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December 2008 Scotch Whisky News

29 Dec
2008

Money poured into whisky branding

Work on a £250,000 development of the GlenDronach malt whisky brand is getting under way.

The Aberdeenshire distillery was bought earlier this year from Chivas Brothers by the Larbert-based BenRiach Distillery Company.

BenRiach managing director Billy Walker said the investment was the beginning of a strategy to re-package and re-launch GlenDronach worldwide.

A major part of the investment is the development of a new visitor centre.

Regional sales director James Cowan said: "GlenDronach is a bit of a sleeping giant.

"But we have great plans for it in our markets in the UK, Germany, USA, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China, amongst others.

"We're looking forward to breathing new life into it and giving it the attention and commitment it deserves."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

24 Dec
2008

Plans for Shetland whisky distillery not dead, as new firm emerges

Former Blackwood chief executive says Catfirth set to take proposals forward

Blackwood Distillers, the company behind plans for Shetland’s first whisky distillery, has re-emerged under a new name.

The venture continues as standalone business Catfirth after the sale of Blackwood Distillers’ white spirit subsidiary.

Details about the new firm were revealed yesterday by Caroline Whitfield, former chief executive of Blackwood Distillers who resigned from the post in July.

Ms Whitfield, who now lives at Nairn, told the Press and Journal: “A new company called Catfirth was set up as a shell company in June, ready for investment to take forward the whisky plan after the Shetland Spirit Company was sold to Blavod in May.

“This was what shareholders wanted.

“All previous shareholders now have shares in Catfirth, including me as a minority shareholder, although I am not a director of the new company.”

Shetland Spirit Company, which sold gin, vodka and vodka-based liqueurs, went into administration in May before its assets were sold to drink company Blavod.

The Catfirth company – named after the site at Nesting, 10 miles north of Lerwick, where the firm has plans to locate its distillery – had not put a date on construction of the distillery, Ms Whitfield said.

She said: “I can’t speak on behalf of other shareholders and I don’t want to say another date and see it flip again.

“I can say that a number of parties could be putting funds in and Catfirth is also looking at lower-cost options going forward.”

Blackwood Distillers, which first came on the scene in 2002, saw former executive chairman Tony Mair quit in June and international sales director Tara Benson leave in February, both to pursue other business interests.

The company had been through a tough time since launching in autumn 2002.

It originally said it wanted to have its £5million whisky distillery open by the end of 2004, but plans have suffered from continual planning and other delays, including in gaining the funding required.

Ms Whitfield said yesterday, however, that proposals for Scotland’s most northerly distillery were not dead.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

22 Dec
2008

William Grant releases Glenfiddich malt for Dubai Duty Free

The Glenfiddich Private Vintage 1983 was released to coincide with Dubai Duty Free's 25th anniversary

William Grant & Sons has produced an exclusive Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky Private Vintage to celebrate Dubai Duty Free’s (DDF’s) 25th anniversary.

The Glenfiddich Private Vintage 1983, which was bottled exclusively for the travel-retailer and went on sale in the week leading up to the anniversary, is matured for more than 25 years in a European oak sherry cask.

William Grant & Sons’ business development manager Michel Aboujawdeh said: “We are delighted to offer our colleagues at DDF this exclusive Glenfiddich Private Vintage to mark 25 years of successful travel retailing and are confident that passengers travelling through Dubai airport will enjoy this rather special vintage.”

DDF managing director Colm McLoughlin said: “This is a very special anniversary for the operation and I am delighted that William Grant & Sons have produced this very special 1983 vintage to mark our 25th anniversary. I would like to thank all involved and am sure that our customers will appreciate this unique opportunity to buy this one of a kind vintage.”

Article Courtesy of DFNI

 

DFNI

19 Dec
2008

Distillery toasts first cask of new spirit in 22 years

Glenglassaugh staff celebrate latest milestone following plant’s reopening last month

The first cask of new spirit produced at a north-east distillery in 22 years has been filled.

Staff at Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, are celebrating the milestone less than a month after the plant was officially reopened. Managing director Stuart Nickerson said: “Glenglassaugh is one of Scotland’s best malt whiskies and we are proud we have helped resurrect the distillery. Today we are filling casks that we will nurture for many years before they are ready to be appreciated by our discerning consumers.”

The distillery, which was bought earlier this year by Dutch investment group Scaent, was opened last month by First Minister, Alex Salmond.

It was mothballed in 1986 during a period of retrenchment in the whisky industry, but Scaent have invested about £1million to bring the distillery back into operation.

It is hoped up to 20 new jobs will be created at the plant, along with a visitor centre.

At the opening ceremony, Mr Salmond claimed the distillery could be “an engine for the local economy”.

The first samples of the new spirit produced indicate it is of excellent quality and should mature to the high standard expected from Glenglassaugh.

Casks selected for the first filling are a mixture of butts and hogsheads and it will be some years before the whisky is mature enough to bottle.

While customers wait, the distillery plans to release limited quantities of 21-year-old, 30-year-old and 40-year-old whisky to the market.

Mr Nickerson said: “It has been a journey over the past year and to end 2008 on such a high is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team here.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

18 Dec
2008

Stars of the Whisky World to Visit New Zealand

New Zealanders will get a unique opportunity to meet seven of the world’s most knowledgeable whisky experts next year.

Representatives from seven of Scotland’s most prestigious whisky distilleries and independent bottlers are flying to New Zealand in late February for the second Dram Fest whisk(e)y festival. Between them they have over 200 years of experience in the industry.

