a lightly peated malt, never a heavy smokey whisky. When you think fish, you think of fresh, salty, sea air. So I always look for a slightly sweeter whisky with a hint of peat when recommending to my guests. For the Sea Bass and Prawn dish, I chose Duncan Taylor’s 1990 Bruichladdich. Spot on. Sweet black tea, kitchen foil, lightly peated with a dry finish. The dry finish was very important, as it cleanses the palate for our main course.”
Tatsuya goes on to describe his choice for his next dishes. Duncan Taylor Glen Grant 1970 for the main course of duck, red cabbage and sweet potato, and Glenugie 1981 for the rich dark chocolate brownie dessert.
“There are certain rules I have set to myself and tend to stick to. Bitter with sweet. Delicate with powerful flavours. Colours are important too. Bourbon casks – for which Duncan Taylor excels - give a nice toffee, vanilla, honey and often a citrus type of aroma. Good for cleaning the palate. Sherry casks give rich, rounded raisin or current type of aromas like a brandy or port – a good digestive. I chose the Glen Grant for the duck by sheer accident, but what a pleasant surprise! I shall certainly be recommending this malt from now on.”
Based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Duncan Taylor is set on the peripheral of Speyside - Scotland’s most prestigious whisky producing regions. Having hold of one of the largest privately-held collections of rare Scotch whisky casks, Duncan Taylor has been ‘laying down’ casks from premium Scottish distillers for decades and sells its award-winning whiskies all over the world.
Tatsuya comments on why he chooses Duncan Taylor malts: “I have high expectations when it comes to my choice of scotch and I am never disappointed by Duncan Taylor. Fantastic value for exceptional whiskies.”
For more information on Duncan Taylor’s award-winning range and stockist details, log on to www.duncantaylor.com
For reservations and further information on the Highlander Inn, log on to www.whiskyinn.com
Articles Courtesy of Duncan Taylor & Co
duncantaylor.com

Apr 21
2006

SWA chief calls for misuse crackdown
CHANGES in attitudes to alcohol misuse and a zero tolerance of drunken behaviour are required in Scotland, the Scotch Whisky Association is to urge at a major industry conference today.
At the World Whiskies Conference, Campbell Evans of the SWA will demand "stronger and more consistent enforcement of licensing laws" in support of industry efforts to promote responsible alcohol consumption. "Sellers to underage consumers should have their licence revoked," he will say.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 21
2006

Indian malts as good as authentic Scotch, says expert
For all those who believe that the perfect Scotch comes only from Scotland, here comes the bouncer!
If Dr David Wishart, of St Andrews University, one of Scotland's top whisky experts is to be believed, the taste of single malt has nothing to do with its place of origin, and whiskies produced by India and Japan are equally good.
"To say that a flavour is determined by where it is from is to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers. The distilling process can be mirrored all over the world. India and Japan produce excellent whiskies that are the equal of many produced in Scotland. Scotland has no right to be assumed as the place where you get the best whisky,” The Scotsman quoted Dr Wishart as saying.
"We must maintain high standards in distilling or other countries will take over as the best," he added.
Dr. Wishart who has been studying whisky for more than 40 years, said that foreign drams could be as good as the Scottish ones and Scotland had no monopoly on producing the world's best dram.
The honorary research fellow studied Scotch whisky from 94 distilleries from Scotland and around the world, and came to the conclusion that particular regions do not guarantee a whisky's flavour.
He said the 12 defining characteristics of whisky that categorise its taste are the body, sweetness, smoky, medicinal, tobacco, honey, spicy, winey, nutty, malty, fruity and floral.
These signature flavours, rather than specify the origin of the whisky, place them into specific flavour "clusters".
"For example, traditionally, the Islay is thought of as being peaty and strong tasting, like the Laphroig or Ardbeg, but there are now many mild Islays which taste more like traditional Speyside whiskies. There are also so many types of whisky cask, such as sherry, oak, or port that the flavours can be completely different from distilleries that are only a few miles apart," he said.
However, not everyone is convinced and says that authentic Scotch whisky cannot be duplicated elsewhere.
Gerry Tosh, global brand ambassador for Highland Park Whisky, said the whisky owed everything to its Orkney home.
"The water for the production process of Highland Park can only be sourced from Cattie Maggie's Spring on Orkney while the peat used in the kiln drying process comes from nearby Hobbister Hill. It's misleading to suggest the fine malts produced in Scotland, can be replicated elsewhere around the globe,” he said.
Articles Courtesy of New Kerala
newkerala.com

Apr 18
2006

Whisky distiller takes role in Russian Economic Forum
THE Macallan whisky is sponsoring the VIP lounge at the Russian Economic Forum in London. The market for Scotch in Russia is growing at 30 per cent yearly.
Articles Courtesy of Scotland on Sunday
scotsman.com

Apr 16
2006

Burn blazing a trail to US
BURN Stewart Distillers is rolling out a £2.5m revamp of Black Bottle whisky which will see it enter the United States market for the first time.
The whisky firm, which was taken over by Trinidad-based conglomerate CL Financial in a £50m deal three years ago, is looking to capture the well-heeled buyer in the US and Europe with a drive towards the premium end of the market later this year.
Burn Stewart acquired Black Bottle in 2003 as part of a £10m deal with rival firm Edrington that also saw them take control of Islay's Bunnahabhain distillery.
The moves marks a departure for the blended Scotch whisky that has, until now, been regarded as a middle-market, slightly old-fashioned brand. At the time of the sale, analysts said the brand needed significant investment to realise its full potential.
Fraser Thornton, marketing director, said that following the acquisition, the firm has spent two years assessing its potential and believes its future lies in the premium end of the market.
Changes will involve embossing the traditional pot-still bottle with a gold crest and upgrading its packaging to attract a more youthful drinker.
Thornton said: "It has been undermarketed in the past, there has been no doubt about that. What it needs now is to get premiumised and modernised and 2006 is the year where we will try and push forward with Black Bottle and make some tangible difference towards the business. This starts with a re-packaging exercise that will be rolled out in the UK trade in May. Presently, we sell 50,000 cases a year - we hope to double that by 2009."
Later this year the UK, France, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden will be targeted in a £2m marketing drive. Through its partners in CL Financial, the US will also get a £500,000 marketing push distributed through IBC.
Thornton added: "It is a significant investment. The US is the number one market for Islay malts and there has been a noticeable increase in consumer demand for the malts in the Islay category.
"But we are seeing huge potential in Turkey, which has seen whisky consumption rise dramatically. Turkey is an interesting test case for us, it is where East meets West. The move to spirits is quite tangible now. We have also shipped Black Bottle to China very much on a test basis."
The firm also has ambitious plans for its Bunnahabhain single malt whisky and wants to grow the malt from a top 20 malt to a top 12 malt.
CL World Brands Limited, which also owns rum and mixer company Angostura, Hine in France and has a 54% stake in US-based rum producer Todhunter, wants to become a global spirits company partly based in East Kilbride.
Earlier this year, CL Financial was linked to a possible takeover of Invergordon Distillers, the largest grain distillery in Europe, for around £180 million.
• WHISKY executives from across the globe will descend on Edinburgh this week for a two-day World Whiskies Conference. The brainchild of former Glenmorangie marketing director Ian Buxton, the conference aims to bring together key players in the industry from Suntory in Japan to Bourbon distillers in the United States.
The World Whiskies Conference is on Thursday and Friday at the Edinburgh Conference Centre.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 13
2006

Scotch Whisky Association threatens to go to WTO over duty
The Edinburgh-based Scotch Whisky Association has threatened to take India to WTO dispute settlement through the European Union if it continues to apply a duty system for imported whisky which the body alleged was ''discriminatory''.
"If India continues to apply a duty system for imported spirits that is not in line with its international commitments, we will need to consider our options and may be obliged to consider pressing the EU to take the matter to WTO dispute settlement,'' Pu blic Affairs Manager of the Association David Williamson said while reacting to Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya's accusations of commercial ''imperialism'' and ''double standards'' against the SWA.
He alleged ''market access for imported spirits in India continues to be unfairly restricted by a discriminatory fiscal regime, which is contrary to WTO rules.''
Williamson said the SWA hopes India will ''take the opportunity of the current formal discussions with the EU, which is examining India's import regime for EU spirits and wines, to agree on measures which would result in fair market access in line with W TO rules.''
On the point made by Mallya that SWA refused to recognise Indian liquor brands as whisky because they are made from sugarcane molasses and not cereal-based as is Scotch, he said ''Over 70 countries require whisky to be produced from cereals, including c ountries in Europe, Asia, North and South America.
''This position is supported by the World Customs Organisation and reflects traditional practice over centuries. This protects consumers and ensures fair competition in the international whisky market,'' he said.- PTI.
Articles Courtesy of THE HINDU
THE HINDU

Apr 11
2006

Whisky set to take off at former RAF base on Shetland
For half a century, it has guarded Britain against sinister invaders, but now RAF Saxa Vord, the nation's most northerly radar station, is turning its attention to spirits.
The monitoring base on the north coast of Unst is set to become Shetland's first whisky distillery and Scotland's most northerly. It will also create vital jobs in the community.
The Ministry of Defence announced yesterday that Frank Strang of Military Asset Management has been selected as the preferred bidder for the purchase of part of the former RAF station.
Mr Strang has formed a joint venture with Blackwood Distillers and is planning to build a distillery on the site, which closed last month. The plant is expected to create 24 direct and 45 indirect jobs, around the same number that has been lost with the RAF closure.
Mr Strang has pledged to create employment on Unst, attract more tourists, and potentially offer longer-term economic benefits for the island and surrounding area.
Blackwood was set up less than four years ago by Caroline Whitfield, chief executive, to create the first white spirit distillery on any of Shetland's 110 islands. The firm is currently producing gin, vodka, and a vodka liqueur which have helped Blackwood win a Scottish Exporter of the Year title.
An application for planning permission on Unst will be submitted next month and work on converting the buildings could begin in September. The first whisky could then be in production within a year.
However, although bottles will be released annually to whet appetites, international sales of the single malt will not begin for some time.
"It will be five years before we start hitting the international market and we have developed these white spirits, which are generating funds to invest in the whisky distillery while the whisky is maturing," said Mrs Whitfield.
The clarity of Unst Water, recognised by generations of sailors, will be a vital factor. There are also areas of peat and the distillery will have its own maltings.
Mrs Whitfield said: "We are going to use the old strain of 'bare' barley which has been grown on Unst for the last 5000 years which will make it totally distinctive.
"We think it will be a very delicate malt."
Articles Courtesy of The Herald
TheHerald.com

Apr 10
2006

Mallya hits out at 'imperialist' Scotch Whisky body
ONE of India's most prominent businessmen, and a leading joint venture partner of Scottish & Newcastle, has stepped up his attack on the Scotch Whisky Association, claiming at the weekend: "We are no longer a British colony."
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman of United Breweries, in which S&N has a 37.5 per cent stake, was cranking up a long-running dispute with the Scotch whisky trade body about imports and exports of whisky on the subcontinent. He was speaking after flying in as a guest of S&N for the Grand National, which the group's subsidiary, John Smith's, sponsored.
Mallya, who has a major India spirit business apart from the tie-up with S&N, said: "India is not a British colony. This imposition of British imperialism is unacceptable. I say that not as a business man, but as a member of the Indian parliament.
"The SWA has been at loggerheads with us for ten years. Their attitudes and policies are unacceptable and imperialist."
The SWA has been waging a campaign against punitive taxes to get its members' products into India. Mallya has countered that by stopping exporting Indian whisky to Europe.
Mallya, with S&N's Australian chief executive, Tony Froggatt, sitting alongside him, accused the SWA of "pontificating" and "double standards" from a weak position.
Mallya said: "There are two sides to every coin; if they want to get into my country, they need to let me into theirs."
Mallya, an unusually colourful maverick in a traditionally staid Indian business world, added: "The SWA wants to dictate, but a level playing field must apply."
A key complaint of the SWA had been that Mallya could potentially pass off Indian whisky as Scotch.
But he said: "I'm willing to say it is Indian whisky, I'm not saying it is Scotch."
Mallya's business produces 720 million litres of alcohol a year - two-thirds of which is spirits. He said he also had a political duty to push the dispute because his country was "primarily an agrarian economy" from which the drink was produced.
S&N's business relationship with Mallya is purely beer based. Froggatt said he was not embarrassed by the dispute between his partner and a leading Scottish business organisation.
"We are totally disassociated from that. We are very good partners in United Breweries and we are very happy with our relationship. At this stage, it's not something we would want to talk about."
Mallya recently launched an airline with heavy marketing echo's of Sir Richard Branson in Britain. He also revealed he had met the British billionaire entrepreneur socially and the two of them had got on well, but said he was unsure whether this would lead to any joint business ventures.
Mallya said: "I have a lot of respect for him as he is a brand ambassador, as I am a brand Ambassador. Whether we can do business, I don't know."
Articles Courtesy of Scotland on Sunday
scotsman.com

Apr 7
2006

Speyside's finest distillers find 150 into one does go
A UNIQUE collaboration of some of Scotland's finest whisky distilleries has produced a one-off blend using more than 150 bottles of single malts from 26 Speyside distilleries.
The blend is being bottled for this year's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
The finished product is the work of Ed Dodson and Jim Cryle, who between them have 82 years' experience in the craft of whisky making.
Mr Cryle, a retired master distiller at The Glenlivet, has the task of "nosing" the blend. Mr Dodson, who retired as a master distiller at the Glen Moray distillery after 42 years in the business, has responsibility for tasting the product.
The finished drink will be the first to bring together 26 of the normally competitive distilleries. The malts used to create the blend range from fully matured ten-year-olds to extra matured 21-year-olds, including some rare ones.
Only one 70cl bottle of the exclusive whisky will be produced and auctioned among enthusiasts of unusual blends. Another 2,000 souvenir miniatures will be available during the festival.
Mr Dodson said: "Throughout my career I've dreamed of the chance to bring together many of the fabulous distinctive pure malts of Speyside into one definitive blend."
Mr Cryle added: "It's likely that the bottle will be bought by a collector, and never be opened."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Apr 6
2006

Our MSPs love whisky and golf, but not the parliament
MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament asked to nominate their Seven Wonders of Scotland chose whisky and golf as their favourite national icons.
The Forth Bridge, Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, the Prehistoric Treasures of Orkney, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the Scottish sense of humour also made the top seven.
On Saturday, The Scotsman reveals the winning wonders in a 24-page souvenir magazine. More than 50,000 votes were cast, including our mini-poll of MSPs. Whisky was a clear winner at Holyrood, followed by golf and the Forth Bridge. The Scottish Parliament missed out.
There was a wide variety of selections, including a vote from Scottish Socialist Tommy Sheridan for his mother. Tory MSP Mary Scanlon voted for porridge, while Green leader Robin Harper named Tabasco sauce.
Glasgow Conservative MSP Bill Aitken agreed the list contained iconic features but complained "only two of them come from Scotland's premier city". To remedy this, he voted for Hampden Park, Glasgow City Chambers, Kelvingrove Museum and Glasgow University. He added: "I think the view of Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street is also of outstanding iconic value. Just a pity it's not in Glasgow!".
Articles Courtesy of Scotland on Sunday
scotsman.com

Apr 6
2006

Rare whisky harvests high price
A US businessman who has never visited Scotland has splashed out $20,000 for a rare bottle of whisky.
Dan Weiss, 44, from New Jersey, was the highest bidder at an auction during Tartan Week to raise money for the City Harvest food charity in New York.
He paid £11,422 for the Glenfiddich, which was casked in 1937, the coronation year of George VI.
Mr Weiss said it would have to be a "heck of a special occasion" before his purchase was opened and drunk.
The bidding at the Scotland Village in Grand Central Station began at $5,000 and rose in $1,000 steps before Mr Weiss, a computer software director, entered the fray at $19,000 and put forward his $20,000 offer.
He explained later that he and a friend began collecting Glenfiddich and Glenlivet whisky after the latter was served at the wedding of Princes Charles and Diana in 1981.
Mr Weiss had about 250 bottles in his collection when he stopped counting about five years ago.
The 1937 Glenfiddich, which he described as the "crown jewels" of their amassed whisky, was a joint purchase by the two men.
Despite his pastime, Mr Weiss has never visited Scotland, although he has taken a virtual tour of the Glenfiddich distillery near Dufftown on its website.
The whisky came from cask number 843 which was distilled on 17 July 1937. After it was opened only, 61 bottles were produced, making it the oldest and rarest bottling undertaken at the distillery.
Wood hue
Malt master David Stewart said it was very much the exception to have a cask of that age keep its strength and that the whisky was "woody and bronze" for a Glenfiddich.
The bottles were the standard 70cl but US law forbids the importation and sale of this size, which caused problems with just weeks to go before the auction.
Distillery manager Ian Millar said Glenfiddich had had to work fast to enable the auction to go ahead.
"We had to increase it to 75cl which was no mean feat. That was the only one that we will ever bottle - that makes it unique," he said.
Mr Millar tasted the whisky from cask 843 in 2001 and added: "It was a very delightful experience, not just to drink it but to be able to tell other people that I've tasted it - there have to be some bonuses of working in the industry.
"It has a lot of nice pretty notes which is typically Glenfiddich.
"There's also a heady wood intensity there and you get that on the taste as well.
"There are also notes of peat. Back then distilleries were using peat to dry barley and there was no real control exerted over the levels of peat in the process."
The money raised from the auction will go to City Harvest, a New York charity which collects unwanted food from restaurants, hotels and other premises and distributes it to the needy.
Articles Courtesy of BBC News
BBC News

Apr 1
2006

Cheap whisky causes rift at Glenmorangie
GLENMORANGIE boss Paul Neep is believed to be under pressure from Bernard Arnault, chief executive of French luxury goods parent LVMH, in a simmering rift over cheap supermarket whisky.
Sources in the industry claim Arnault is unhappy that Glenmorangie is damaging the two firms' brands by continuing to produce own-label whisky.
Drinks industry sources say Neep, Glenmorangie's chief executive, has stepped up production of own-label whisky for Asda and Sainsbury at the company's blending and bottling plant in Broxburn, near Edinburgh.
LVMH, which owns global brands such as Moët & Chandon champagne and Louis Vuitton luggage, bought Glenmorangie for £300m in late 2004, netting a £105m fortune for the Scottish firm's controlling Macdonald family.
The French group was attracted by Glenmorangie's pricey malt whisky brands and is understood to be unhappy with its stewardship of a plant which was built to churn out drink at low cost.
One industry analyst suggested growing discontent among advisers to Arnault could heap more pressure on Neep, as well as finance director Iain Hamilton and sales director Simon Erlanger.
He said: "In my opinion there is a problem at Glenmorangie. Neep, having a large bottling plant at Broxburn, has to run it to capacity to achieve maximum savings, thus he is contracting extra business to do this. I don't think Paris would be happy with this.
"My hunch is that they want to get their own people up there."
Glenmorangie bought the Broxburn plant from United Distillers 10 years ago as part of a move from its historic home in Leith. Recent accounts show production line jobs were cut to 230 in 2005 from 243 the year before, most of whom work in Broxburn.
A source at the company claimed the remaining staff have been asked to produce more low-cost whisky to keep the site profitable.
One industry source said: "The plus side is that the plant is very efficient, but the downside is that it is very capital intensive and needs to run at full capacity to cover the overheads."
Glenmorangie is unpopular among distillers because the cheap whisky which it produces undercuts the premium prices which makers of the big brands would like to command. Those makers include Diageo, which has a 34% stake in LVMH.
The source said: "There is a dichotomy. On the one hand, LVMH and Glenmorangie are positioning themselves as a luxury brand. But on the other hand they are supplying cheap own-label whisky to various supermarkets.
"I can see why they do it for overhead recovery, but the own-label market in the UK is not profitable."
A spokeswoman for Glenmorangie played down industry talk of a rift. She said: "Paul and the guys are in Paris all the time, and we work closely with LVMH. I would be surprised if this was the case."
She added: "We have a plant, and we need to fill the plant. We've got the branded business, but we have the other business going through that helps with the overheads. But we have not been actively seeking new volume business."
Articles Courtesy of Scotland on Sunday
scotsman.com
March 2006 Scotch Whisky News

Mar 28
2006

Diageo to Pay £100M in First Step of Plugging Pension Gap
Drinks giant Diageo announced yesterday it was to pay an initial sum of around £100million to help fill a £653million hole in its pension fund. The group, which employs 3,800 people in Scotland, mostly in the whisky business, said the total deficit would be paid off within seven years. Diageo said the first instalment would be paid following a new assessment of the size of the shortfall by pension fund trustees. Their study takes place this week, but the valuation will not be known until later this year. Diageo said it would also continue making an annual cash contribution - an estimated £50million for the year to June 30, 2006 - in respect of benefits awarded to pension scheme members. The firm said the pension fund arrangements were not expected to lead to any change in its previously announced share buyback programme. Last September, finance director Nick Rose said the group would raise its share buyback programme in the current year to double the £710million of shares it bought back in 2004-05 and would keep it at the higher level for next year. "This funding framework, together with changes we have made to the pension scheme, demonstrate Diageo's commitment to provide a high standard of employment benefits," chief executive Paul Walsh said yesterday. "It follows the sale of our shares in General Mills and our full exit from Burger King, and provides further clarity in relation to Diageo's balance sheet." Diageo, the largest spirits group in the world, has J &B and Johnnie Walker whiskies, Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum, Tanqueray gin, and Jose Cuervo tequila among its brands. The group brews Guinness stout and also has a strong wine portfolio. In addition, the company, which trades in more than180 markets around the world, owns the Gleneagles Hotel and golf courses in Perthshire. Diageo is the biggest single player in the whisky industry in Scotland, operating 27 malt distilleries and two grain distilleries. It also has a half share in a third grain distillery. The group sold Burger King to a consortium led by US private-equity group Texas Pacific for £850million in December 2002. But the drinks firm was guarantor for up to £485million of credit at Burger King until a refinancing at the fast food chain was completed last year. Diageo sold a 14% stake in food group General Mills last summer. Growing sales of some of its core brands helped the firm to toast forecast-beating half-year profits last month. Operating profits during the six months to December 31 rose 7% to £1.26billion, ahead of the £1.24billion expected in the City, on the back of a 5% increase in worldwide sales. The group was formed in 1997, following the merger of Guinness and GrandMet, and has its headquarters in London. It employs more than 20,000 people worldwide and has offices in around 80 countries. .
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
scotsman.com

Mar 27
2006

Glenfiddich to Auction the World's Oldest Bottle of Whisky
Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937 will be Sold to Highest Bidder. William Grant & Sons, Inc. announces the auction of the world's oldest whisky, Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937, on April 4, 2006 in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. As part of New York's Tartan Week celebrations, a week-long series of activities highlighting Scottish culture and heritage, Glenfiddich has partnered with City Harvest, a noted New York-based charity, to auction one of the four remaining bottles of this exceptionally rare spirit. A single cask yielded only 61 unique bottles of this exquisite Scotch whisky. Import laws required a special 750 mL bottle to be made; the item for auction is therefore the only 750 mL bottle of the Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937 ever produced. The spirit came into being in 1937 when oak cask 843, hand-made by distillery coopers, was filled with liquid from stills at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, and laid down in a dunnage warehouse to mature. The spirit was slowly aged in cask for 64 years and bottled in 2001, resulting in a liquid of deep, robust character. With a rich walnut color, nose of toffee, cinnamon and cloves and sweet, cedar-y palette, this extraordinary Scotch whisky brims with complex yet subtle notes. This one-of-a-kind spirit will be sold to the highest bidder with proceeds donated to City Harvest, a charity charged with ending hunger in communities in New York. The lucky buyer will own a piece of history, as Cask 843 has lived through monumental world events including World War II, man landing on the moon and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937 was distilled in the same year the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic, JRR Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' was first published and Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' was first released as a full length animated feature film. Glenfiddich Malt Master David Stewart notes, "Glenfiddich Rare Collection 1937 is a truly unique and exquisite malt whisky of exceptional character. As well as being the oldest Scotch whisky in the world and a very collectible piece, it would make for the most wonderful taste experience."
Articles Courtesy of Businesswire.com
businesswire.com

Mar 26
2006

Scotch Whisky Exports On The Rise in Asia
The 2005 figures on Scotch whisky exports have been released by the Scotch Whisky Association. The news was good as the exports were buoyed by massive growth in Asian markets. The Scotsman reports that whisky exports had their third best year in history with China importing 86 percent more Scotch in 2005 . Exports rose four percent total. The Asian situation is a stark contrast to whisky sales in the UK which dropped six percent. Whisky is still the country's top spirit. The United States is still Scotland's best market by a wide margin (£372.7 million compared to China's £46 million and South Korea's £156 million) but the rapid rise of whisky popularity in Asian markets means there is still plenty room for expansion.
Articles Courtesy of Luxist.com
luxist.com

Mar 24
2006

Whisky exports continue 'renaissance' led by Asia
WHISKY exports had their third best year in history in 2005, with remarkable growth especially in Asia, led by China with an 86 per cent surge. Figures released yesterday by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) reveal what officials called a continuation of the "global renaissance" in the country's most famous export. In 2005, exports of both malt and blended Scotch rose 4 per cent in total, reaching a combined £2.36 billion worth, the industry's third best annual export performance, bar 1997 and 2002. However, the picture is far from rosy at home, the SWA reporting a 6 per cent drop in UK sales, accounting for 107 million bottles, down from 114 million in 2004. David Williamson, an SWA spokesman, said that, for the past ten years, the UK industry has been "levelling out" at around 110 million bottles, and added that given whisky remains the country's top selling spirit, he was happy it was holding its own at home. "2005 is a lower clearance level, and that emphasises the importance of Wednesday's Budget announcement of a freeze on duty, and that should help competitiveness," he said. He revealed overseas shipments of malts grew 8 per cent to £380m, the highest ever result, while blends grew 4 per cent to £1.84bn. Although the US remained Scotland's most valuable market worth £372.7m - a 10 per cent rise - exports to Asia surged 24 per cent in total, led by South Korea (+24 per cent to £156m) and Taiwan (+24 per cent to £102m), Thailand (+25 per cent to £48m) and China (+86 per cent to £46m). Around the world, 989.1 million bottles of Scotch whisky were exported, also a 4 per cent rise. Richard Burrows, chairman of the SWA, added: "All the signs are that we are seeing a renaissance for Scotch whisky in its international markets. The industry is rising to the challenge of broadening the appeal of Scotch whisky to new consumers in new markets." Burrows, a director of French spirits giant Pernod Ricard who was appointed chairman in January, added that the 2005 figures also demonstrated "the widespread international appeal of Scotch" with growth also in the industry's priority emerging markets, including India (+89 per cent) and Turkey (+12 per cent). Williamson added that exports to both those potentially huge markets remain small in global terms, because of the current tariff restrictions, tax and technical barriers to trade, an issue that has dominated the association's activities in recent months "The SWA is working to remove these barriers which continue to prevent the sale of Scotch whisky on a fair and equal playing field with competing products," he said. A month ago, the SWA hit out angrily at the Indian government for bowing to "protectionist" domestic pressures after it maintained fiscal discrimination against Scotch whisky imports in the country's new budget, failing for the second year in a row to take any steps to align its import and domestic tax regime for spirits and WTO rules. The SWA has been calling on India to reduce its basic customs duty from 150 per cent to75 per cent, and to end the internal duties which combine to put Scotch whisky outside of the reach of all but the wealthiest. Nearer to home, while exports to France were up 3 per cent to £255m, a series of tax increases impacted on the Spanish market which was down 18 per cent in value at £240m. Overall exports to the EU were down 11 per cent, as the industry faced challenging economic and operating conditions.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Mar 24
2006

Chivas, Glenlivet drive Pernod profits up 70%
PERNOD Ricard, the second-biggest Scotch whisky producer, yesterday said last year's acquisition of Allied Domecq was proceeding on track as it uncorked a 70 per cent rise in profits to 767 million (£530m). The company, the world's No.2 wines and spirits group behind Diageo following the acquisition of Allied, revealed that whisky sales were going well, with Chivas volumes up 13 per cent and sales up 18 per cent. The Glenlivet volumes were up 10 per cent and sales up 12 per cent. Pierre Pringuet, deputy chief executive of Pernod Ricard, said the company had already achieved 40 per cent of the target 300m cost synergies from the acquisition of Allied and would achieve the total by the end of the financial year on 30 June 2006. The profits contribution from the acquired Allied brands, including Ballantine's whisky, was 486m, Pernod said, in line with expectations. Pringuet said more than 50 per cent of group profits now came from the Asian and American markets, two of the fastest-growing spirits and wine markets in the world. Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive of Pernod's whisky subsidiary Chivas Brothers, said the purchase of Allied had pushed the parent group's share of the Scotch whisky market up to 21 per cent from 13 per cent, compared with Diageo's 32 per cent. The group employs nearly 2,000 in Scotland. Porta said he believed the aim was to continue the rates of volume and sales growth at the Glenlivet and Chivas Regal, and try to replicate this with acquired Allied brands like Ballantine's and Beefeater gin. Pringuet, meanwhile, remained cool on the prospects of a London listing for the shares given its big UK investor base following the Allied purchase. "We don't expect any drawback [from not having a London listing at present]. They can invest in Paris," he said. He said it was an increasingly globalised world and that Pernod now had nearly 90 per cent of its sales outside France. Overall Pernod sales rose two-thirds to 3.27 billion. Pernod said that, despite some distribution problems of Allied Domecq brands in the Americas, destocking in Spain and Mexico and higher advertising, it increased its operating profit margin to 23.5 per cent of sales from 23 per cent in the same period of 2004. Pernod lifted its projection for full-year earnings per share growth, from a restated 6.6 euros in 2004-5, to the top of a previously given 10 to 15 per cent range. The company cautioned the second half would be weaker than the traditionally strong pre-Christmas period and would not be flattered by brands like Dunkin Donuts and Scottish brand Glen Grant whisky, disposed of in March to help cut the debt it took on to finance the Allied Domecq deal. The company said net debt was 8.77bn at the end of the year, down more than 1bn since the Allied acquisition. Debt reduction should accelerate in the second half, thanks to 1.5bn from the disposals.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Mar 23
2006

Board quits after Glen Grant is swallowed by Campari
GLEN Grant Whisky's entire board of directors has resigned following the completion of the sale of the Moray whisky brand to Campari. The Milan-based drinks giant also bought the smaller Old Smuggler and Braemar brands from Pernod Ricard in a combined deal worth 130 million (£87m), of which 115m was paid for Glen Grant. As well as the brand rights, the sales includes the 160-year-old Glen Grant distillery in Rothes and all other assets of the company. Although Campari announced it had signed an agreement to purchase the brands in late December, the deal has only just been completed following approval from regulatory authorities. The sale was the final part of a series of disposals by Pernod Ricard following its £8 billion acquisition of French giant Allied Domecq midway through last year. The sales were required by the European Commission. All six Glen Grant Whisky directors have now resigned, including finance director Anthony Schofield. Four new directors have been appointed, with French-based Georges Chasseuil appointed as managing director. While the deal is the first time Campari has entered the Scotch whisky market, Glen Grant is the leading brand in Italy, a market which traditionally drinks less mature whisky. It is also the world's second largest malt whisky brand, producing more than three million litres a year. Campari chief executive Enzo Visone said: "We are proud to have concluded another important deal that not only enables us to strengthen our position in the spirits segment further, but also to mark our entrance into the key Scotch whisky segment, one of the most important spirits categories in the world, a segment with great potential internationally as well as in the domestic market." In a statement, Pernod Ricard said the deal would allow it to continue to reduce debt, and it wished its former employees well. Established in 1840 by John Grant, Glen Grant developed a single malt whisky 15 years ago which now commands strong sales in continental Europe. The sale attracted significant interest from bidders last year. While the less mature whisky malt cannot be sold at the premium of other brands, it was seen as a rare opportunity to buy such an established brand. Old Smuggler and Braemar are smaller, blended brands. Both are popular in eastern Europe, while Old Smuggler has strong sales in the United States and Braemar is also sold in Thailand. Campari, which sells a wide range of wines as well as spirits such as its self-branded Campari and Skyy Vodka, achieved turnover of more than 809m (£542m) last year.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Mar 23
2006