“We think attendees will be delighted with the lineup at Dram Fest this year,” says organiser Michael Fraser Milne. “The stories and knowledge our experts will share comes from a wealth of history covering the spectrum of whisky-making. Ian McWilliam will be here from Glenfarclas, a distillery which has been operating since 1836 through six generations of family ownership. At the other end we have Anthony Wills from Kilchoman, the newest distillery in Scotland, and whose whisky will be tasted for the first time at Dram Fest 09.”

The festival is organised by Fraser Milne, owner of local whisky shop ‘Whisky Galore’. Stocking over 500 whiskies, the store opened in 2003 and is seriously dedicated to all aspects of the whisky public’s needs.

Distilleries and distributors represented at the festival will be Glenfarclas (Ian McWilliam) and Benriach (Billy Walker) from Speyside; Glengoyne (Jonathan Scott), Tullibardine (Michael Beamish) and Glenmorangie (Dr Bill Lumsden) from the Highlands; and Kilchoman (Anthony Wills) from Islay.

They are joined by some of the most-respected independent bottling companies in Scotland - Stewart Laing from Douglas Laing & Co.Ltd., Alex Bruce from Adelphi and Derek Hancock from Gordon and McPhail.

“Dram Fest is a very friendly event, and our stars will be very accessible to attendees,” says Fraser Milne. “Most will have the chance to chat to our experts at some stage during the festival.”

The festival will include tastings and appreciation classes, a whisky cocktail demonstration, a nosing/tasting competition and an evening ‘Whisky Do’.

Article Courtesy of Scoop NZ

 

Scoop NZ

17 Dec
2008

The Black Grouse makes it's TV debut

Scotland’s rarest show off joins its famous cousin in Christmas campaign

This Christmas, for the first time in 12 years one of the UK’s most recognisable brands, The Famous Grouse, has a new playmate – The Black Grouse. The Black Grouse will cut a dashing figure when he arrives on our screens, boasting a more complex personality than his cousin to match the new whisky’s darker character. The first ad is due to air on Channel 4 at 9pm during Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live.

In keeping with the new whisky, The Black Grouse, the new advert brings to life a smooth yet smoky version of The Famous Grouse. Entitled ‘Stormy Night’, the advert still retains the humorous style in which The Famous Grouse ads have become known for.

The Black Grouse exemplifies a slightly cooler version of the Red Grouse who we are familiar with. He is masculine in a gallant sense, an independent maverick with a slightly roguish air.

According to Alan Foster, the creative director at AMV BBDO, who created the advert: “The Black Grouse adds a touch of mystery and is a natural show-off who loves to make an entrance in his signature black and white world. So he is a bit of a card. It goes with the territory – but his behaviour isn’t territorial. He prefers to appear unorthodox and unpredictable, to keep us guessing.”

Launched in the UK in May 2008, The Black Grouse whisky is a unique blend of The Famous Grouse with added Islay malts to create a rich, smoky, peaty taste with a long, smooth finish.

Gerry O’Donnell, director of The Famous Grouse, said: “The Black Grouse whisky has proved to be a huge success since its launch into the UK earlier this year hence we felt it was the perfect time to introduce the new character via a television commercial.

“Every year we are inundated by emails and letters from consumers asking when the adverts will be aired and according to our consumers, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without The Famous Grouse adverts. We hope they will enjoy our new, darker character just as much as we do!”

The new adverts are also part of wider campaign which The Famous Grouse has entered into with the RSPB to help save the black grouse from extinction. By donating 50p from every bottle sold being invested into urgently required conservation work on 85,000 hectares of land across Scotland, England and Wales.

The iconic Famous Grouse will also be returning to the screen this Christmas. The campaign will comprise of the brand’s three famous executions staring the smooth and charming Grouse character. The entertaining 20-second adverts are entitled A-List, Beautifully Balanced and Perfectly Composed.

The Black Grouse is now in pubs, clubs and bars throughout the country and is available exclusively at Sainsbury’s (priced at £15.49) before going on general release in January.

The new advert will be aired throughout December on terrestrial and satellite channels and is also be available to view online at: www.black-grouse.com

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

16 Dec
2008

The World’s Most Peated Whisky

Bruichladdich distillery announce the release of the world’s the most heavily peated whisky ever. One of four small-scale eclectic bottlings for the 2008/2009 season.

The inaugural bottling of Octomore, distilled at Bruichladdich from barley peated to 131 ppm, is three times more peaty than any other whisky ever produced.

PC7, the third bottling of the cult Islay whisky distilled from barley at 40 ppm, features six different tin designs of members of the Bruichladdich ‘family’ responsible for the whisky.

DNA is a ‘final hurrah’ bottling of near empty casks from the sixties and early seventies ACE’d in exceptional quality casks from Ch. Le Pin, arguably the world’s rarest wine.

X4 is a small, quirky bottling of 4 times distilled Islay spirit inspired by a 1695 tasting note. So pure is the new spirit Top Gear’s James May filmed a racing car running on it as ‘proof’.

“In Viking times they called it perilous whisky”, says MD Mark Reynier, “because of it’s exceptionally high distillation strength. At bottling we reduced ours to a safer 50%.

“It has way too much flavour to be a mere vodka substitute. It’s the original usquebaugh, the ‘water of life’ of our Hebridean forefathers. They didn’t waste time aging it, nor did we.”

Article Courtesy of Drinks Media Wire

 

Drinks Media Wire

14 Dec
2008

Rush to slake world's thirst for whisky

As demand for a wee dram soars, an eco-friendly distillery is being built to improve production

Scotland's distillers are in hot water as they struggle to satisfy the world's growing demand for whisky. The global thirst for 'a wee dram' rose to an all-time high last year, with exports reaching £2.8bn, earning Britain £90 a second. And as the pound's slump continues, those heady numbers could rise further, say analysts.

But meeting this extraordinary demand has posed major problems and forced manufacturers to launch an urgent construction programme that will see the opening of Scotland's first major new distillery for more than 30 years.

Built on a vast industrial scale, the plant at Roseisle on Speyside will be one of the country's largest distilleries. More than 120 metres long and three storeys high, with 14 huge six-metre high copper stills, it will have a combined output of 10 million litres of whisky a year.

At the same time the distillery - financed by drinks conglomerate Diageo - has been built to stringent ecological standards, emitting only a fraction of the carbon dioxide produced by standard distilleries. Roseisle will be Scotland's first green distillery.

'Apart from emitting only 15 per cent of the carbon dioxide of a standard distillery of the same size, we have found a way to recycle all the water that passes through the Roseisle site,' the distillery's designer, Mike Jappy, said last week. 'The important point is that this technology could one day be used at distilleries around Scotland.'

The idea of making whisky in an ecologically friendly way could be crucial if the industry is to expand to meet the demand for Scotch. In 2007 overseas sales rose by 8 per cent on the previous year, accounting for 25 per cent of all Britain's food and drink exports. The first nine months of this year saw a further 10 per cent increase.

'We will have to see how that plays out over the next year, but the situation is very encouraging,' added a spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association. 'Consumers round the world may be saying no to a new house and no to a new car, but they are continuing to say yes to bottles of whisky. There may some fluctuations in the near future, but the long-term expectation is growth.'

Whisky has become especially popular in emerging nations such as Brazil, China and India, where it represents prestige and social status. However, the sudden rise in global demand caught distillers by surprise and triggered investments of more than £500m to boost production. 'Everyone has ramped up,' said Brian Higgs, Diageo's malt distilling director.

Construction of Roseisle alone will cost £40m. 'We got a call one day from the board of Diageo and were told to build a new, very big, carbon-friendly distillery,' added Higgs. 'After 30 years of industry retrenchment, it was fantastic to get an order like that.'

Distilleries usually burn oil to distil fermented brews of malted barley and water. Roseisle will also burn the dried remains of its basic barley ingredient to generate that heat, halving its fuel bill.

In addition, liquids left over from distilling - known as top ale - will be piped into anaerobic fermenters to generate methane. This, in turn, will be burned to provide further heat. The distillery will be linked with two existing local maltings, where its waste water will be used to dampen and germinate the barley that is eventually used as its basic ingredient. This will mean there will be no overall increase in water consumption when the new distillery comes on line.

As for the distillery's output, that will be stored in wooden casks for a minimum of three years - more likely for at least five to six years - before it is ready to be mixed with grain whisky to make blended whisky.

Brands will include Johnnie Walker, the world's biggest-selling Scotch, sales of which broke the £1bn mark last year.

Article Courtesy of The Guardian

 

The Guardian

12 Dec
2008

Moray haulage firm’s drivers agree pay deal

84% vote in favour of their new wage package Following ballot

The threat of further industrial action has been lifted at a Moray haulage company after drivers agreed to wage terms they were offered previously.

Drivers from McPherson of Aberlour were balloted this week and voted 84% in favour of the new wage package. The deal will see their wages increase by 4.25%.

Last month, about 25 drivers picketed the McPherson depot for a day and there were talks of further industrial action.

The company says the deal has ended the possibility of another strike in the near future.

Julie Benson, human resources manager for McPherson, said: “The company are pleased to announce that the impending industrial action has been cancelled following an acceptance of a three-year inflation-proof pay deal.

“Unite initially rejected the proposal but, following feedback and requests from the members, the union were compelled to give their drivers the opportunity to agree to the offer.”

McPherson has almost 100 drivers at Aberlour, and more than 400 vehicles operating across Scotland.

The firm specialises in distributing whisky and other spirits.

A spokesman for the whisky industry said the one-day strike had not affected the distilleries.

T&G Unite regional industrial officer Tommy Campbell said he was happy with the result of the ballot but added that the union would continue its national campaign to increase drivers’ wages to £12 an hour.

He said: “I am glad that the members managed to get what they wanted. Unite are proud of those who took a stand.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

11 Dec
2008

'Tallest' whisky still installed

Distiller Glenmorangie has installed what it said is Scotland's tallest whisky still at its premises in Tain, Ross-shire.

The 5.14m high swan-necked copper still will be the last of four to be put in place at the distillery.

The company said it will allow the distillery to meet growing demand for its single malt whiskies from existing and emerging markets abroad.

Expansion of the distillery at Tain is part of a £45m programme.

The first phase of work to expand the distillery was completed in October.

Additional fermentation capacity and extensions to existing buildings to house this have been completed.

Phase two, which will see a range of malt whisky distillation equipment, has started.

It is the largest expansion in the history of the distillery, which is where the Glenmorangie brand was first created in 1843.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

10 Dec
2008

Roll out your very own £4m whisky barrel

WEALTHY whisky buffs are being offered the ultimate credit crunch busting Christmas gift – a £4million chance to create their own barrels of Scotland’s national drink.

The luxury personal distilling adventure is described as the perfect solution to the connoisseur who has everything, so long as they can wait at least 10 years for the end result.

Distiller Glenmorangie is behind the one-off event, which is being marketed among millionaire overseas drinkers.

The lucky recipient who opens an envelope addressed to “The 17th Man of Tain” on December 25 will probably wonder what he has received.

For starters, they will be flown by private jet from anywhere in the world to the Ozark mountains in Missouri to choose trees that will be used for casks.