Distillers raise a glass to longest duty freeze in 50 years
WHISKY producers toasted the ninth consecutive freeze on spirits yesterday, the longest period without a hike for half a century. To cheers on all sides, Gordon Brown, who has tried to broaden his appeal to middle England, also announced: "In anticipation of World Cup success this summer, I am freezing duty on champagne ... and on British sparkling wine. I will also freeze duty on cider." However, the Chancellor imposed a four pence inflation rise on wine, and one penny on a pint of beer from midnight on Sunday. John McFall MP, the Labour chairman of the all-party Scotch Whisky group and a close ally of Mr Brown's, congratulated him for freezing duty on whisky. "That's good news to the constituents in my area, [West Dunbartonshire] where we have whisky plants," he said. Gavin Hewitt, of the Scotch Whisky Association, hailed the Chancellor's narrowing of the gap within the alcoholic drinks market. This was a "progressive move" which would boost the industry's competitiveness and productivity. "The Chancellor will be praised by distillers for taking another welcome step towards delivering a fairer alcohol duty regime in the UK," Mr Hewitt said. Over the next three years, the Treasury will miss out on £95 million on alcohol duties. The price of a packet of cigarettes will go up in line with inflation, by nine pence. While shopkeepers lamented the rise, it was not enough for health campaigners. Maureen Moore, the chief executive of the anti-smoking group ASH Scotland, said the Scottish ban on smoking which comes into force on Sunday was undermined by the low price increase. "This positive step forward is undermined by a lack of action in today's Budget," she said, adding that the Chancellor was "out of step" to public attitudes. Mr Brown also pledged not to extend VAT on food, books, newspapers, public transport fares and children's clothing. Duty on condoms will be reduced to 5 per cent.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Mar 22
2006

Scotch bottler takes on liquor giants
How did a guy who was captain of his football team in Fairborn, Ohio, an Ohio State University graduate in criminal justice and a probation officer become an American independent scotch bottler? It happened, of course, over a dram of scotch. In 2002, Jeff Topping went to Scotland to take a class in distilling. He had just bought a company called Bevinco, which monitors bar inventories. Topping also was interested in the history of his Scottish family, who'd immigrated to Pittsburgh. "My father had died when I was very young, and I wanted to know something about where he'd come from," Topping says. He was picked up at the Wigtown train station by two Scottish men he could barely understand. They took him to the Bladnoch distillery, the southernmost in Scotland. "It was rustic, with weathered walls, sheep everywhere, nothing modern," Topping says. Something in him responded to his first taste of Scotch whisky straight from a cask. "It was magical, in fact I think it was fate," he says. "I had to know what was different about it, why it was that way." Topping was lucky to have had that taste at Bladnoch, an unusual independent distillery. Most of the distilleries in Scotland are owned by two big liquor companies: Diageo and Pernod Ricard. "This was scotch on a real-people level, not in lab coats and clipboards, but standing around, tasting and talking," Topping says. He also met up with the right man in John McDougall, who in more than 40 years in the scotch business had been a distillery manager in every region of Scotland. "I think John thought of me as a kind of son, wanted to pass his knowledge along to me," says Topping. "He saw some kind of spark or passion in me." The men decided to create and market a "vatted" scotch, which is a blended scotch, but a special kind. The majority of scotch brands are blends. Johnnie Walker, Dewar's, Teacher's all are mixtures of whiskey from different distilleries in Scotland. They contain both whiskey made from malt, or sprouted barley, and cheaper grain whiskey, made from unmalted grain. Other whiskies are all malt from a single distillery - these are the single malts, the only growing category in scotch. A vatted malt like Wild Scotsman is blended from single malts from many distilleries to create a particular flavor profile. It appeals to the same people who drink single malts. "Vatted malts are rare," says Brian Hue of Cork 'n Bottle in Covington. "Jeff's are interesting, and a good product. It's been fun to carry his. It appeals to the new kind of scotch drinker, which include women, who drink less but drink better." After coming up with the vatted scotch formula, Topping and McDougall rented a room in a warehouse in Glasgow and began buying casks of malt from distilleries where McDougall had connections. All the malt is at least 15 years old. They chose not to "chilfilter" their scotch, which means it gets cloudy when poured over ice. "Chilfiltering is done for the American market," Topping says.Then came the hurdles of the liquor bureaucracy. "I looked for an importer, but there was no importer who cared. I had to become my own importer, my own distributor, and I have to deal with the liquor control agencies in every state I want to be in," Topping says. He's the marketer, too. He is doing tastings, talking to distributors himself and visiting bars and restaurants. He is trying to create a bit of a cult and convert drinkers to scotch. "Many people think of scotch as stodgy, but appreciating it is a lot like appreciating wine. There's a disconnect between the industry and the product," Topping says. "I'm trying to make that connection. I am the Wild Scotsman, I am the brand. I loved that experience in Scotland, and I like to think that if you never go to Scotland, you could share the experience through my whisky." Topping hasn't made money yet, but he continues to fight the fight of the little guy among the giants. "I was a single guy (he's getting married in April), I had a little money, I wanted to do it. How often do you get to really follow a dream?"
Articles Courtesy of Cincinnati.com
cincinnati.com

Mar 22
2006

Bell's whisky redesign aims to broaden appeal
LONDON - Diageo is to overhaul Bell's, the UK's biggest-selling whisky brand, to counteract stiff competition from rivals Grant's, The Famous Grouse and Teacher's. According to Bell's senior brand manager Candice Burton, the bottle and labelling have been redesigned by Bloom Design to emphasise the time and care involved in blending the Scotch whisky. The revamped bottle shape is intended to broaden the appeal of the drink beyond its traditional older, male market. The new-look Bell's will be supported with relationship marketing activity, using a database of UK drinkers to target previous consumers. An advertising campaign is expected later this year through MCBD. The redesigned bottles will be introduced in all markets where the brand is sold, including the UK, South Africa, the Nordic region, Spain and Brazil. Blended Scotch whisky contains individual whiskies, which mature for a minimum of three years before they are blended. In the case of Bell's 8 Year Old, all individual whiskies are matured in oak for at least eight years, before blending. Diageo recently launched a responsible-drinking TV campaign - the first in the UK by a drinks company. The £1.5m activity, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BDDO, targets 18- to 24-year-olds, the group most commonly associated with excessive drinking. The ads carry Diageo branding as well as the logos of drinks including Baileys, Gordon's, Guinness, Bell's and Smirnoff, and that of industry body the Portman Group's information website drinkaware.co.uk.
Articles Courtesy of Design Bulletin
brandrepublic.com

Mar 21
2006

BBR named Whisky retailer of the Year
Berry Bros.& Rudd has been named as Whisky Retailer of the Year (single outlet) for our St James's Street shop, by Whisky Magazine. This is worthy recognition for the work put in by our Spirits Buyer, Doug McIvor. Over the last few years Doug has built up a tremendous whisky range including many exclusive bottlings, making BBR one of the best whisky retailers in the world. Whisky Magazine says "As you'd expect in such an establishment, personal service is paramount and should you wish to indulge yourself in a special whisky but are not sure which one, there is no better place to go." Doug is delighted with the award, commenting "the votes are gathered from 200 members of the global whisky industry and we were up against competition from 7 nominees from specialist whisky shops around the world, 3 in the USA, 1 in Japan, 1 in Portugal, 1 in Scotland and 1 other in England. We were singled out for our "consistently high standards and attention to detail"." Berrys' Still Room in the London shop is a heavenly haven for whisky lovers who like to take a little time sampling and discussing the product in a pleasant environment before making their purchase. We aim to make their visit welcoming and informative. We stock around 400 whiskies from many countries around the world but with an emphasis on Scots single malt and particularly our Berrys' Own Selection range of bottlings. Generally, there are bottles available in every price range from £13 to £5000 per bottle. Despite our location and boutique feel we offer good value across the range.
Articles Courtesy of Berry Bros
bbr.com

Mar 20
2006

New & Improved Whisky Galore Collection
Duncan Taylor's Whisky Galore Collection has been redesigned giving the award-winning range greater presence on shop shelves. The new & improved collection sees the introduction of cask strength bottlings which will join the existing 46% range. Selected casks from the Whisky Galore Collection are now bottled at cask strength and will, similar to the prestigious Duncan Taylor Collection, carry full details of the cask including the bottling date & cask number with each bottle being individually numbered. The new labels will now state when the whisky has been matured in a sherry cask cutting down on any confusion that may have previously occurred with this information not being present. The cask strength and 46% versions will be differentiated from one another by the use of colours used in the Whisky Galore logos. For the cask strength range the logo will be in gold whereas the 46% bottlings are in copper. The new Whisky Galore bottlings will also have the trademark Duncan Taylor Gold Foil Capsules to reinforce the fact that the Whisky Galore Collection is bottled by the award-winning Independent Merchant Bottler. Duncan Taylor & Co’s Director, Euan Shand comments on the change “We feel that the new labels reinforce the fact the Whisky Galore Collection is an award-winning range and there’s no doubt it sits proudly as part of the prestigious Duncan Taylor & Co product range.” For further information on Duncan Taylor log on to www.duncantaylor.com.
Articles Courtesy of DTC Scotch
duncantaylor.com

Mar 20
2006

McConnell toasts rise in exports of whisky to China
EXPORTS of Scotch whisky to China increased by 84 per cent last year, Jack McConnell, the First Minister, revealed today during his visit to the country. The figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) show 2005 was another record year for exports to China, with the equivalent of 20 million bottles being shipped there. The exports were valued at £46 million - compared with £25 million in 2004 - making China the industry's 15th largest market by value. Mr McConnell revealed the sales rise to Chinese business leaders at a reception in Beijing, hosted by the SWA, whose entire global export figures will be published this week. The First Minister said: " China and Scotland are both nations with a proud distilling history and it is high praise that sales of Scotland's national drink continue to soar in China. "Rising sales show that Scottish whisky continues to be a high-quality product, recognised and enjoyed the world over." Gavin Hewitt, of the SWA, added: "Scotch whisky is an ambassador for our country in new emerging markets such as China." Mr McConnell said the food and drink sector was vitally important to Scotland's wider economic ambitions. Places such as China offer huge potential for Scots firms with world-class products, he added, saying this was why the Executive had expanded its global business support agency, Scottish Development International, in the country after his 2004 visit. "Already we have helped 87 Scottish firms working in China, a 74 per cent increase on last year," he said.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Mar 17
2006

Whisky to Cost £950 per Bottle
Ten rare bottles are sitting on a shelf ... But soon there will be none. For they are filled with what is arguably the rarest whisky in the world. And they look set to fly off the shelf of a North-east distillery in record time, for £950 each. The bottles of Scotland's Glenury Royal 50-year-old single malt are the final ones to be released for sale by producers Diageo. The Scottish dram is said to be one of the rarest in the world. Only 498 bottles were ever produced in 2003. Collectors and connoisseurs worldwide are expected to descend on Royal Lochnagar Distillery, near Balmoral, for the exclusive sale.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Mar 17
2006

Hillary sells 50-year-old whisky for charity
Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary has sold a bottle of 50-year-old Scotch whisky back to its makers for $30,000, donating the proceeds to his Himalayan Trust for aid projects in Nepal, it was announced Friday. The whisky, made by Chivas Brothers, was bottle Number One from a batch of 255 bottled in 2003 to celebrate the anniversary of the coronation of Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the 50th birthday of Royal Salute Scotch whisky. It was presented to Hillary in 2003, 50 years to the day that he reached the summit of Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay. Chivas Brothers Chairman Christian Porta said it was the oldest blended Scotch ever produced and sold commercially and would be returned to Scotland.
Articles Courtesy of The Daily Record
newkerala.com

Mar 15
2006

Glenfarclas rebrands malt portfolio
Glenfarclas Distillery is relaunching its whisky portfolio with a packaging overhaul. The Scotch whisky company said today (15 March) that its rebranding, including a line drawing of the distillery, an adjustment to the Glenfarclas italics logo and a new Grant family monogram, will improve the brand’s impact. The monogram uses the initials of the J&G Grant family, who have managed the distillery for five generations. The new packaging will be used on the distillery’s 15-, 21- and 25-Years-Old Single Highland Malt Whiskies. “For six generations my family have taken the quality of the whisky we produce personally,” said George Grant, brand ambassador and sixth generation of the family who own and manage Glenfarclas. “Please be assured we have not changed what is in the bottle, simply improved the packaging so it is now more reflective of the quality of Glenfarclas.” The relaunch will be supported by a sales and marketing programme to include events in London, Edinburgh and Speyside, and advertising and promotional activity.
Articles Courtesy of Just Drinks.com
just-drinks.com

Mar 10
2006

Duncan Taylor Picks up Scottish Field Whisky Merchants’ Challenge for Second Year Running
Duncan Taylor Strathisla 37 year old has been awarded overall winner in the prestigious Scottish Field Whisky Merchants’ Challenge Award 2005/6 at a ceremony today in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre was the venue which saw multi-award winners Duncan Taylor & Co. pick up the ‘Overall’ award for the second year running. This is the first in the challenges history, that the same company has consecutively won the overall winner award. In 2004, the privately owned company also fought off stiff competition from Scotland’s leading whisky distillers and independent bottlers to become the proud supplier of the first ever grain whisky to be awarded the highly coveted title. Pitted head-to-head in a blind test against some of Scotland’s finest malts, Duncan Taylor’s bottling of Strathisla 1968 impressed the expert judging panel on nose, taste & finish. Keir Sword of Royal Mile Whiskies and one of judging panel commented. “Very appealing aromas – a cracking winter dram.” “Very promising nose – Wow! Big taste which lives up to the nose. A perfect after dinner malt. I must remember to get a bottle of this!” added Regis Lemaitre, former Bar Manager of Gleneagles Hotel. Duncan Taylor’s Caol Ila 12 year old, part of the Whisky Galore range, was also awarded a Gold in the 10 to 14 year old single malt whisky category in the August challenge. Euan Shand, co-owner of Duncan Taylor commented. "We are of course 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.” Archie MacKenzie, Editorial Director of Scottish Field added. “The Scottish Field Awards for Duncan Taylor’s Strathisla and Caol Ila are a testament to Duncan Taylor’s innovation, yet respect for tradition, in this hugely competitive market." Based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Duncan Taylor is the owner of one of the largest privately-held collections of rare Scotch whisky casks. The company has been ‘laying down’ casks from premium Scottish distillers for decades and sells its award-winning whiskies all over the world. The Duncan Taylor product range includes Auld Reekie and Scottish Glory in addition to their best-selling Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Cask, Rarest of the Rare and Whisky Galore collections.
Articles Courtesy of DTCScotch
duncantaylor.com

Mar 9
2006

Honour for Whisky Bar
WORLD famous whisky bar The Pot Still, has scooped another industry award. The Glasgow watering hole beat off stiff competition from bars in New York, London and Japan at the Icons of Whisky Awards in London. Judges named the Pot Still, in Hope Street, Whisky Magazine's Whisky Bar of the Year. The pub, established in 1870, boasts a Victorian gantry crammed full of almost 500 of Scotland's liquid treasures. Owner Ken Storrie, who bought the lease for the pub from Scottish and Newcastle Breweries back in 2001, said: "We've won more trophies than Chelsea."
Articles Courtesy of The Daily Record
dailyrecord.co.uk

Mar 9
2006

Star Visitor Status for Dufftown Distillery
A Speyside distillery which will welcome its three-millionth visitor this summer has been awarded a top star rating by VisitScotland. Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown is the latest attraction on Scotland's famous Malt Whisky Trail to gain five-star visitor attraction status. The award was handed over yesterday by VisitScotland chief executive Philip Riddle during a tour of the area to meet business leaders and others involved in the tourist industry. Glenfiddich public-relations manager Elizabeth Lafferty said everyone was delighted to have achieved the award. "The whole distillery team has worked really hard to create what we believe is the best whisky visitor centre in the country and to have this recognised by receiving the top accolade from VisitScotland is exceptionally rewarding." The visitor centre at Glenfiddich was the industry's first when it opened in 1969 and now attracts 80,000 people a year, the majority from overseas. The centre is looking forward to another milestone in the next few months when it welcomes visitor number 3million. "We have kept a tally since we opened 37 years ago and we are fast approaching 3million," said Mrs Lafferty. "I don't know yet how we will mark the occasion but we will certainly be doing something." Mr Riddle said Glenfiddich's five-star status was well deserved. "Glenfiddich and the other attractions on the Malt Whisky Trail have gained an outstanding reputation with tourists and the industry alike and that is demonstrated by the impressive number of five-star visitor attractions on the trail." VisitScotland's head of quality and standards, Tony Mercer, said the north-east was home to the highest number of five-star attraction award holders in Scotland. He said: "Glenfiddich has achieved this accolade by offering a completely customer-orientated experience with careful consideration being give to all its markets."
Articles Courtesy of Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Mar 8
2006