Next is a flight to Scotland and a stay at the magnificent Glenmorangie House next to the famous brand’s distillery in Tain, Ross-shire.

Once there, they will learn the secrets of great malt from Dr Bill Lumsden, head of distilling and whisky creation.

They will learn how to flavour and perfect a dram before their very own malt is laid down in barrels of their choice. And the ultimate accolade will be an invitation to join the 16 Men of Tain, the chosen few who guard the secrets of Glenmorangie.

The one-off whisky will be laid down in 20 barrels and the first bottling will not take place until 2019, with others bottled over the following quarter century.

Dr Lumsden said: “I want the recipient of this gift to have ownership of the spirit all the way through.”

The offer features in this month’s The Robb Report, the US-based style guide for billionaires only.

Other luxury gift suggestions out of reach for most shoppers, include a personal Zeppelin airship priced at £11million and a £200million super yacht.

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

08 Dec
2008

Whisky goes down a treat with investors

It’s estimated that £20m a year is poured into the UK’s rare single malt market by speculators

THE price of rare malt whiskies has soared to record levels as investors seek tangible alternatives to volatile stock and money markets.

Dramatic fluctuations triggered by the credit crunch have seen rich speculators move their money into items that hold their value including precious metals, works of art and vintage whiskies.

Single malts from distilleries that have since closed are commanding hefty premiums, with some doubling in value in a matter of weeks. Brokers predict that the first £100,000 bottle of whisky will be sold in the new year.

The latest figures from the World Whisky Index, an internet-based trading platform for whisky investors, show that prices have risen by an average of a third over the past month.

A bottle of Glenfarclas 1955, costing £2,000 last year, is now worth £6,000. Macallan 1947 has doubled in value to £3,000 over the same period. A 30-year-old bottle of Bowmore, bought for £165, sold for £390 just a month later, a record 137% increase.

It is estimated that £20m a year is now being invested in the rare single malt market in the UK along.

Sukhinder Singh, director of the Whisky Exchange, the UK’s biggest whisky broker, said that, contrary to expectations, the economic downturn had fuelled a rise in demand for the most precious bottles.

“We are busier than ever despite all the doom and gloom. The demand for top-end whisky is very strong,” said Singh.

“Whiskies are becoming more rare and therefore valuable because 80% of the products we sell are actually being drunk.

“Whisky is a good investment because so many people are crazy about it and it never goes off. It’s safer than stocks and shares in the long term.”

The current record price for a bottle of single malt whisky is £40,000 for a Dalmore 1942 but Singh expects that to be broken next year, when he intends to put a £100,000 bottle up for sale.

Michel Kappen, of the Dutch firm The Whisky Talker, which runs the World Whisky Index, said £1.5m had been invested in the spirit stock exchange since it was set up a year ago.

“People aren’t interested in buying stocks and shares anymore because the market is not strong,” he said.

“We predict that people who buy a bottle of rare single malt can make an average profit of 50% in three years’ time.”

Jacob-Jan Esmeijer, 36, a Dutch marketing executive, withdrew his money from the stock market and has invested £3,500 in bottles of rare malt whisky this year.

“It is a very uncertain time in the stock markets. I have a passion for whisky and I felt it was a safer long-term investment,” he said. “I have a portfolio of around 10 bottles and they are performing very well.”

Scottish distilleries said they had seen strong demand among investors wanting to buy casks, despite the fact that about 2% of their investment will evaporate every year.

“There’s been a lot more interest in barrels since people realised they can’t put their money in the banks, stocks and shares or houses,” said Mark Reynier, managing director of the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay.

“We have had a large amount of people wanting to buy shares in our distillery but because we are a private company that isn’t possible. Buying a barrel allows them to get involved in the success of the distillery.

“People are thinking, ‘Well if I put it in whisky at least I can drink the stuff at the end’, which you can’t do with a share certificate. Good quality single malt whisky does appreciate on an annual basis.”

Despite the burgeoning market, the Scotch Whisky Association does not offer advice but warns that “investment for resale is expensive and highly speculative and should not be entered into lightly.”

Article Courtesy of The Times

 

The Times

06 Dec
2008

Bill’s whisky industry award – it’s a treble

world-class honour for master craftsman not to be sniffed at

A whisky creator at a major Scottish distillery has been honoured for his contribution to the industry for the third time, it was announced today.

Bill Lumsden, head of distilling and whisky creation at The Glenmorangie Company, was named Industry Leader of the Year at the Malt Advocate Awards 2008.

The award, which honours the “best of the best”, was presented to him in recognition of his impressive contribution to the industry over the past year. The master creator has led his team to reveal three new products in 2008 – Glenmorangie Signet, Glenmorangie Astar and Ardbeg Blasda.

Mr Lumsden said: “It’s a great honour to receive this award for the third time. These awards are highly respected across the world.”

Mr Lumsden, who holds a PhD in biochemistry, joined the company in 1995 as Glenmorangie Distillery manager.

Since then he has focused on wood finishing and selects casks at various ages in order to experiment.

He tours wine regions around the world, searching for the best wood that will complement the whiskies and impart unique characteristics.

Mr Lumsden is a leading authority in whisky creation and in 2007 he was awarded the Global Ambassador of the Year and Scottish Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine for his worldwide work prom- oting The Glenmorangie Company’s portfolio of brands.

He also received the Malt Advocate Magazine Industry Leader of the Year Award in both 2001 and 2006 in recognition of his position as one of the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking distillers in the world.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

05 Dec
2008

Whisky boss upbeat over exports

Porta sees opportunities for growth in emerging markets, despite global woes

Chivas Brothers boss Christian Porta said yesterday he was confident of continued strong momentum for whisky exports worldwide despite the global economic crisis.