Beam to Boost Output at Scottish Distilleries
The new owner of the Ardmore and Laphroaig malt whisky distilleries unveiled plans yesterday to ramp up production at the two sites. Beam Global Spirits and Wine's plan to increase output has already led to four extra jobs being created at Ardmore. The US company acquired the two distilleries as part of the £7.6billion deal that saw its parent, Fortune Brands, and France's Pernod Ricard sharing the spoils of a takeover of UK firm Allied Domecq last year. Fortune and Pernod agreed to divide up the Allied business to address regulatory concerns. Among the whisky brands, Teacher's and the single malts Laphroaig and Ardmore went to the Fortune group. Pernod took over premium blend Ballantine's and the Scapa and Glendronach malts. Ardmore Distillery, at Kennethmont, near Huntly, continues to produce the core malt component for Teacher's. It is to increase its total production from five to seven days a week. Bosses expect the change to result in output at Ardmore increasing to more than 5million litres a year from its current level of just under 3million litres. Laphroaig Distillery on Islay which operates six days a week, is to switch to seven-day production for part of the year. Its annual output is expected to rise by around 300,000 litres to a total of 2.3million. An increase in production at both distilleries is needed to meet Teacher's requirements in the wake of the reorganisation brought about by the sale of Allied. The new owner has already advertised for four additional staff for Ardmore, which employs 12 people. The Islay distillery has a workforce of 19. Illinois-based Beam has also appointed a Scotch whisky director, Douglas Reid, who joined the company from Allied last year. His late father, Albert, worked at the Ardmore distillery for many years and the family lived in cottages nearby. Douglas Reid went on to university and then a career spanning drinks industry jobs at Grand Metropolitan, Scottish and Newcastle and Allied, for whom he worked for 10 years. Mr Reid is supported in his new role by distillery managers Alistair Longwell at Ardmore and John Campbell at Laphroaig. Douglas Lewis remains in his position of distillery operator at Ardmore. The new whisky director said the two Scottish operations were now a key part of Beam's Scotch whisky interests and would have a positive impact on generating local employment. Mr Reid added: "Most importantly, we have made appointments that provide continuity and build on local knowledge, skill and experience gained over many years and generations." Beam's other brands include Jim Beam bourbon, Canadian Club whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Sauza tequila, Larios gin, DYC and Maker's Mark bourbons, DeKuyper cordials, plus various wine brands and liqueurs.
Articles Courtesy of Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Mar 7
2006

MAXXIUM to distrbute The Glenrothes
The Glenrothes - the award-winning Single Malt Whisky produced in Speyside - will be distributed and marketed by Maxxium in the UK from April 1. Luke Tegner, The Glenrothes Brand Director, said: "We are delighted with the appointment of Maxxium UK and look forward to further success for The Glenrothes in the UK." Huw Pennell MD of Maxxium UK added: "The distribution of The Glenrothes is an important addition to the Maxxium premium spirits range; it is a brand we have long respected and we are very excited to have been chosen to represent it in the UK. Quality is at the heart of the Maxxium portfolio, and we see great potential for The Glenrothes, particularly in the on-trade and within specialist whisky retailers." The Glenrothes is one of the fastest growing single malt whisky brands in UK. Following great success in the USA and Spain, The Glenrothes Select Reserve launched in the UK in October 2005 to widespread acclaim from trade and consumer alike. Maxxium UK will manage the full range of products including The Glenrothes Select Reserve, The Glenrothes Vintages 1991 and 1985.
Articles Courtesy of Morning Advertiser
morningadvertiser

Mar 6
2006

Teacher's Scotch holds class on ethical drinking
Teacher's Scotch, an international brand of Scotch whisky, is all set to educate the people of Punjab about ethical drinking by organising Teacher’s Scotch Appreciation Sessions. One such session was held over the weekend at the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson. Arun Seth, Senior Vice President, International Trade (South Asia) of Beam Global Spirits and Wine, addressed the session. Seth said the purpose of such a session was not to promote drinking. "Either one should not drink Scotch or if one does, it should be done in the proper manner. It hurts when I see someone mixing coke or juice with Scotch because it is not the right way of drinking Scotch whisky. Either one should have it on the rocks (with four to five cubes of ice) or with water or soda." In the session held at Ludhiana, which was attended by more than 40 people from various walks of life, six different blends of Scotch whisky were displayed so that the participants could taste it and differentiate between single malt, blended Scotch, premium and super-premium Scotch whiskies. "A single malt Scotch whisky is the product of a single distillery, having a single malt as well as a single grain. Teacher's 50, one of the best Scotch whiskies of the world, is a blended whisky with more than 44 different malts. This adds to the great flavor of Teacher's 50," Seth said. He also added that the age of Scotch whisky, which is mentioned on the bottle, is the age of the youngest malt present in the whisky. Jagwant Singh Sandhu, a hotelier who attended the session, was happy to learn about the different aspects of Scotch whisky. "I have been drinking Teacher's Scotch for many years, but I never knew that it had 44 different malts in it." All the participants said "cheers" and then did "bottoms up" at the end of the session.
Articles Courtesy of India Times
business-standard

Mar 5
2006

Warning over high spirits
THE Scotch Whisky Association absolutely agrees with the sentiments of the British Medical Association regarding the promotion of a spirit to be produced at Bruichladdich distillery, which emphasises the product's high alcohol content, as described by Murdo Macleod (News, February 26). While factual information about the strength of an alcoholic beverage helps consumers to make informed decisions, alcoholic strength should never be the dominant theme of any product marketing or promotion. SWA members have shown strong leadership in promoting responsible attitudes to their brands, for example through the adoption of our Code of Practice on the Responsible Marketing and Promotion of Scotch Whisky. We trust that if and when this product comes on to the market, that the company in question will follow our lead and promote it responsibly.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Mar 5
2006

Whisky galore
Moet Hennessy India, a market leader in champagnes and cognacs and also known for its luxury vodkas, is now foraying into the whisky segment with the launch of Glenmorangie premium single malt whisky and Ardbeg, single Islay malt Scotch whisky in India. Bill Lumsden, master distiller, Glenmorangie plc, was on a visit to India to provide the malt whisky experience to consumers in both Delhi and Mumbai.In an exclusive interview with Raja Awasthi, Lumsden speaks about his plans for India and liquor industry world-wide. Excerpts: Single malt whisky accounts for only a small percentage of overall whisky volumes. But over the years it has witnessed a significant growth. Now major spirits producers are looking at new markets internationally? Which are these markets and why? The attention single malt whisky has received lately underlines how important the sector has become to the whisky business, not only because of its premium nature and marketability but also because of the impressive growth the category has been showing. Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, China, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore and India are the biggest whisky consuming markets in Asia. The challenge really is to convert the whisky drinkers who primarily prefer blended whiskies, to single malt drinkers. Moreover, it is equally important for us to consolidate our position in the existing malt whisky markets. Asia is a big focus market for us and we are confident of making in roads in a big way in the malt whisky category. Are you looking at India as a potential market in years to come? Moet Hennessy India has a history of providing premium brands to the Indian consumers.We have succeeded in providing the finest range of products in every segment that we are in - cognacs, wines, champagnes and vodka. With the launch of Glenmorangie we will be able to offer a complete portfolio of premium, luxury brands to our customers. With over 65% of the consumers of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor segment being whisky drinkers in India, Moet Hennessy aims to secure a fair share of the market. According to a research, the single malt whisky and the worldwide trend of consumers are moving away from blended whisky towards single malts. How fast is it happening and why? Though there has been a marked transition towards single malts, the growth is not really as fast paced as we would like to see. Given the size of the blended Scotch whisky market, single malts account for only 100 million cases worldwide. The shift is partly to do with the fact that people are now able to appreciate and buy expensive brands. Consumer education about single malts on a continuous basis too plays an important role in making potential customers more knowledgeable and eager samplers. Moreover, once a consumer has tried Glenmorangie, in my experience he will never go back to blended whisky. How do you see the single malt whisky market growing internationally in years to come? Worldwide only two categories are growing at a fast pace - vodka and malts. I will be a little disappointed if we are not able to double the size of the single malt whisky market in a few years time as the product is really good. The biggest barrier that we need to cross to be able to meet our targets is really to convert the blended whisky drinker to single malt whisky drinker by creating awareness through whisky tasting sessions for both the consumer as well the trade. Consumer engagements during the initial launch phase and thereafter are customary efforts towards increasing consumer trials.
Articles Courtesy of India Times
indiatimes.com

Mar 3
2006

Budget disappoints Scotch industry
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has expressed the industry’s disappointment that India’s fiscal budget did not liberalise the import of Scotch whisky into the country. The industry believes that import and other duties levied on Scotch amounted to a “discriminatory import regime for spirits”, and allegedly against international trade rules. According to the SWA, the overall duty burden faced by Scotch whisky in India ranges from 212 percent to 525 percent. Speaking after the budget for the fiscal 2006-07 was presented in the Indian parliament earlier this week, Mr Peter Wilkinson, the SWA’s international affairs director, said: “It is disappointing that India has failed for the second year in a row to take any steps to align its discriminatory import and domestic tax regime for spirits with WTO rules.” “Domestic interests appear to have outweighed international commitments and, as a result, market access continues to be unfairly restricted by a protectionist tariff and tax system. Indian consumers are being denied the opportunity to buy international spirits brands at an affordable price.” “With the European Commission currently investigating India’s import regime for EU spirits and wine, the industry continues to support its efforts to reach an early-negotiated solution on fair market access. If this does not prove possible, we will have to weigh our options and may be obliged to press the EU to take these issues to WTO dispute settlement,” Mr Wilkinson added.
Articles Courtesy of Navhind Times.com
navhindtimes

Mar 2
2006

Anger over India's whisky tariffs
LEADERS of the Scotch whisky industry yesterday hit out at the Indian government for bowing to "protectionist" domestic pressures after it maintained fiscal discrimination against Scotch whisky imports in the country's new budget. Peter Wilkinson, international affairs director of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), said: "It is disappointing that India has failed for the second year in a row to take any steps to align its discriminatory import and domestic tax regime for spirits and WTO rules. "Domestic interests appear to have outweighed international commitments and, as a result, market access continues to be unfairly restricted by a protectionist tariff and tax system. Indian consumers are being denied the opportunity to buy international spirits brands at an affordable price." New Delhi's refusal to budge on the issue of tax barriers to Scotch whisky imports will come as a blow to the SWA's chief executive Gavin Hewitt, a former diplomat, who invested much time and energy in cultivating contacts within the Indian government. The SWA has been calling on India to reduce its basic customs duty from 150 per cent to75 per cent, and to end the internal duties which combine to put Scotch whisky outside of the reach of all but the wealthiest of consumers. His efforts to persuade officials of the mutual advantages of a fairer tax regime were reinforced by the enterprise minister, Nicol Stephen, who discussed the issue with Indian counterparts on a November visit. India's inter-state tariff system, which supplements the already high national import duty, and is alleged by the SWA to be against WTO rules, has been under investigation by the European Commission since September following a complaint by the SWA and the European Spirits Organisation and the European Wine Producers. Commission representatives visited India in January and are due to present their findings "before Easter". "We feel that we made a compelling case that was widely understood by the Indian government so we are disappointed that it has failed to take this opportunity to remove these tax burdens." said David Williamson, a spokesman for the SWA. "Because of the amount of duty, we have less than 1 per cent of a 100 million-case spirits market while in contrast, Indian spirits have tariff-free access to the EU." "Certain Indian companies have complained that Indian distillers cannot get access but this is simply wrong. There is no issue with their spirits, as long as they are not called whisky. Indian spirits are molasses-based and are not aged, which excludes them from the WTO definition of whisky." India's budget was otherwise given a positive reception by analysts who said it "focused on growth and provided no nasty surprises". Risking trade war. WHY is India, with its open, free-trade-oriented economy, risking a trade war with the international spirits industry by effectively excluding spirits imports? Powerful political-business interests are keen to protect their domestic business, and fear that Scotch's cachet as a drink for the rapidly expanding middle class, as in the rest of booming Asia, will quickly erode their market share. Analysts believe these interests are using traditional Indian protectionist instincts for "agricultural" or grain-based products to keep Scotch out.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Mar 1
2006

Speyside Visit in Thirst for Malt Knowledge
The 14-strong band of experts used by Glenfiddich to sell its malt whisky around the world have gathered on Speyside for the first time for a two-week training course. The ambassadors from India, the US, Australia, China and Spain play a key role in telling consumers about the malt that is the world's number one, selling more than 840,000 cases annually worldwide. The gathering in the Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown is being used to give the 14 first-hand experience of the whisky-making process, as well as the brand's heritage. They will also develop their nosing and tasting skills under the guidance of Glenfiddich's malt masters David Stewart and Brian Kinsman. Ian Millar, the former Glenfiddich distillery manager and now chief brand ambassador, said: "We have just undergone an expansion of our network of Glenfiddich brand ambassadors and this conference presents a unique opportunity to bring them all together to share experiences and learn more about Glenfiddich in the place where it is made. "As consumers' thirst for knowledge about single malt grows, so it is more important than ever that our brand ambassadors have an in-depth understanding of our products and can convey to others what makes the different Glenfiddich whiskies so special. "We have representatives from established markets like the US, Spain and UK here alongside newly appointed ambassadors for emerging markets such as India - all learning from one another." Whisky sales globally are on an up, particularly in China and India, which have reported increases recently of 107% and 36% respectively. Sales of single malts, such as Glenfiddich, are also rising, and showed a 7% surge last year.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Feb 28
2006

Whisky still could move to Unst
SHETLAND'S first whisky distillery could now be set up on Unst in a bid to help regenerate the UK's most northerly island. Blackwood Distillers yesterday (Monday) confirmed that they were looking at relocating their plans to the abandoned RAF base at Saxa Vord after being approached by Shetland Islands Council. Failing that, the company is also considering relocating its gin still from the Scottish mainland to Unst. Islanders in Unst are just coming to terms with another economic blow last week when the community's oldest company Alex Sandison & Son Ltd called in the administrators with the immediate loss of four jobs at its salmon hatchery. One islander said the financial difficulties of Sandisons had a more devastating impact on community morale than the closure of the RAF early warning station which was announced in July last year and will be completed by the end of this month, with the loss of 70 service personnel and 40 local jobs. Blackwoods' managing director Caroline Whitfield said yesterday the company's main philosophy had always been to do as much as possible to help the Shetland economy and help was now needed in Unst more than anywhere else. She said: "This not definite, but it is sufficiently appropriate to say that we are looking at it. We have always said that we want to maximise the economic benefit for Shetland, and we are willing to do something in Unst."According to a Shetland Enterprise study, a new whisky distillery could create as many as 44 full time jobs. However this latest development in the company's long struggle to build a distillery in the isles is far from certain. Blackwood Distillers has not put in a bid for any of the buildings at Saxa Vord, near Haroldswick, which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is keen to sell. The closing date was last Friday. But Ms Whitfield said the "one of the parties who had a bid in" was a befriended business and there was the chance that they would get a lease should that company be able to develop the site. It also emerged yesterday, that Blackwood have now received the long awaited building warrant for its original site at Catfirth, in Nesting, around 10 miles north of Lerwick. Ms Whitfield said tender documents could theoretically go out immediately, but would now have to be held back pending a decision on the potential development in Unst. "It puts us in an awkward position," she admitted, adding that it was unclear how long it would take before a final decision on the Saxa Vord site was made. The MoD has said it wants to move quickly, and according to Unst councillor Brian Gregson a decision on a preferred bidder is expected soon. Mr Gregson said: "Clearly, any proposed development in Unst is only to be welcomed. We hope to hear from the MoD this week or next as to who the preferred bidder will be. "They then will come to Shetland and possibly hold a public meeting to share their plans with us. It will then become clearer as to whether Blackwood can be part of that." Blackwood Distillers started exploring the possibilities of building a whisky distillery in Shetland more than four years ago. While raising the necessary cash was completed relatively quickly, delays in the planning, environmental assessment and building warrant processes have put the project behind its initial schedule. Meanwhile Blackwood has created a very successful white spirits business which is raising money to fund the distillery.
Articles Courtesy of The Shetland News
shetland-news.co.uk

Feb 27
2006

Distillery makes 92% proof whisky
One of the world's most alcoholic single malt whiskies is to be produced using an ancient recipe. The tipple is expected to be at least 92% alcohol once prepared by distillers at Bruichladdich on the Isle of Islay, off Scotland's west coast. Managers at the firm believe it will be akin to a drink described 300 years ago by 17th-century travel writer Martin Martin. Bruichladdich managing director Mark Reynier said the move was a bit of fun and was unlikely to be repeated. "In the long run we will be looking at producing around 5,000 bottles and I honestly couldn't put a cost on it. It is a challenge," he told the Sunday Herald newspaper. "Although Martin's note hints at the dreadful consequences of sipping more than a teaspoonful, this will, I hope, have very floral qualities to it. Despite the high alcohol content, you know it's whisky." In his 1695 travel book, The Western Islands of Scotland, Mr Martin refers to a quadruple-distilled whisky known as "usquebaugh-baul" and wrote what is probably the world's oldest whisky-tasting note. He said: "The first taste affects all the members of the body: two spoonfuls of this last liquor is a sufficient dose; and if any man should exceed this, it would presently stop his breath and endanger his life." The secret lies in the drink being distilled four times - Scotch malts are normally distilled twice and usually have an alcohol content of about 40%. Just 12 barrels will be made. Bruichladdich distillery was mothballed by the American multi-national Jim Beam in 1994. It was purchased in December 2000 by a group of private investors.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Feb 25
2006

Worker Gets into Spirit with Museum Plan
A Distillery worker who has accumulated a huge collection of items connected with the whisky industry has proposed setting up a museum in Elgin in honour of Scotland's national drink. John Mackintosh, 59, believes the Moray capital, which lies at the heart of malt-whisky country, is ideally placed to showcase the industry and its product. He is convinced a whisky museum would appeal to visitors from all over the world and provide a boost for the local tourist trade. Mr Mackintosh has spent most of his working life in the whisky industry and is currently a warehouseman at Miltonduff Distillery, near Elgin. Over the years, he has amassed a collection of more than 400 bottles of whisky, 200 water jugs, 200 whisky glasses and an Aladdin's cave of other whisky-related items which he stores in his garage and spare rooms at his home at Bishopmill, Elgin. Mr Mackintosh would like to meet other collectors in the area to discuss the possibility of a whisky museum. He would donate at least part of his collection and is sure others would be keen for theirs to go on display rather than simply occupying space at home. Mr Mackintosh, who has worked in every area of whisky production during his career, said: "There is very little whisky-wise in Elgin, even though it is right at the centre of the industry. "A museum dedicated to whisky would be a good thing for the tourist trade in Elgin. "It would be too much for me or anybody else to take on single-handedly but if a group was formed, we could maybe try to get the council interested and take it from there." Mr Mackintosh can be contacted on 01343 544983.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Feb 24
2006

New SWA top team plans to target fake whisky
TWO spirits industry heavyweights took command of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) yesterday - as the trade body for what is one of Scotland's key industry warned the problem of "counterfeit" whisky-producers was mushrooming. The warning by SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt came as the body announced that Richard Burrows, director of French spirits giant Pernod Ricard, has been appointed as the new chairman, succeeding Ian Good - chairman of the Edrington Group - who is retiring after five years. Burrows moves up from the vice-chairman position, and Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, the world's biggest spirits company, becomes vice-chairman. Burrows said that Good had left "a strong legacy" and added that two priorities of the SWA were "to take a lead in securing fair access to our export markets and protecting Scotch whisky from unfair competition". The new chairman said Scotch whisky exports now totalled £2.3 billion a year, or 30 bottles a second - "the best performance since 1996-7". He said it was a marked turnaround from the early 1970s, when the Scotch whisky industry was declining 2 to 3 per cent a year. Burrows said the industry's "renaissance" was now clearly "not a flash in the pan. There is more sustainable long-term growth if it is looked after properly." However, he said: "This growth attracts people who want to trade off in terms of product substitution and counterfeiting." Burrows said the Chinese market offered the greatest growth opportunity for Scotch, but added: "Counterfeiting is a significant problem and is growing. The same would be true of Latin markets." Hewitt said other markets like India, France, Belgium and Australian were all suffering from the fake Scotch producers. He said: "In any one day we [the SWA] are prosecuting 50 cases [of Scotch whisky counterfeiting] around the world with people trying to pass products off as Scotch whisky." The chief executive cited the Indian authorities claiming Scotch whisky has 1 per cent - or about 55/60 million cases - of the Indian whisky market. But he added: "We know we only have 0.5 per cent of the market, which means there is as much counterfeit Scotch whisky out there as real Scotch." There are import tariffs on genuine Scotch whisky of up to 525 per cent. An SWA spokesman said later: "That makes Scotch whisky unaffordable and inaccessible to many Indian consumers. So they drift to the grey market." Hewitt said it was not unknown for producers of allegedly genuine Scotch whisky to give substantial discounts if the bottles and screw tops were returned after use. He said this was obviously to pass off fake product at a later stage again. Meanwhile, Walsh estimated that the true figure of counterfeit Scotch bottles in countries like India "could be as high as one in ten". Walsh said that, given the high sales of Diageo and Pernod in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, China, India, Thailand and South Korea, he and Burrows would be able to mix corporate and SWA work on their frequent travels overseas to promote the drink. Burrows and Walsh have known each other for many years, and six years ago Diageo and Pernod combined to mount a successful $8 billion takeover bid for Seagram's drinks business.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Feb 21
2006

Cheers at Whisky Shop
THE Whisky Shop chain has been named Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year at the UK Drinks Retailing Awards.
Judges were impressed by chief Ian Bankier's store design and plans to grow.

Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Feb 17
2006

Mallya bidding for Scotland distillery?
By Prasun Sonwalkar, London: Is prominent Indian brewer-politician Vijay Mallya in the run to purchase Scotland-based Invergordon Distillery - Europe's largest grain distillery? The distillery, on the Cromarty Firth in Ross-shire, was put up for sale by owner Whyte and Mackay for a price tag of nearly 200 million pounds. Industry sources told IANS that Mallya's United Breweries, the world's second biggest distiller, was on the shortlist to purchase the distillery. Whyte and Mackay announced the sale in December 2005. However, a company spokesman refused to comment on negotiations with potential buyers. Invergordon Distillery, which employs 180 staff, was established in 1961 and is one of eight such grain distilleries in Scotland, and the only one in the Highlands. Councillor John Connell told the local media: "The distillery has been very important to the town of Invergordon for a number of years and long may that continue, along with job security. "There were redundancies in the past and I would sincerely hope that we will not see any further redundancies if changes are afoot." United Breweries already has a strategic alliance with Scottish and Newcastle, one of the top 10 brewers in the world. The alliance allows Scottish and Newcastle to market its international brands in India and United Breweries will utilise the former's global network to distribute its Kingfisher brand. Scottish and Newcastle own a range of international beer brands, including Kronenbourg, Newcastle and Brown ale and have exclusive rights to the Fosters brand in Europe.
Articles Courtesy of New Kerala
newkerala.com

Feb 17
2006

Distillery company tops up earnings
Loch Lomond Distillery Company, part of secretive tycoon Sandy Bulloch's spirits empire, has posted its best trading performance for several years after a steep fall in bulk-whisky export prices slashed profits at the start of the decade. The Alexandria-based firm, which claims to be the only distillery in Scotland producing both grain and malt whisky on the same site, has also increased revenues. In the year to March 31, 2005, Loch Lomond posted a pre-tax profit of £756,356, up from £532,382 in the previous 12 months. Sales climbed from £10m in 2004 to £10.9m. The firm's products include a single malt, their unique Single Blend, Loch Lomond Distillery Select and Scotch Earl. In the annual report, Loch Lomond said: "The results for the year and the financial position at the year-end were considered satisfactory by the directors, who expect continued growth." Sandy Bulloch also owns A Bulloch Agencies, which wholesales wine and spirits and operates the Glen Catrine bonded warehouse at Mauchline in Ayrshire.
Articles Courtesy of The Herald
theherald.co.uk

Feb 17
2006

It's Whisky Bangalore
Indian interest in distillery A WHISKY distillery could be the subject of an Indian takeaway after being put on the market. Invergordon Distillery, on the Cromarty Firth, was put up for sale by owner Whyte and Mackay for a price tag of about £200million. India's United Breweries, the world's second biggest distiller, is understood to be on the shortlist to purchase Europe's largest grain distillery. Whyte and Mackay announced the planned sale last December. A company spokesman refused to comment on any negotiation with potential buyers. The distillery, which employs 180 staff, was established in 1961 and is one of eight grain distilleries left in Scotland, and the only one in the Highlands. Local councillor John Connell said: "The distillery has been very important to the town of Invergordon for a number of years and long may that continue, along with job security. "There were redundancies in the past and I would sincerely hope that we will not see any further redundancies if changes are afoot."
Articles Courtesy of The Daily Record
dailyrecord.co.uk

Feb 17
2006

Johnnie Walker sales lift Diageo profits
DIAGEO'S global reach allowed it to shrug off American hurricanes, higher oil costs and a foreign exchange hit, as the world's biggest alcoholic drinks company yesterday poured out a 7 per cent rise in half-time profits to £1.26 billion. Paul Walsh, chief executive of the company - which employs about 3,500 staff in Scotland and has its production headquarters in Edinburgh Park in Edinburgh - said the UK and mainland Europe remained tough trading markets. But Walsh, who also recently became vice-chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association, said the United States, where the group has more than a third of its sales, had a promising trading backdrop, and there was also strong growth in fledgling markets like Russia, India and China. He also revealed that Johnnie Walker whisky, one of Diageo's prime products, continued to make headway around the globe. Johnnie Walker volumes were up 4 per cent in North America, 12 per cent in international territories outside the US and Europe - driven by strong performances in Asia and Latin America - and 2 per cent in Europe. In Britain, Bell's volumes grew 10 per cent. In China, the brand's volume leapt 54 per cent from a relatively low base, while volumes of Johnnie Walker Black Label soared 75 per cent. Walsh said: "Scotch in emerging markets is very important for us and very important for Britain." Talking about the US, where Diageo has a 28 per cent market share, Walsh said: "One million consumers will reach legal [drink] purchasing age each year until at least 2009. US consumers are finding spirits increasingly appealing." North American volumes, including Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum and Guinness, rose an aggregate 4 per cent while operating profits rose 5 per cent to £476 million in the six months to end-2005. Walsh said the group now had 2,000 distributors in the US solely dedicated to Diageo's brands, which also include Jose Cuervo tequila and Baileys liqueur. Michael Bleakley, drinks analyst at broker Credit Suisse, commented: "Although some may see the US performance as disappointing, these results again show that Diageo has the flexibility to meet its targets whatever the weather." Nick Rose, group finance director, said the American hurricanes - Katrina, Rita and Wilma - had cost the group £4-5m, and higher oil costs about £10m. Rose said exchange rates, largely a weaker dollar, would cut profits by £30m in the current year. Two areas of concern for Diageo remain Europe, which saw underlying sales down 1 per cent, and ready-to-drink (RTD), down 3 per cent, and Rose did not see an early turnaround. "Europe will remain a tough trading environment, while RTDs have performed poorly in Europe." Ready-mixed Smirnoff drinks saw revenues fall more than 20 per cent, while Guinness sales across Europe were down 2 per cent - including a 2 per cent fall in Ireland and 3 per cent fall in the UK. However, cost efficiencies still allowed the European division to produce a 7 per cent increase in operating profits to £494m. Diageo said marketing spending in emerging markets, loosely defined as the international division, jumped 24 per cent in the period, with significant increases for China, India and Brazil. Walsh said that, along with Russia, such markets would be "very important for us in the future". The international division's profits rose 12 per cent to £371m. Diageo's interim dividend rises 5 per cent to 11.95p, and Walsh repeated the intention to double the first-half £700m of share buybacks. Diageo's shares closed up 13.5p at 868.5p. Shareholders in double toast to results DIAGEO'S interim net sales rose 5 per cent to £3.96 billion, as the group said it had increased its underlying marketing spend by 5 per cent in the six months to end-December 2005. As the group threw off money, with free cash flow increasing to £651 million, over £1bn was returned to shareholders via dividends and share buybacks. Of this, £700m was in share buybacks, and group chief executive Paul Walsh repeated that a similar level of buyback was planned in the future. Diageo said that the interim results underpinned full-year guidance of 7 per cent underlying growth in operating profit. The company identifies the United States as a key growth market in future, partly due to demographic trends. The group already has a 28 per cent market share of the drinks market in the US, from where it gets roughly one-third of its sales. Diageo had also produced an anti-drink abuse television advertisement. Walsh said the group felt it had the promotional expertise to undertake the work, saying: "We think we can change the attitudes to excessive and irresponsible enjoyment of the product."
Articles Courtesy of Just-Drinks.com
scotsman.com

Feb 17
2006

Distillery company tops up earnings
Loch Lomond Distillery Company, part of secretive tycoon Sandy Bulloch's spirits empire, has posted its best trading performance for several years after a steep fall in bulk-whisky export prices slashed profits at the start of the decade. The Alexandria-based firm, which claims to be the only distillery in Scotland producing both grain and malt whisky on the same site, has also increased revenues. In the year to March 31, 2005, Loch Lomond posted a pre-tax profit of £756,356, up from £532,382 in the previous 12 months. Sales climbed from £10m in 2004 to £10.9m. The firm's products include a single malt, their unique Single Blend, Loch Lomond Distillery Select and Scotch Earl. In the annual report, Loch Lomond said: "The results for the year and the financial position at the year-end were considered satisfactory by the directors, who expect continued growth." Sandy Bulloch also owns A Bulloch Agencies, which wholesales wine and spirits and operates the Glen Catrine bonded warehouse at Mauchline in Ayrshire.
Articles Courtesy of The Herald
theherald.co.uk

Feb 16
2006

Scotch industry given training tonic
A TRAINING initiative to improve the employability of people working in the Scotch whisky industry has been unveiled. Ten leading Scotch whisky producers joined forces with the trade union, GMB Scotland, and the government's DTI Partnership at Work fund to develop the initiative. They hope that this will act as a blueprint for other companies in the whisky sector, which employs 10,000 people north of the Border. The scheme is designed to help employees develop their "soft skills" which are not normally incorporated into traditional training. Key areas being tackled include communications, team working, business awareness, and coaching and supporting.
Articles Courtesy of Just-Drinks.com
scotsman.com

Feb 16
2006

Whisky producers promote unique blend of skills
Ten of Scotland's largest whisky producers have teamed up to launch a training initiative aimed at improving the skills of workers across the industry, which employs 10,000 north of the border. The Scotch Whisky Sector Project has been developed to improve "soft skills" not normally incorporated into traditional training. This includes areas such as communications, team working, business awareness, coaching and supporting. It is hoped that the scheme – which is also being supported by GMB Scotland and the DTI Partnership at Work fund – will eventually be rolled out across the whole of the industry. Companies participating in the scheme include John Dewar & Son, Allied Distillers, Chivas Brothers Pernod Ricard, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Inver House Distillers and Whyte & Mackay.
Articles Courtesy of The Herald
theherald.co.uk

Feb 13
2006

MSP Backs Plans for Only Gaelic Speakers at Distillery
A Highland politician has backed controversial plans by a Skye businessman to employ only Gaelic speakers at a new £3million distillery. Liberal Democrat MSP John Farquhar Munro said Sir Iain Noble was justified in giving jobs at the distillery on the Sleat peninsula to those with a knowledge of Gaelic. Sir Iain, chairman of Praban na Linne, which produces two blends under the title The Gaelic Whiskies, told a newspaper that all 20 jobs at the Skye distillery would go to Gaelic speakers. The former banker wants to expand in Skye to distil Praban na Linne's own whisky, which is currently distilled, blended and bottled in Edinburgh. Praban na Linne plans to convert an agricultural building on Cnoc Farm, Teangue, into a distillery and visitor centre. It hopes to open it in late 2008 and attract about 60,000 visitors a year. Highland MSP John Farquhar Munro said: "I think it is reasonable because the end product is marketed as Gaelic whisky. That justifies the employees having a background in Gaelic." Sir Iain previously caused controversy during a speech to the Scottish Countryside Alliance in 2003, where he argued against English immigration to Skye, later saying his intention was to keep the Gaelic language alive.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Feb 9
2006