He said there were still plenty of good opportunities for growth, although some markets were becoming tougher.

Mr Porta added: “We will watch the situation carefully. There are certainly countries where sales are more difficult than 12 months ago and the UK is one of these.”

Spain – one of the top three markets for whisky exports – is another country where Scotland’s national drink was said to be struggling, with Chivas seeing a slight decline in sales recently.

“We have a good market share with Ballantine’s but the situation there is very tough,” said Mr Porta.

By contrast, he said, the smaller French market was a growth area for Chivas and other whisky makers, adding: “As a category, the whisky market in France is growing by around 5% a year.

“Some markets are slowing down but emerging ones such as eastern Europe, Russia, India and elsewhere in Asia are continuing to show positive trends and South America is very dynamic.”

Chivas brand The Glenlivet is still the top-selling single malt in the US but Mr Porta said Chivas Regal had seen a small fall in American sales.

The Glenlivet Distillery, near Ballindalloch on Speyside, is undergoing expansion to meet increased worldwide demand.

Recent figures from French parent Pernod Ricard showed worldwide sales of The Glenlivet had risen by 27% in value during the first quarter of its trading year, compared with the previous year.

Sales of Chivas Regal, produced at Strathisla distillery at Keith, rose by 11% and Ballantine’s – made and bottled near Dumbarton – grew by 9%.

Mr Porta, who took over the reins at Chivas in 2004, said there were good grounds to be optimistic about continued success, although this was tempered by a need to be careful in the current economic environment.

The Chivas boss also welcomed the UK Government’s about-turn over an 8% increase in alcohol duty announced in Chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget speech last week. The move sparked uproar in the whisky industry and Mr Darling later back-tracked.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

04 Dec
2008

Interest galore as shipwreck whisky sells for £2,200

A BOTTLE of whisky recovered from the wreck of a cargo ship which inspired the film Whisky Galore! sold at auction yesterday for £2,200 to a teenager fascinated by its remarkable story.

The bottle of Ballantine Scotch whisky was expected to fetch about £1,500 but strong competition from bidders pushed its price up.

The bottle was one of around 240,000 which sank with the SS Politician after she ran aground off Eriskay in 1941.

The sinking inspired the novel Whisky Galore! and the 1949 Ealing comedy of the same name, ensuring the tale of how the islanders raided a shipwreck for her cargo of whisky entered into legend.

At Gorringes Auctioneers in East Sussex, the bottle sold to the family of gap-year student Tam Burt, 18, from Dollar, Clackmannanshire.

Speaking from Paris, Tam said he enjoyed the novel by Compton Mackenzie and later studied the book for his higher dissertation. He said: “I read the book as a child and I really enjoyed it. Later I won a scholarship and on that I investigated the original story by travelling to Eriskay. When I saw the bottle up for auction I decided to go for it.”

In 1970 a newspaper commissioned divers, including Bob Pert, to find the wreck and the team retrieved six bottles including the one sold yesterday, which Mr Pert had been allowed to keep.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

03 Dec
2008

Whisky Galore bottle under hammer

A Sussex diver who found a bottle of whisky on a cargo ship whose sinking inspired a film is hoping it will fetch more than £1,500 at auction.

Bob Pert retrieved the undamaged bottle in a search of the SS Politician, which sank in the Outer Hebrides in 1941 while carrying about 240,000 bottles.

Islanders celebrated with the looted alcohol, hiding the whisky before government officials could find it.

The 1949 comedy film Whisky Galore! was inspired by their raids on the wreck.

The Daily Mirror commissioned a team of divers including Mr Pert to find the SS Politician in 1970, and the team brought back six undamaged Ballantine Scotch whisky bottles.

Mr Pert, 61, of Seaford, was allowed by the Receiver of Wrecks to hold on to the only uncontaminated bottle, which has remained unopened ever since.

He said a couple of inches of whisky had evaporated through the cork, but it would still be drinkable because the seal was intact.

Mr Pert said: "We spent three weeks searching for the wreck in the Eriskay Bay and were just about to give up when we were given a tip by a local as to its whereabouts.

"Diving technology in those days wasn't anywhere as sophisticated as it is now so we had our work cut out to find anything.

"We were literally on the last roll of the dice when we saw this case just sitting there.

"It was definitely a moment to celebrate when we actually found some bottles and came triumphantly to the surface with them."

But he added: "I'm more of a red wine man."

Auctioneers at Gorringes have said the bottle could fetch more than £1,500 at the auction in North Street, Lewes, on Wednesday.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

02 Dec
2008

Diageo happy with McLaren sponsor deal

Multinational drinks company Diageo has no plans to sever its ties with the top formula one team McLaren.

To advertise its Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker, Diageo commenced a reportedly $23 million per year sponsorship deal with the Mercedes-powered team in 2005.

Diageo's chief executive Paul Walsh insists the deal is worth it.

"It is a lot of money but you have 400m people watching a two-hour grand prix and all the other races around the world, it's a great opportunity to promote the brand to the right demographic," he told The Times.

"And, of course, it's now part of the championship-winning team, and that's worth a lot in itself," Walsh added.

Article Courtesy of Motor Authority

 

Motor Authority

01 Dec
2008

Burns Night 250th Anniversary: celebrate with Arran Whisky

Burns Night – traditionally celebrated on 25th January – will be the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet in 2009. To celebrate, award-winning whisky producer, Isle of Arran Distillers, has released a limited edition bottling of its Single Malt - 250th Anniversary Robert Burns Malt. Fifteen ex-Sherry casks were selected from the 1998 distillation by Distillery Manager, James MacTaggart, for the bottling, with just 1,800 bottles available in the UK.