Scotland's Smallest Distillery has a Big Impact on Parent's Profits
Scotland's smallest distillery - Edradour, at Pitlochry - helped its parent to boost profits in the year to last March. The 181-year-old distillery, which employs just three people making whisky but has up to 15 guides at its visitor centre during summer, posted profits of £489,480 for the year. This represented almost 80% of its parent Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company's pre-tax profits for the 12 months. The group's finance director, Des McCagherty, said yesterday that Edradour was trading very successfully, and continuing to see growth in all its near-30 markets worldwide for its flagship 10-year-old single Highland malt. He added that the visitor centre and shop were an important part of the business, and attracted close to 100,000 visitors each year. Mr McCagherty said: "We plan to invest this year in this side of the business and hope to increase visitor numbers." The distillery has been bringing new products on stream gradually since it was bought by Signatory in 2002 from French drinks giant Pernod Ricard for £5.4million. Its range now includes a 30-year-old, a 21-year-old with a port finish, six 10-year-olds with wood finishes bottled straight from the cask, and a cream liqueur made with malt whisky. In the pipeline is a peaty Islay-style malt called Ballechin. The first batch is now approaching three years old and there may be a limited release later this year, although most Ballechin will be released at eight or 10-years-old. Mr McCagherty said the range extensions had gone very well and had taken Edradour's portfolio of products to more than 12. He was speaking after Companies House released Signatory's report and accounts for the year to March 31, 2005. The Edinburgh company's principal activity is the selection, independent bottling and sale of fine single malt whiskies both to export and domestic markets. The directors say in their report that they are satisfied with the trading performance for the year. Accounts for the year show that Signatory's pre-tax profits were £616,088 compared with profits of £536,087 the year before. Turnover is not quoted in the abbreviated accounts. The accounts also show that the best-paid director - understood to be managing director Andrew Symington - received emoluments of £48,000 for the year plus pension contributions of £10,000. This was sharply down on £80,252 in emoluments and £10,000 in pension contributions the previous year.
Articles Courtesy of Press and Journal
techeblog.com

Feb 9
2006

Whisky Live Japan : Tokyo 2006
We are grateful to all of the participating companies plus Scottish Development International and the Commercial Section of the British Embassy for their help and support with this event. The 6th Live! in Tokyo will be held on Sunday February 12th, 2006, again at Tokyo Big Sight, and promises to be the biggest and best Live! yet. There will be nearly 40 booths in the Tasting Area, a full program of 23 Masterclasses, musical entertainment from Scotland's own "Three Tenors" (www.caledonmusic.com), book-signings by Michael Jackson and Dave Broom, plus much more besides. Doors open at 10.15am and there will be a short Opening Ceremony from 10.30am. The first series of Masterclasses and the main Tasting Room open from 11am. The final series of classes finish and the Tasting Room close at 7pm. After a showing of video highlights of the day, Caledon will sing to bring the 6th Live! in Tokyo to a close. Visit the main Tokyo website at www.whiskylivejapan.com
Articles Courtesy of Whiskylive.com
whiskylive.com

Feb 8
2006

Blackwood Hoping Distillery Project Springs into Action
Blackwood Distillers hopes to finally start work on its Shetland whisky distillery this spring. The proposal was put forward initially in 2002 and it had been hoped that the first whisky would go into barrels the following year. However, the project has been hit by delays. Caroline Whitfield, chief executive of Blackwood, said yesterday: "We have been waiting for planning permission for a very long time. "The building warrants have now come through and we are now able to proceed." Ms Whitfield said the distillery site could also be home to a gin still. She added: "We are still looking at whether we will have one site or two in Shetland." The chief executive was hopeful that the distillery could be up and running within seven months of building work starting. It has been estimated the scheme could create 24 direct jobs and about a further 44 indirectly. The distillery is expected to cost around £3million, with one-sixth of that public money. Blackwood also said yesterday that annual turnover had more than doubled to £1.1million. The drinks manufacturer - which exports to many countries - also said that gross profits in the 12 months to the end of April also soared from £33,000 to £242,000. It made trading losses of £1.1million, however, as a result of its investment in new market and product development and investing in the development of the distillery. Ms Whitfield said: "Our drive in 2006 is to build on the distribution network we now have and invest more on building consumer demand and volumes where we now trade." Blackwood said it had also boosted its balance sheet with a further £1.6million of investment in the firm and it was anticipating a further major investment round, specifically to fund brand growth in America and Asia.
Articles Courtesy of Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Feb 6
2006

Whisky Bottle PC
When is a whisky bottle not just a whisky bottle? When you manage to stuff a working computer inside it. This casemodder packed a 1.5L Ballantine’s bottle with an Intel P3 733EB processor, 256MB notebook RAM, 40GB hard drive, and 60W mini-ITX power supply unit. To solve cooling problems he drilled several holes at the side panel and glued an old VGA card cooler to the bottleneck.
Articles Courtesy of TechEBlog
techeblog.com

Feb 3
2006

Joy as MEPs Have the Bottle to Secure Dram Fine Measure
Scotch whisky won a reprieve yesterday as members of the European Parliament watered down proposals from European Commission lawmakers to change the present standard size of bottles. Scots MEPs were jubilant over success in a vote to exclude whisky from plans to bring the size of bottles and other packaging into line across the European Union. SNP MEP Ian Hudghton said: "I'm delighted we have been able to put a stop to the European Commission's meddling, which would have put so many jobs at risk. Their needless interference would have put up costs and led to unfair competition. "Getting rid of standard-size whisky bottles would have been bad news for the consumer and producer alike." A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said the industry was against the present standard sizes being scrapped and that it had been working hard to keep the present sizes of 75 centilitres and one litre. He said: "We standardised at the present sizes 10 years ago, when there were as many as 60 different whisky-bottle sizes. "This has made it much easier and less expensive to invest in bottling lines and lighter glass, and it makes recycling easier. "Importantly, the present sizes allow the customer to know what he is getting. A wide range of new sizes would have made this difficult for buyers. "Costs would undoubtedly have gone up and producers might have sought competitive advantage by introducing different sizes. "But I don't think there would have been much effect on jobs." The European Commission had wanted only a few products, including instant coffee and white sugar, to remain in national package sizes. MEPs disagreed, voting to exclude products including milk, whisky and other spirits from the scope of plans. Under the commission's proposals, milk - traditionally sold in pints in Britain, although mainly retailed in metric volumes in supermarkets - would be packaged in seven metric sizes. But MEPs saved Britain's "pinta" and also said other staple foods such as butter, dried pasta and rice should continue to be sold in their present package sizes.Dairy UK, the organisation representing Britain's milk processors and producers, hailed the move as a victory for commonsense. They had feared any change would hit milk consumption. Dairy UK director-general Jim Begg said: "The position adopted by the European Parliament that the current system of pack sizes, which includes the pint, must be retained for liquid milk, is a very strong argument and one which we favour. "We are grateful for the work of the MEPs in securing this outcome as failure could have resulted in real and unnecessary cost burdens being imposed on the industry." MEPs also insisted on the commission reviewing packaging rules after eight years. The present rules on prepackaged products date from the 1970s. EU ministers will now consider the parliament's views. The proposals will then return to the commission and the parliament for further consideration.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Feb 3
2006

Whisky Award Winner Chooses Hydrovane
Highland Park , whose 18-year-old single malt whisky has been named “best spirit in the world” by US drinks magazine Spirits Journal, has faithfully used Hydrovane air compressors as part of its complex distillery process on Orkney for over 30 years. Whisky making at Highland Park is a way of life and the brand adheres to traditional methods of distilling that go way back - no corners are cut. In particular, Highland Park continues to malt its own barley using the traditional floor malting method and to kiln dry the 'green' malt using peat cut from its own moorlands. Some modern mechanical methods have been introduced. In fact, Highland Park has used air compressors to drive tools for decades, but has only introduced this equipment as part of the actual distilling process in the last five years. One purpose is to use air from the compressor to remove a solid waste, known as ‘draff’: this by-product is then sold as animal feed. George McKenzie, engineering manager for Highland Distillers, who produces the Highland Park whisky, has been with the company for over 12 years and has never had any problems with the Hydrovane compressors: “Our first Hydrovane is now 30 years old and has been running reliably since its first day, powering tools and instruments throughout the distillery. “Over the years Hydrovane has made various modifications to the filtration systems in its compressors, which, in my opinion, results in the ability to produce much cleaner air than its predecessors or competitors. These improvements meant we could begin using the compressors as part of the actual distilling process as the quality of air was pure enough not to taint the whisky.” Airchannel (formerly Woodside Pneumatics) in Aberdeen recently supplied Highland Park with another Hydrovane to replace an old screw-compressor at the site, whose origins date back to 1798. The model chosen was the HV22RS variable speed, from the Hydrovane range of free-standing compressors, in order to minimise energy costs. Robert Morrison, depot manager at Airchannel, said: “ Highland Park has a long association with Hydrovane and they were happy to buy another compressor based on their experience of the range’s reliability and durability alone. “However, I knew that the HV22RS would also be more energy efficient than their previous compressor and I was keen to show them how much the equipment had evolved. Since it’s installation they have noted reduced energy costs and, most significantly, real savings on maintenance costs.” For more information on Hydrovane compressors, contact the technical sales department on 01527 838200 or visit the website at www.hydrovane.co.uk
Articles Courtesy of Process and Control Today
pandct.com

Feb 3 2006

Johnnie Walker: synonymous with Scotland and whisky
JOHN Walker had an entrepreneurial spirit from a very young age. The west-coast Scot already owned a small grocery shop by the age of 15, marking the start to an archetypal fable that has since raised his name to one of the most recognisable monikers in the business world. Born to a farmer's son, his upbringing in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, was like many at the time – hardworking and ordinary. It was this backdrop that was to foster his ambitious nature. Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock, 1954. On the death of his father, Walker seized the opportunity to leave the land and set himself up in business. He sold groceries, wine and spirits to locals and businessmen who travelled to Kilmarnock, a centre for textile and carpet manufacturing. So it was then that - not long after the fall of the British Empire at the Boston tea party - Walker was to build his own empire based on that same brew. Applying tea-blending principles to whisky with great success, Walker's Highland whiskies were created and received with critical acclaim. The concept was a revolution. Some say that if Walker and others like him had not started blending malt and grain whisky, the drink itself may never have become as popular as it has. At the time both malt and grain whiskies were bottled singly, and a market for them barely existed outside Scotland. All this was to change. Johnnie Walker's striding man has changed over the years and has become an instantly recognisable logo.During the remainder of the 19th century Scotch whisky achieved international fame. The foundation of this sea change in thinking lay in the art of whisky blending which Walker helped pioneer. Without the introduction of blending, whisky might never have left the remote Highlands and islands of Scotland. Single whiskies, like wine, can vary from one year to the next, and Walker's aim in blending was to create a consistent flavour and a quality that could be relied on time and again. However as his experiments reached fruition, Walker discovered that through blending he could achieve a depth and flavour completely different from a single malt. Among the whiskies most favoured by Walker were the malts shipped from the Isle of Islay. These were powerful in character and flavour and produced a rich blended whisky. Johnnie Walker Blue is contained in an 200th anniversary decanter created by Baccarat. Only 4,000 bottles were made available. Suggested price: £2000. After Walker's death in 1857, his son Alexander continued this tradition of creating powerful blends – branded as Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky - and, in his own words, his philosophy was "to make our whisky of such quality that nothing in the market shall come before it". To mark the 200th anniversary of John Walker's birth, parent company Diaego has created Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which they hope will bring history to life. It was created by their master blender who worked to a recipe using Alexander Walker's own words and a few dusty textbooks to guide him. This celebratory blend achieves the taste and texture of whiskies first developed by the entrepreneur and his son several years earlier - and continues the careful blending of Scottish heritage and culture for all the world to enjoy. Johnnie Walker - at a glance John Walker established his firm in Kilmarnock in 1820 Alexander, John's son born in 1837, took control of company in 1857 and transformed company to international whisky business Alexander Walker Jr, John Walker's grandson, managed the company in first half of 20th century and turned Johnnie Walker (JW) into a global brand Alexander focused on developing skills of the master blender and his half-brother, George Pattison, focused on marketing and distribution In 1909 the Extra Special old Highland was renamed JW Black Label carrying a 12-year-old statement. The same year JW Red Label was created as well as the signature "striding man" icon and the "Johnnie Walker" name In 1933 JW was granted a Royal Warrant as Scotch whisky distiller for the monarchy – which is still in force today
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Feb 2
2006

Mallya hits out at UK whisky body for lobbying against Indian-made liquor
Mr Mallya said there was no reason for European manufacturers to oppose whisky made from ingredients other than cereals. THE UB Group Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, has hit out at UK-based Scotch & Whisky Association (SWA) for lobbying against import of Indian made liquor. "They do not want to promote Indian made liquor in their country but want a share of our market," Mr Mallya told Business Line. He said SWA refuses to acknowledge Indian whisky which is made from sugarcane molasses. In Europe, whisky is made from cereals. He said liquor manufacturers in India would continue to lobby for higher import duty. Mr Mallya said there was no reason for European manufacturers to oppose whisky made from ingredients other than cereals. In another development, the IMFL (Indian made foreign liquor) lobby, in its Budget wish-list has asked the Government to retain the current level of duty on imported bottled liquor to provide a level playing field for the domestic beverage alcohol industry. The statement pointed out that as per the import duty structure since 2003-04, the basic customs duty is 150 per cent, while additional customs duty (ACD) up to $10 is 150 per cent ad valorem; between $11 and $20, it is 100 per cent ad valorem; between $21 and $40, it is 50 per cent ad valorem or $53.2; and above $40, it is 25 per cent ad valorem or $53.2. The statement said the domestic industry can have a level playing field only if the ACDs are levied as per the current structure. Any reduction, particularly up to $10 and between $11 and $20 is likely to distort the price structure and will defeat the purpose that the Government has in view. With different levels of duties in different States, possibility of flow of liquor from the States which charge higher duties to States where duties are lower cannot be ruled out resulting in trafficking of imported liquor. It said while foreign manufacturers enjoy all the advantages of economies of scale, subsidised agriculture imports and strong brand presence in the global market for many years, Indian industry is still in early stages in respect of the global picture. The statement said in 2005-06 Budget, while the domestic industry had to contend with an educational cess of 2 per cent on all products where central excise duty was payable, the Government had exempted bottled liquor imports from such a levy.
Articles Courtesy of The Hindu Business Line
thehindubusinessline

Jan 30
2006

They've got a dram cheek..
HERITAGE watchdogs have attacked plans by a top city tourist attraction to create a striking new entrance on the Royal Mile. Bosses at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre on Castlehill want to alter the current stone archway and replace it with a modern glass cylinder entrance. They say the new opening to the centre, consistently within the top 15 most popular tourist attractions in the city in recent years, is essential for its future and would enhance the Royal Mile. The city council's planning chief has recommended that the changes get the green light, but heritage and architectural groups fear they will spoil the look of the Old Town Conservation Area. It is not the first time plans to change the B-listed building have sparked protest. Two years ago, plans to extend the centre's Amber restaurant were halted after a number of objections, including one from James Thomson, owner of the upmarket Witchery restaurant next door. The Cockburn Association, which fights to preserve Edinburgh's architectural heritage, says that the proposed glass entrance sticks too far out on to the pavement. Yvonne Holton, planning assistant at the association, said: "At present, this property and the neighbouring architecture represent a visually strong presence on this important section of Edinburgh's historic approach to the Castle. "This structure, especially when lit, would constitute an alien and disruptive element against a backdrop with such integrity." Ms Holton said there were also concerns about plans to put a long vertical advertising banner at the front of the centre. She added: "It further compromises the frontage of this B-listed property as well as cluttering the visual appeal of the existing streetscape within the city's Old Town Conservation Area and World Heritage Site." Bill Cowan, planning secretary for the Old Town Association, also objected to the proposal. He said: "The existing porch, although doubtless not ideal as an entrance to this business, is an integral part of the character of this building, whereas the proposed glazed entrance is generally unsympathetic to the style. There is no argument for removal of the existing feature." The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland objected to all aspects of the plan, except a bid to fit a wheelchair ramp. Michelle Carella, AHSS's specialist on Forth and Borders cases, said: "The society feels that the proposal is overdesigned and interrupts the streetscape of the Conservation Area. "Furthermore, the society is of the opinion that the blocking of an original window in this B-listed building, and the removal of the crow-stepped arch, is entirely unacceptable." The fate of the controversial application now lies with members of the city's planning committee, who will vote on it next week. In a report to the committee, planning director Alan Henderson recommended that the application be approved, saying that the replacement glass porch feature would make a positive contribution to the character of the conservation area. He added: "The proposals will have no adverse impact on the character or appearance of the conservation area." Alastair McIntosh, managing director of the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, said: "We've had to agree to a huge number of changes. This proposal is a massive compromise but we're happy to go with it. We've already had to make a lot of concessions to ensure that we meet the aspirations of the planning people. "The planning application is very important for the future of this business and we are hugely enthusiastic about it. The changes would enhance that end of the Royal Mile."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Jan 26
2006

Future's bright for Scotch
The Scotch whisky industry's export market is at a 10-year high, but an announcement next month in Delhi could revolutionise the industry's future. If India's extremely high tariff barriers are lowered in the Indian government's budget next month, potential gains to whisky companies in Scotland are enormous. The strides the industry has taken in Asia over the last few years are considerable, but given the potential market, Indian government acquiescence may take it to another level. The Scotch Whisky Association sent its international affairs team to Delhi last year to lobby the finance ministry to lower its sky-high basic customs duties on whisky and other spirits from the current 150%, which breaches World Trade Organisation rules, to 75%. Some whiskies still attract duties of up to 525%, which puts them out of reach of most Indians. However, with 200million Indians rapidly approaching Western-standard affluence, the potential for legitimate whisky sales is considerable. A major player in the Asian market is The Edrington Group, best known for The Famous Grouse, but which also owns and operates five malt whisky distilleries - Glenrothes, Macallan and Tamdhu on Speyside; Highland Park in Orkney, and Glenturret in Highland. The company's Paul Ross, who looks after sales and marketing for Asia, India, Africa and north-east and central Europe, is in no doubt as to the impact, and potential impact, of Asia on the market. He said: "Being quality-conscious is very important in Asia, and when they are entertaining, they want to be able to offer the best. A quality Scotch whisky is something that fits into this category, and instead of offering their guests wine or champagne, they will offer a good malt. "In the last 10 years, it has been one of the major markets, and in the last five, in particular, there has been a global growth in malt whisky, especially in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. We have had a fantastic year in Asia. "The next growth areas are India and Russia, so there is a lot going on globally." Edrington, which has an office in Shanghai, has noticed significant growth in China during the past year, but perhaps the most extraordinary display of the worth of whisky, and private Asian wealth, took place in South Korea when a bottle of 1926 Macallan sold for £36,000 at a retail shop. For Scotch whisky giant Edrington, sales are particularly high of The Famous Grouse, 12, 18 and 30-year-old vintage, but with low-tariff restrictions in place in many parts of Asia, the smaller independents are getting a slice of the cake, too. Shetland-based Blackwood is dipping its toe into China, among other Asian markets, in readiness for the day, in about four years' time, when its first whisky is barrelled, and it is looking very closely at the Indian market. And the Perthshire-based Tullibardine distillery sells only 10% of its single malt in Britain, exporting to nearly 40 markets, including the Far East. Such diverse destinations are being actively encouraged by the Scotch Whisky Association, which has launched an initiative to boost overseas sales and aims to surpass the £2billion-plus it expects in export sales for 2005. The SWA is revisiting Delhi this month for further talks before the budget and it is expected that EU trade officials will do the same. But even without the Indian market, the picture is healthy. More than £1,000million worth of Scotch whisky was shipped overseas in the first six months of 2005, the first time that barrier has been broken since 1997, and the overall value of Scotch whisky exports was up 3%, to £1,011million, compared with the same period in 2004. Global volumes also grew by 2%, to 429million bottles (up nine million). And there was good news for jobs in Scotland, with both bottled in Scotland malt (plus 11%, to £160million) and blended Scotch whiskies (plus 2%, to £787million) enjoying increases in the value and volume of shipments. Scotch and green tea - a popular way to drink Scotch in China - is proving a successful combination for distillers, with exports to China up 124% in value, to £22million. And demand in other key Asian markets was also particularly strong, with exports to South Korea (plus 26%, to £72million), Thailand (plus 47%, to £21million) and Taiwan (plus 25% to £44million) all rising. Exports to the US grew (plus 7%, to £152million) as a buoyant market and a cocktail renaissance helped to consolidate the US as Scotch whisky's most valuable export market. Elsewhere, emerging markets such as India (plus 19%, to £7million) and Russia (plus 80%, to £12million) continued to grow, while a recovery in exports to Venezuela (plus 80%, to £25million) helped boost the value of exports to South America (plus 19%, to £106million) as a whole. Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: "Distillers continue to invest with confidence in their Scotch whisky brands. A rise in exports in the first half of 2005 demonstrates their continuing success and the worldwide popularity of Scotch whisky."
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Jan 24
2006

Whisky Body Appoints New Head
Pernod Ricard's joint managing director Richard Burrows has been appointed chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association. He succeeds Ian Good, chairman of Edrington Group, who retires from the association after five years at its helm. Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, has been appointed as the whisky industry organisation's vice-chairman. Mr Burrows said: "I am delighted to become chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association and to have the opportunity to succeed Ian Good, a highly respected figure in our industry, at an exciting time for Scotch whisky distillers. "With companies of all sizes investing in the category and growing exports of both malts and blends worldwide, the SWA's priority must be to support its members in this work and to take a lead in securing fair access to our export markets, protecting Scotch whisky from unfair competition, and promoting responsible attitudes to alcohol. "Ian Good leaves a strong legacy to build on and with Paul Walsh as vice-chairman, a supportive membership and an excellent SWA team we are well equipped to meet the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead." Mr Burrows is due to stand down from his joint managing director post at Pernod Ricard - which owns whisky distiller Chivas Brothers - early this year. On his retirement from the SWA, Mr Good said: "It has been enormously enjoyable and a real privilege to represent the industry as SWA chairman. Reflecting the industry itself, the association is in good heart and I am grateful to its staff for all the work they do to promote and protect Scotch around the world.." The SWA's 56 member companies represent some 98% of the Scotch whisky industry.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Jan 24
2006

New SWA top team plans to target fake whisky
TWO spirits industry heavyweights took command of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) yesterday - as the trade body for what is one of Scotland's key industry warned the problem of "counterfeit" whisky-producers was mushrooming. The warning by SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt came as the body announced that Richard Burrows, director of French spirits giant Pernod Ricard, has been appointed as the new chairman, succeeding Ian Good - chairman of the Edrington Group - who is retiring after five years. Burrows moves up from the vice-chairman position, and Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, the world's biggest spirits company, becomes vice-chairman. Burrows said that Good had left "a strong legacy" and added that two priorities of the SWA were "to take a lead in securing fair access to our export markets and protecting Scotch whisky from unfair competition". The new chairman said Scotch whisky exports now totalled £2.3 billion a year, or 30 bottles a second - "the best performance since 1996-7". He said it was a marked turnaround from the early 1970s, when the Scotch whisky industry was declining 2 to 3 per cent a year. Burrows said the industry's "renaissance" was now clearly "not a flash in the pan. There is more sustainable long-term growth if it is looked after properly." However, he said: "This growth attracts people who want to trade off in terms of product substitution and counterfeiting." Burrows said the Chinese market offered the greatest growth opportunity for Scotch, but added: "Counterfeiting is a significant problem and is growing. The same would be true of Latin markets." Hewitt said other markets like India, France, Belgium and Australian were all suffering from the fake Scotch producers. He said: "In any one day we [the SWA] are prosecuting 50 cases [of Scotch whisky counterfeiting] around the world with people trying to pass products off as Scotch whisky." The chief executive cited the Indian authorities claiming Scotch whisky has 1 per cent - or about 55/60 million cases - of the Indian whisky market. But he added: "We know we only have 0.5 per cent of the market, which means there is as much counterfeit Scotch whisky out there as real Scotch." There are import tariffs on genuine Scotch whisky of up to 525 per cent. An SWA spokesman said later: "That makes Scotch whisky unaffordable and inaccessible to many Indian consumers. So they drift to the grey market." Hewitt said it was not unknown for producers of allegedly genuine Scotch whisky to give substantial discounts if the bottles and screw tops were returned after use. He said this was obviously to pass off fake product at a later stage again. Meanwhile, Walsh estimated that the true figure of counterfeit Scotch bottles in countries like India "could be as high as one in ten". Walsh said that, given the high sales of Diageo and Pernod in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, China, India, Thailand and South Korea, he and Burrows would be able to mix corporate and SWA work on their frequent travels overseas to promote the drink. Burrows and Walsh have known each other for many years, and six years ago Diageo and Pernod combined to mount a successful $8 billion takeover bid for Seagram's drinks business.
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Jan 23
2006

New drink's got whisky fans tippled pink
ITS sickly pink colour and strawberry flavour would be expected to have whisky connoisseurs turning their noses up in disgust. But the new fruit-flavoured whisky concoction has received rave reviews from traditional whisky experts. Now Strawberry Kiss whisky liqueur - made with a single malt - is to go on sale in upmarket stores such as Harvey Nichols, Jenners and the Whisky Shop, which has branches on Princes Street and Victoria Street. The drink has been concocted by a pair of Edinburgh businessmen, who spent eight months in a home kitchen perfecting the whisky drink to a secret recipe. Glenmorangie's Master Distiller and bosses from the Whisky Shop are among more than 40 experts who have tasted the whisky and proclaimed it excellent. Norman Brown and his colleague John Smith, who formed Leith Liqueur Company last year and made the drink in Mr Brown's laboratory kitchen, said the drink would only be sold at exclusive stores. "We decided we wanted something aimed at the younger, female drinker - we thought there was a real gap in the market," said Mr Brown. "We chose a 14-year-old Speyside single malt whisky after trying a lot of different ones and then worked at adding ingredients to make it into a liqueur. "I think we tried about 26 combinations before we found the perfect one. "We were trying to move away from the highly-sugared liqueur and create something more subtle and flavoured. Strawberry Kiss has a subtle spicy flavour." He added: "We are only going to sell it at top-line stores, we're not going down the supermarket route. We have got a few wholesalers interested as well, so we might consider selling it at some theme bars in Edinburgh in the future." Despite Mr Brown's fears that traditional, male whisky drinkers would shun his product, they have taken to the unusually-coloured drink with enthusiasm. He said: "Of all of the people who have tried it, only a handful haven't liked it, and surprisingly, they were all women." Dr Bill Lumsden, Master Distiller at Glenmorangie, said he had been impressed by the drink. "I quite liked it and normally I don't have a penchant for sweet things like that," he said. "This drink isn't too sweet or cloying as I expected it might be when I saw the colour. "It is definitely something I would drink from time to time." He added: "I don't think all traditional whisky drinkers would be put off by the fact it is pink - us whisky types have been known to wear pink sweaters or shirts from time to time. "I think you will get some very traditional drinkers who won't even try it, but I think a lot of people are more open-minded and will give it a go." A spokesman for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which has branches in Queen Street and in Leith, said: "We have done pink whisky before, so the colour is nothing new. But our whisky is still normal whisky, but is coloured by leaving it in a different casket for a couple of years rather than any kind of liqueur. "Strawberry liqueur whisky sounds disgusting to me but that is just a personal thing. However, if it's a Leith-based company, we are very happy to support them."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Jan 23
2006

Duty levels discriminating against Scotch whisky in India
The Scotch Whisky Association is this week visiting India as part of intensive discussions with government ministers there in the run-up to the Indian budget at the end of February. Peter Wilkinson, international affairs director of the SWA, flew to Delhi at the weekend to voice the industry's concerns about the "discriminatory" fiscal regime facing Scotch whisky. He will also present the SWA's proposals for consideration in the Indian budget. It follows a similar lobbying visit to the country in December. The SWA believes that access to the Indian market is "unfairly restricted" because of the high overall duty burden on imported spirits in India, which ranges from 212% to 525%. A spokesman for the SWA said: "India is a market of considerable potential for Scotch whisky producers. "However, Scotch whisky is unable to take advantage of the opportunities offered because access is unfairly restricted by a discriminatory fiscal regime for imported spirits, which is contrary to World Trade Organisation rules." The Indian government currently charges a basic customs duty of 150%, which is high by international standards, plus an additional customs duty of between 25% to 150%, which inflates the overall tariff burden up to 525%. The charges makes it much more expensive for Indian consumers to buy Scotch whisky. As a result, Scotch whisky currently accounts for less than 1% of a 100-million-case spirits market there. In contrast, Indian spirits have tariff-free access to European Union countries. The SWA wants the Indian government to reduce the basic customs duty to a more "reasonable" level, from 150% to 75%. It also wants a level tax playing field for imported and domestic spirits, through the elimination of the WTO non-compliant additional customs duty. The SWA spokesman said: "These measures would result in more affordable retail prices and more choice for Indian consumers, boost Indian government revenue by encouraging consumers to purchase through legitimate retail channels, and would begin to meet the industry's aspirations for fair market access to India in line with international trade rules." However, the SWA might have a tough job convincing some Indian politicians to back a tariff reduction. Last month, Dr Vijay Mallya, an Indian MP and head of the Kingfisher beer and airline empire, accused the SWA of being "extremely hostile" to companies that manufacture whisky from source ingredients other than cereals, such as Indian whisky which is distilled from sugar cane molasses. He said: "The SWA refuses to acknowledge that, and will not let Indian whisky into Europe. As long as that situation continues, we will lobby in India to keep the import duty high." In addition, European Commission officials will be visiting India at the end of January for formal discussions about the import regime for EU spirits and wines. The commission launched an investigation into the Indian system in September 2005 under the EU trade barrier regulation procedure. "We strongly support the commission's investigation and hope it will produce an agreement with India which will help to resolve the market access difficulties our members face," said the SWA. The Scotch Whisky Association is this week visiting India as part of intensive discussions with government ministers there in the run-up to the Indian budget at the end of February. Peter Wilkinson, international affairs director of the SWA, flew to Delhi at the weekend to voice the industry's concerns about the "discriminatory" fiscal regime facing Scotch whisky. He will also present the SWA's proposals for consideration in the Indian budget. It follows a similar lobbying visit to the country in December.
Articles Courtesy of The Herald & Times
theherald.co.uk

Jan 22
2006

Introducing…
WHEN Susan Morrison was a languages student at Edinburgh University, she applied for a part-time job as a tour guide at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, on the Royal Mile, believing it to be a good opportunity to try out her Russian and German on visiting tourists. Little did she think that she would still be there 18 years later, as its first female executive director and general manager. "I didn't even like whisky when I started," she remembers. "Like most students, I drank vodka and beer. But then I bought some miniatures and tried them at home. I'd see the master blenders come in and be inspired, and it wasn't long before I was passionate about whisky." Unfazed by what is still a male-dominated world, Morrison was steadily promoted and now oversees all the activities at the centre, including the tour, the shop,the bar, the acclaimed Amber restaurant and various corporate events. She has also launched the Scotch whisky training school, a one-day course aimed at the hospitality trade. "I got tired of waiters and barmen not knowing what they were talking about when it came to whisky. It's very satisfying to see people change their perceptions of it as a result." Her efforts were recognised in 2000, when she was invited to join the Keepers of the Quaich, a prestigious society for men (and a few women) who have shown commitment to the industry. Given that she has tasted hundreds of different malts, can she recommend a favourite for Burns Night? "Whether you go for something smoky and peaty or older and more heavily sherried is like going into a bar and choosing a wine - it really depends on your mood."
Articles Courtesy of The Scotsman
scotsman.com

Jan 21
2006

Dispensing Drams in Japan and Going on Safari Adventure in Africa
Mark Watt has the sort of job others envy ... especially whisky fans. For Mark, 25, is a sales executive for Duncan Taylor, an independent Scottish whisky bottler with one of the largest privately-held collections of rare Scotch whisky casks. The company distributes whisky all over the world from its shop and bottling plant in Huntly. Part of Mark's job is travelling the world hosting tasting sessions. You could say it's a job tailor-made for him .... he was born within the grounds of the Macallan distillery and now lives in a house at Inchgower Distillery near Buckie. He's already visited Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain and Sweden and hopes to visit Russia and America soon. With expert knowledge of hundreds of whiskies at his fingertips, he's very often asked to name his favourite dram. He says it's impossible to say. Each has a different flavour, and Mark's current favourite depends on his mood at the time. Favourite place in the world Osaka in Japan. In Japan, running a bar is seen as a profession to be proud of, a real status symbol. I've been lucky enough to be invited there for two weeks each year to run a whisky bar called The Harbour Inn. Everyone is helpful, kind and friendly and although it's a built-up city, it is very clean. While I'm there I am always treated like a celebrity. Favourite hotel: It's the Craigellachie Hotel in Craigellachie on Speyside. It stocks more than 700 single malts in the bar. It's a perfect place to sit back and relax with a dram and watch the world go by. The hotel has been beautifully refurbished but retains all the original charm of a lovely Scottish country house. The food is also exceptional. Favourite place: in Scotland Apart from the sample room at Duncan Taylor I would say it would be the Island of Noss on Shetland. I used to have many great times there as a kid. Favourite restaurant in Scotland: The Mussell Inn, in Edinburgh's Rose Street. I discovered it while I was a student at Napier University, Edinburgh. It is very earthy and informal and the main options are mussels and oysters. It has a busy, bustling atmosphere and very reasonable prices. My favourite dish is naturally, mussels. Holiday companion: I would take the singer Dido. She's good to look at and I imagine she would be a laugh too. If she couldn't make it I'd as comedian Peter Kay as I think he's hilarious. I have lots of his DVDs and they always make me laugh, no matter how many times I watch them. Five things I'd take on a paradise island: 1) A cask of well aged malt whisky. 2) A radio to listen to the football. 3) My mobile phone (on silent) so I could keep in touch with people. 4) A pack of playing cards. 5) The Harry Potter series of books, as I might finally read them and see what the hype is all about. Before I die I'd like to visit: ... I would like to go on safari in Kenya. When my late father was a soldier he was posted to Kenya and always spoke about it fondly. I'd like to re-trace his footsteps. I'm especially keen to see the capital, Nairobi.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Jan 20
2006