The Isle of Arran Distillery is one of the last remaining independent distilleries in Scotland and is the only Distillery on the island of Arran. The distillery only uses traditional methods, with wooden washbacks and bespoke copper stills.

The only whisky entitled to the Burns name, Isle of Arran 250th Anniversary Robert Burns Malt is available at good whisky specialists, thedrinkshop.com and drinkon.com and retails at £49.99. Isle of Arran Distillers also produces the Robert Burns Blend & Malt which are available at £14.99 and £22.99, respectively.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release
November 2008 Scotch Whisky News

28 Nov
2008

Whisky group staying focused on its portfolio

UK rights to Russian premium vodka latest addition to Edrington’s arsenal

The boss of a Scottish whisky company said yesterday it appeared that many world markets, including the UK, were in for a sustained economic downturn.

Edrington Group is to stay focused on producing and developing its strong portfolio, according to its chief executive, Ian Curle.

The comments came as his company said it had signed an agreement with SPI Group for the exclusive UK distribution rights to its leading Russian-made premium vodka brand, Stolichnaya.

Stoli, as it is known, is one of the world's best-selling Russian vodkas and is distributed in the UK by Pernod Ricard. It will join the portfolio of premium spirit brands distributed by Maxxium – in which Edrington has a 25% stake – in the UK.

About 90 people work for Maxxium in Stirling.

There had been a questionmark over these posts earlier this year after some of the joint venture’s partners announced a shake-up of their distribution arrangements but these jobs are now safe.

Edrington – maker of The Famous Grouse – said yesterday its board was generally cautious about the economic outlook.

Mr Curle said: “Economic cycles come and go, however, it does look as if we are in for a sustained downturn, not just in the UK economy but in many global markets.

“As we move through the next year or two, we must hope that the short-term fluctuations in financial markets will settle down, and that we can perhaps look forward to a more normal period of economic recovery and stability.

“In the meantime, our priority as a business is to stay focused on . . . our strong portfolio of premium international spirit brands.”

The company, which operates five distilleries in Scotland, lodged its annual report and accounts at Companies House yesterday.

In July, Edrington said pre-tax profits had jumped more than 9% to £75.6million for the year to March 31, 2008.

Turnover in the latest period totalled £291.5million, compared with £278.5million last time.

In the report and accounts, chairman Sir Ian Good said the scrutiny of alcohol's place in society had increased significantly, adding that those people who consumed it to excess were in the minority.

He said: “It is crucial that as an industry we are seen to be doing everything we can to promote sensible consumption and Edrington is playing its part in this campaign with a programme of education to our staff and consumers.”

The report showed that Mr Curle's basic remuneration was £303,000, against £290,000 the year before. Incentive plans added a further £409,000, compared with £185,000 the year before.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

27 Nov
2008

Diageo wins whisky piracy case in China

A Shanghai court has ordered a Chinese company to pay Rmb1.25m ($183,000) in damages to British drinks group Diageo for copying its packaging as part of a government crackdown on rampant piracy.

The court found that Blueblood (Shanghai) Wine copied the bottle design and packaging of Diageo’s popular Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky for its own brand of whisky, and continued to do so even after being fined by the Shanghai government, following a complaint from Diageo in 2006.

The award is unusually high and comes in the midst of a Shanghai government anti-piracy campaign, in which officials are trying to show their commitment to protecting intellectual property rights.

Lawyers who specialise in intellectual property cases say the Diageo ruling, although clearly part of a propaganda offensive, does signal the Chinese authorities are taking counterfeiting much more seriously than in previous years.

China is the biggest source of counterfeit goods in the world and intellectual property protection is a perennial issue at trade negotiations and diplomatic exchanges with other countries.

In Diageo’s case the Chinese company copied packaging rather than any registered patent, copyright or trademark, and the guilty verdict signalled a greater level of sophistication from the courts than most previous rulings, lawyers said.

Chinese courts dealt with over 17,000 intellectual property cases last year, compared with just over 400 handled by courts in the UK in the same period.

The vast majority of cases in China involve local companies suing other local companies as Chinese businessmen become increasingly willing to use the law to protect intangible assets.

But companies that win court cases in China often have difficulty getting the rulings enforced.

“Generally speaking, enforcement is still a big issue, especially outside the major centres of Beijing and Shanghai,” according to Luke Minford, head of China for Rouse, the intellectual property consultancy.

“Most foreign companies will try to get their case heard in Shanghai and Beijing in order to get more sophisticated and objective judges, but trying to enforce in other areas is still very difficult.”

Johnnie Walker is sold in 150 cities in China and earned Diageo Rmb320m in sales nationwide last year, according to state media reports of the court’s verdict.

Blueblood sold 37,000 bottles of its Polonius brand whisky, which used packaging that was nearly identical to the Black Label brand.

Blueblood has 15 days to appeal against the ruling but had not lodged an appeal by Thursday evening.

On the same day as the Diageo ruling, the Shanghai court handed down verdicts on 13 other cases, nine of which involved international companies, including 3M, Nippon Electric, New Zealand kiwifruit company Zespri and Rock Records, a Taiwanese record label, state media reported.

Article Courtesy of FT.com

 

FT.com

27 Nov
2008

Darling is forced into whisky tax climbdown

Moray distillers delightedby chancellor’s u-turn

Chancellor Alistair Darling was forced to reverse his 29p tax rise on a bottle of whisky last night amid claims his mini-Budget has already started to unravel.

The move was welcomed by distillers, who had feared a “grim” new year in the wake of changes to the duty on the spirit earlier this week.