Whisky girl's got the nose for a unique job
THE long-lost art of the Welsh master distiller is set to be revived by a young chemistry graduate. Gillian Howell, 25, who works at the Penderyn Whisky distillery in South Wales, home of Welsh Whisky, is on the way to becoming the nation's first master distiller for more than a century, as well as one of the only women in the business. Gillian, originally from Fishguard and now living in Cardiff, explained how she got into a job that many would rank alongside chocolate taster and bed tester as their dream occupations. "After finishing university and coming back from travelling around the world, I saw a job advertised for a trainee distiller and thought it sounded quite hilarious," she said. "I had whisky at the interview - they forced me to try it! - and I joined the company on a 10-week contract." Two years later and Miss Howell is involved in most aspects of the whisky-making process. Her most important duties, though, involve checking the casks each month to check if the whisky is ready. Under the tutelage of Scottish whisky expert Dr Jim Swan, she does this by a combination of tasting and sniffing - hence the job's alternative title of "nose". The commercial whisky-making tradition in Wales is believed to go back at least 300 years, although archeologists have found small stills dating back to the 4th century. However, when Ffrongoch distillery, Bala, was closed down by the Temperance movement in 1899, it spelt the end of the nation's commercial whisky-making industry - and with it, the role of master distiller in Wales. That all changed on March 1, 2004, with the launch of Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky, made near Hirwaun. Miss Howell said her job never failed to provoke a reaction when it cropped up in conversation. "People love it," she added, "I instantly make friends. The first question they ask is, 'Do you have any samples?' I'm often referred to as 'the whisky girl'."
Articles Courtesy of The IC Wales
icwales.co.uk

Jan 14
2006

Malt Barley Growers Need Spirits Lifted
Maltsers and distillers were given a clear warning yesterday that Scotland's arable farmers may be set to quit unless ex-farm prices improve. The annual Scottish agricultural survey produced by Professor Donald MacRae, the Lloyds TSB Scotland finance and strategy director, threw up several interesting results, but confirmed widespread gloom with business optimism at a three-year low. It also showed that overall agricultural prosperity in the last year was down, although expectations had lifted among dairy farmers even with recent falls in ex-farm milk prices. While investment was still being made on farms the survey showed that expenditure on new tractors would continue recent declines, which will again put pressure on dealers. More is, however, expected to be spent on improving plant and equipment, buildings and livestock. There was also a clear demand from the 372 farmers who responded for a Competition Commission inquiry into supermarket pricing, and for an independent regulator to be set up to monitor relationships between primary producers and the end users of their products in much the same way as Britain's energy and communications industries are governed. But Prof MacRae expressed concerns for arable operations as producers signalled clear intentions to quit if malting barley prices fall below £77 per tonne that they say they need to keep them growing the grain needed for beer and whisky production. He added: "Farmers are awfully near the quitting point where they will reduce their production. Arable farmers are at the point of saying we are not growing malting barley." There was a drop in the number of farm businesses recording profits last year with 77% reporting a surplus. That was 5% down on the corresponding figure for 2005, but ahead of the 70% and 72% reported in 2003 and 2004 respectively. The biggest falls in profits were on arable farms where 78% reported a surplus, against 87% a year ago. On dairy farms, 90% were profitable, while the number of livestock units reporting profits increased 4% to 78%. Three-quarters of mixed units recorded surpluses, while the corresponding figure for hill farms was 68%. Pre-tax profits were recorded on 57% of farms after farmers withdrew their own income. That was down 5% on a year ago, but still well ahead of the figures for the preceding four years. The biggest change was in dairy farms where 74% - up 14% - said pre-tax profits were up. Prof MacRae said dairying was one of the bright spots even with its well-documented problems of recent years. It had the highest number of farmers (64%) expecting to record a profit in the coming year, against 54% for all agricultural regimes. Dairying was also the only sector where production was expected to increase. A total of 36% of those responding expected to increase herd size; a figure that more than makes up for the 22% who are expected to quit over the next five years. Dairying had the highest increase in succession rates. While 17% of arable farmers are expected to increase production, 22% said they would cut it and a further 3% signalled their exit from the sector. Figures for the beef sector were variable with 26% expecting to increase their herd, 24% cutting cattle numbers and 8% leaving. Within beef production the expectation was for a 4.1% cut in beef cow numbers, but a 6% increase in the numbers of finishers. That anticipated rise, however, raises questions about where finishers will source the calves they need if the number of suckler breeders falls. The sheep flock is expected to show a 2% decline, but within that a quarter of producers say they will increase sheep numbers, 22% cut them and 5% get out. Prof MacRae said the recent Cap changes would bring structural change as 30% of farmers expected to rent in more land than before. Most of that will come from those who may take advantage of the reforms to remain on their farms but let out their existing operations. There was little support for protests, although 46% of those responding supported moves to take the fight for improved ex-farm milk prices to the doors of the retailers.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Jan 14
2006

Long shot: Drambuie puts faith in young pretender
BONNIE Prince Charlie might want his recipe back. The whisky liqueur he bequeathed to his Highland saviours more than 250 years ago is to be turned into a fashionable long drink for trendy bar-goers. Drambuie was once the after-dinner drink of choice for discerning diners, based on a secret formula handed down through generations of the MacKinnon family. But after several years of heavy losses, the Drambuie company is now trying to reinvent the iconic Scottish drink - a blend of whisky, heather honey and herbs concocted by the prince's apothecary - as a refreshing long cocktail served with soda and a twist of lime. The new combination was "road tested" in nightclubs in New York and Los Angeles last autumn when 3,000 young Americans were invited to sample the new combination. The tasting will continue in more than 50 upmarket British bars this spring - in cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and London - as part of a £1.2m promotional campaign. This will be accompanied by adverts in the printed media with the theme: 'Drambuie has been left on the shelf for years; now it has a new partner.' The inaugural Drambuie Pursuit - in which teams compete in a gruelling athletic challenge, involving hill-running and white-water rafting, tracing the route the prince took to Skye after defeat at Culloden in 1746 - will also be held in April. Phil Parnell, the company's new chief executive, admitted that despite its history, Drambuie was becoming "irrelevant" to a new generation of drinkers. "Drambuie was the drink that the over-50s would pull out at the end of a dinner party, but that market is dropping away. They may love it, but trying to cling on to a falling market was only heading towards the graveyard," he said. "People in their mid-20s to mid-30s hardly know it at all, so if we are going to give Drambuie a future then we have to make them aware of it. "We want it to be the drink they choose when they go out on a Friday night. My guess is that if the prince was around now he would heartily approve because it means that in every way his spirit lives on." Traditionalists may not have liked it, but as part of the new campaign, bartenders across the globe were asked to experiment with Drambuie and a mixer to turn it from a short into a long drink. The verdict was that it was best served with soda and a dash of fresh lime juice. Stirring is very important as the heavy spirit tends otherwise to sit at the bottom of the glass. "Soda adds the refreshment and the lime adds the citrus twist to counterbalance the honey sweetness," Parnell said. "We believe that if you like gin and tonic or vodka and tonic you will like this." Company legend has it that the recipe for the drink was handed personally to Captain John MacKinnon by Prince Charlie in return for helping him escape from Scotland following the battle in which Jacobite forces were defeated by a government army. For 260 years, it has remained a jealously guarded secret and the mystique has helped make Drambuie a household name. The MacKinnon family grew wealthy on the proceeds of a thriving company, which also owns a multi- million-pound Scottish art collection - to be auctioned this month - and a valuable collection of original Jacobean artefacts. Drambuie's popularity soared in the 1950s, particularly in the US, when 'Rat Pack' actors such as Frank Sinatra began drinking Rusty Nail, a combination of Scotch, Drambuie and lemon, and its reputation as an after-dinner liqueur survived the 1970s. In its heyday it was selling 700,000 cases a year, but that figure has now halved amid declining sales. The company recorded a series of multi-million-pound losses - £3m in 2003 - and the family has now relinquished management control of Drambuie while retaining complete ownership. Under Parnell, who has reduced staffing by half and sold off assets such as the old Edinburgh headquarters, the company returned a modest £270,000 profit last year. Drinks industry analysts agreed that Drambuie had to take action to help save the famous brand, but disagreed on the tactics. Alan Gray, of brokers Charles Stanley Sutherlands, said it was a well-recognised brand that had been in decline for many years. "There is still a niche for a traditional liqueur, but the new strategy makes a lot of sense. If they wanted to attract a younger generation then they had to come up with something new." But a sour note was sounded by a senior industry executive who said he would prefer Drambuie to stick to its traditional strengths. "Drambuie is a digestif that aids digestion in an after-dinner setting," said the executive, who declined to be named. "In my opinion it does not mix well and trying to turn it into a long drink is too far away from the nature of the beast."
Articles Courtesy of Scotland on Sunday.com
scotlandonsunday

Jan 13
2006

Nip in Centre for Whisky Treat
Whisky lovers are being given a new insight into the making of the amber nectar with the opening of a North-east visitors' centre. The £200,000 centre at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum, is now open. Bosses hope the development will boost local tourism and trade. Visitors from as far as the United States and Japan are expected to head to the centre at the 208-year-old business. Company spokeswoman Jane Cattanach said: "The new facility will encourage visitors to walk around Oldmeldrum and there is bound to be a significant spin-off to local shops and services."
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
pressandjournal

Jan 11
2006

Pub whisky taste nights are a golden opportunity
TIPPLERS are being invited to nip around the venues hosting Glasgow's second Festival of Whisky later this month. The festival, from January 23 to 28, will this year include four 'speed tasting' events in bars throughout the city. The idea is to introduce whiskies to people who have never thought of trying them before. Short profiles of the whiskies will be given by experts to help match people to their perfect whisky 'partner'. Punters will have have just five minutes to make up their minds about their favourites. 'Speed dating tasting' events will be held between 5.30pm and 7pm at Repertoire on January 23; Bastille Taverne on January 24; Moskito on January 25 and The Butterfly and Pig on January 26. A similar event will be held at Oran Mor in the west end between 3pm and 5pm on January 28.
Articles Courtesy of The Evening Times.co.uk
eveningtimes

Jan 10
2006

Now it's Norfolk whisky a go-go
A Norfolk father and son were able to raise a glass in celebration last night after seeing their plans for a whisky distillery given the go-ahead. Their proposals were approved by planners against the odds - Breckland Council officers had initially recommended the application be turned down. But councillors decided a whisky distillery, which will be only the second in England, would become a valuable tourist attraction. The £1m-plus distillery at Roudham, near Thetford, will use locally produced barley and draw water from the Breckland aquifer. Although it will be at least four years before the whisky is ready for tasting, building work will begin within weeks and the distillery could be open by September. Andrew Nelstop, who along with his father James is behind the plans, said: “This is excellent news, we have put so much thought into this and to see that councillors share our enthusiasm is great. Now we just want to get on with building it.” The site was chosen partly because it is near a source of pure water and partly because of the ease with which tourists can reach it. The only other whisky producer in England recently started up in Cornwall. The Norfolk development will be the first outside the Celtic fringes. No name has yet been chosen for the whisky, but the firm will be called the Norfolk Whisky Company. It is expected it will attract about 150 visitors a day, representing the main source of income until the whisky ages and is ready for sale. But the financial sense of the project conceals the fact that this will be a labour of love. Mr Nelstrop Jnr earlier told the EDP: “Anybody can make vodka or gin. You open a distillery and three hours later you have got vodka in a bottle. Whisky is more of an art form. It is not something you can do in five minutes.” Councillors at Breckland's develop-ment control committee meeting voted unanimously in favour of the scheme and spoke out in its support. Roy Rudling said: “I have been involved in recreation and tourism and believe this is something we definitely want in our area. This looks like it will be a lovely building and will bring in tourists who will, in turn, spend money in nearby towns.” And, referring to the fact that the application had originally been recommended for refusal, Nigel Wilkin added: “I can't believe there was anything negative to say about this application. This is a breath of fresh air and I applaud it.”
Articles Courtesy of edp24.co.uk
edp24.co.uk

Jan 07
2006

Live Aid Whisky
Two special decanters that contain Speyside malts are being sold to make money for Make Poverty History. The whisky was created for the 20th anniversary of Live Aid and all the whisky used is at least 20 years old. The malt whisky was collected from a variety of distilleries by a team from Whisky magazine during a charity walk for Make Poverty History. The whisky was blended by Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay and there was only enough whisky for two bottles. The two decanters were designed by Glencairn Glass and one will be auctioned off at the Whisky Magazine whisky show in New York in April. Whisky Magazine is accepting bids for the other decanter.
Articles Courtesy of luxist.com
luxist.com

Jan 02
2006

Campari takes whisky brands off Pernod Ricard
Italian drinks group Campari has been rubbing its hands together after Pernod Ricard agreed to sell it the world’s number two single malt whisky brand Glen Grant. The move comes as part of Pernod Ricard's obligation to sell off certain drinks brands, under orders from the European Commission, after buying up UK drinks group Allied Domecq. The deal marks Campari's first move into what it called the “key Scotch Whisky segment” and will also give the Italian firm control of the Glen Grant distillery in Rothes, Scotland. Campari paid €115m for Glen Grant and around €15m for Old Smuggler and Braemer brands combined. Sales for the three brands are thought to be worth around €40m. Glen Grant, established in 1840, is the leading single malt whisky in Italy and sells 350,000 nine-litre cases internationally every year. Campari chief executive Enzo Visone said Scotch whisky was “one of the most important spirits categories in the world, a segment with great potential internationally as well as in the domestic market”. The group said Old Smuggler had a good position in the US, Argentina and Eastern Europe, while Braemer was big in Eastern Europe too, and also Thailand. Recent results published by the Scotch Whisky Association also suggest now is a good time to get in to the segment. The trade body said a rise in exports to China, mainly due to Chinese people drinking a combo of whisky and green tea, had helped Scotch whisky exports pass the £1bn barrier in the first half of 2005. It is the first time Scotch Whisky exports have topped £1bn since 1997 and, similar to beer, growth in emerging markets managed to offset problems in Western Europe. Total exports were up three per cent in value and two per cent in volume compared to the first half of 2004, yet serious declines were seen in Germany and Spain – down 32 and 16 per cent in value respectively.
Articles Courtesy of beveragedaily.com
beveragedaily

Jan 01
2006

Pernod in running to buy back Glen Grant whisky
PERNOD Ricard is on a shortlist of bidders interested in Glen Grant, the world's third-largest malt whisky brand, which it was forced to put up for sale in the summer. Formal bids for the company are due early this year, with the winner of the £75m auction expected to be announced by the end of March. Although Scottish-based whisky firms Wm Grant & Sons and Whyte & Mackay have distanced themselves from the deal, it is understood that both are still involved in the process. Two Portuguese brandies and two largely unknown blended whisky brands are also included in the package. One source who is familiar with the situation said: "There has been a lot of interest from a wide variety of people, but we hope to have it sorted out by the end of the first quarter. "In any bid process like this, there are people who publicly rule themselves out simply to try to talk down the price. This one is no different." European competition authorities forced Pernod to sell Glen Grant and the other spirits included in the deal as a condition to the French firm's £8bn takeover of Allied Domecq last year. It is understood that the brands are being sold as a package, focused around Glen Grant. But industry sources believe that some potential bidders have formed consortiums that would see the brands split up. There have been at least 10 expressions of interest in the portfolio, with all the world's major spirits groups believed to have run the rule over the portfolio. Although Glen Grant is tiny in the UK market, it is one of the biggest whiskies in Italy, where it is sold mostly as a five-year-old malt pitched at younger drinkers. Italian drinks group Campari has also been linked to Glen Grant, although its chief executive Enzo Visone has also attempted to play down its interest.
Articles Courtesy of The Press and Journal
scotsman.com

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