But last night the Scottish Whisky Association said it was “delighted” by Mr Darling’s sudden U-turn.

And Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson, vice-convener of the Commons all party Scotch whisky group, welcomed one of the fastest-yet Treasury climbdowns.

Mr Darling said his revised proposals ensure that, overall, the tax will remain broadly the same as it was before he delivered his pre-Budget report on Monday.

His shift followed fury in the industry after the 59p rise in his last Budget and a 2% fall in sales and a £300,000 drop in the tax take from Scotch whisky since.

The Tories claimed a leaked Treasury document proved Mr Darling was planning to raise VAT to 18.5% after the next general election, 1% more than the 17.5% to which the tax will revert at the end of next year. Shadow chancellor George Osborne said the “secret” VAT rise, which the Treasury claimed Mr Darling ditched before the leak, was needed to fill a £500million black hole in the nation’s accounts.

Mr Osborne also said that despite Treasury claims that only those earning more than £40,000 will lose out, changes in national insurance contributions mean those on more than £19,000 will be hit.

Mr Darling told MPs he had made it clear on Monday he wanted to ensure taxes on alcohol and cigarettes remained “broadly the same” and his temporary reduction in VAT would be offset by increases in duty.

He admitted the original 8% increase in duty on spirits did not achieve that and slashed it to 4% last night.

Scotland Secretary Jim Murphy revealed he intervened as the row escalated and that he is pleased the UK Government’s aims for taxes on alcohol to remain broadly the same is being confirmed beyond doubt.

He said: “The chancellor has acted decisively.”

Scottish Whisky Association government and public affairs director Campbell Adams, who believes any increase in duty will only be a few pence, said: “We are delighted. Hopefully this will send a message to governments around the world to tax whisky fairly.”

David Urquhart, joint managing director of Gordon and MacPhail in Elgin, said: “We welcome the positive action taken by the UK Government to ensure that the overall duty on Scotch whisky remains broadly unchanged when the reduction in VAT is taken into account.”

Mr Robertson, who has 40 Speyside distilleries in his constituency, claimed the Treasury “buckled in the face of the outcry from the whisky industry and the SNP”.

He added: “The way in which the pre-Budget report is unravelling is indicative of the disgraceful and dithering way the UK Government is responding to the economic crisis, bringing chaos and confusion where we need certainty and clarity.”

Perth and North Perthshire SNP MP Pete Wishart said: “The government realised they made a massive blunder.”

Liberal Democrat spokes-man on Scottish affairs, Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, said the “embarrassing” U-turn would not have been necessary if the chancellor had been aware of the impact his original plans would have on a crucial Scottish industry.

And Argyll and Bute Lib Dem MP Alan Reid said it was “a scandal” the tax was raised in the first place, adding: “If the Treasury could not get this right it does not hold much hope for the rest of the economy.”

Mr Osborne said ministers had destroyed public trust in the government's motives – “confirming what everyone suspects that Labour's temporary giveaways now are dwarfed by permanent tax rises later”.

He added: “Normally it takes a week or so for the prime minister’s Budget to come unstuck. This one has completely fallen apart in just 48 hours.”

Mr Darling welcomed the opportunity for a debate on the pre-Budget report and said: “I believe that faced with the extraordinary economic circumstances we have today, there is a choice.

“There is a choice between supporting people, supporting businesses, supporting the economy as countries are now doing across the world, or walking away, saying we will do absolutely nothing and letting recession run its course.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

26 Nov
2008

Whisky duty rise 'to be revised'

The chancellor is revising his alcohol tax plans to prevent a big increase in the cost of whisky.

Alistair Darling has ordered changes to the details of his pre-Budget report following an outcry from the industry.

The Scotch Whisky Association warned the average bottle of whisky would cost 29p more after the pre-Budget report.

Mr Darling said the increase in duty on sprits was only supposed to offset the cost of his cut in VAT. He has ordered Treasury officials to change the plans.

BBC Scotland understands new legal documents will go before the UK parliament to amend the pre-Budget report and ensure the whisky industry is not hit for more tax.

In his pre-Budget statement, the chancellor announced an 8% rise in excise duty on spirits, which would see the tax on a bottle of whisky rise by 47p to £6.45.

A temporary reduction in VAT, down 2.5 percentage points for the next 13 months, would see this rise reduced to about 29p on an average 70cl bottle.

This was on top of a 59p increase in March.

The duty increase was branded a "smash and grab raid" by the SNP MP for Moray, Angus Robertson.

He said the increase was the biggest in nearly four decades.

Mr Darling insisted his intention was to keep alcohol taxation "broadly" the same, but while VAT was charged on price, duty was charged on alcohol content so there was not an exact match.

He said: "When they see the detail they will see that broadly the effect of cutting VAT and changing the duty - one cancels out the other, because my intention is I don't want to raise any more or any less.

"I just wanted to hold the taxation on alcohol steady and we'll be laying the necessary orders to do that."

Campbell Evans from the Scotch Whisky Association said he was "delighted" that the issue was being revisited.

He said: "I'm sure this is an error that crept in and the government are taking quick steps to address that and the industry will welcome that very much."

Mr Evans added that there needed to be a "fundamental look" at duty in the longer term.

Mr Robertson said: "We need to see the detail of what Alistair Darling is proposing, but hopefully he is U-turning on this damaging tax hike on one of Scotland's key industries.

"It would be a huge blow to the chancellor's credibility if he is forced into a climbdown when the ink on the pre-Budget Report is barely dry, and it suggests that he didn't understand the impact of his own PBR measures on Scotland."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

26 Nov
2008

Outrage at tax raid on the whisky industry

Grim new year forecast for distilleries in Scotland

The whisky industry forecast a grim New Year last night as the full extent of Chancellor Alistair Darling’s “reckless and damaging” tax raid on Scotch became clear.

Protests over the extent of the duty increase and the risk to home and overseas sales mounted on a day when Bank of England governor Mervyn King refused to rule out nationalising the banks if they fail to resume normal lending to keep businesses going and Commons Speaker Michael Martin ordered an emergency three-and-a-half-hour debate on the mini-Budget.

Mr Darling denied targeting the whisky industry in adding 29p to the 59p increase in the tax on a bottle he imposed in his last Budget – the biggest rise in a year since the 1970s – and insisted the tax on alcohol remains “about the same” after taking his VAT cut into account.

But SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson, whose Moray constituency includes 40 distilleries on Speyside, said: “This is the second smash-and-grab raid by the chancellor within a year.”

He said the industry was taking the hit just before Christmas during its busiest period of the year.

In an angry letter to Mr Darling he said: “It is clear that this damaging and reckless decision will impact on one of Scotland’s most important industries and I would ask the Treasury to think again.”

Perth and North Perthshire SNP MP Pete Wishart accused the chancellor of not being open about the tax increase in his mini-Budget.

He said: “It is totally unacceptable that this vital industry should become a casualty to Alistair Darling's desperate attempts to resuscitate the UK economy.”

Perth SNP MSP Roseanna Cunningham said: “The Treasury should be supporting the whisky industry, not punishing it.”

Liberal Democrat MPs across the north signed a Commons motion by Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid urging the Queen to annul the increase.

He claimed the tax rise would put distilleries at risk as “nobody is going to invest in an industry that this chancellor seems to enjoy clobbering”.

Scotch Whisky Industry spokesman Campbell Evans said sales had already fallen 2% since the last Budget and could fall further with the latest duty rise – which would mean the tax take would fall.

He warned: “I think what we will see is that after Christmas people will start to rein in. It will be a very difficult start to the New Year and we are very concerned.”

‘Misleading’

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories claimed falling estimates for income tax revenue undermine the SNP’s case for a 3p Scottish local income tax, and Labour accused Finance Secretary John Swinney of making the “misleading” claim that he had asked the Treasury, in vain, to bring forward capital spending – only to find it has now brought forward £300million to be spent north of the border.

The SNP insisted their local income tax plans remain sound, released the text of a letter from Mr Swinney to the chancellor four days ago and accused Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray of “an embarrassing blunder”.

Mr King told MPs on Treasury committee the credit drought is the single biggest threat to the economy and it was of “over-riding importance” to get banks lending again.

He also signalled that more interest-rate cuts and bank bailouts could be on the way.

Tory MPs cheered as Mr Martin granted their call for an emergency debate in the face of government determination to make them wait a week or two.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

25 Nov
2008

Inver House Distillers Wins Distiller of the Year Award

Inver House Distillers, part of parent company International Beverage, is celebrating this week after winning one of the drinks industry’s highest accolades at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2008 - the trophy for Scottish Distiller of the Year.

Announced at a ceremony in London’s Guildhall on Monday evening, the win in such a highly competitive category is recognition of the company’s impressive stable of Single Malt and blended Scotch Whiskies, which includes brands such as Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc, Hankey Bannister and Speyburn.

The announcement comes at the end of a highly successful year for these whisky brands, with Inver House being awarded International Distiller of the Year at the prestigious Icons of Whisky Awards, 13 awards at the Scotch Whisky Masters and 11 medals at this year’s International Spirits Challenge, an astonishing 15 awards at the International Wine and Spirits Competition – and a win for Balblair 1989 Vintage for Best Whisky at the annual Edinburgh 'Whisky Fringe'.

Says Malcolm Leask, Vice President Sales and Marketing of International Beverage Holdings: ‘Once again we are delighted to receive such a prestigious accolade from the industry, which is the perfect way to end a year in which our brands have been recognised on an unprecedented scale. My thanks and congratulations go to the devoted teams behind these great brands, and we now look forward to building on our success in 2009 and beyond.’

International Beverage, parent company of Inver House Distillers, made headlines in October this year by announcing a major £15 million investment plan to centralise global marketing operations in Scotland, with Airdrie becoming the new international marketing hub for all global activities. This was a major boost for the Scottish team, recognising their outstanding results in delivering brand success to date.

Furthermore a £1 million investment has been announced which will see a brand new bottling line established. This will expand Airdrie operations and increase Inver House Distillers growth and position within the International Beverage Holdings group.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

25 Nov
2008

'Whisky sour' claim after Budget

The chancellor has been accused of slipping a "whisky sour" into his pre-Budget report, with an 8% rise in the excise duty on spirits.

The Scotch Whisky Association said, despite Alistair Darling's decision to cut VAT, the announcement would mean an extra 29p on an average 70cl bottle.

It said the move, announced in the footnotes to Mr Darling's speech, was "counter-productive".

Campbell Evans of the SWA said the rise was a "damaging blow" to the industry.

In his pre-Budget statement, the chancellor announced a rise which would see the duty on a bottle of whisky rise by 47p to £6.45.

A temporary reduction in VAT, down 2.5 percentage points for the next 13 months, will see this rise reduced.

Mr Evans told BBC Scotland: "This tax rise is likely to be permanent - the fall in VAT is only temporary.

"The high level of excise duty that applies on spirits means the rise will be 29p on a bottle of Scotch - that's a 4% rise, and they have failed to understand that this measure has a disproportionate affect on Scotch whisky compared to other sectors.

"The treasury's own model shows that if they put tax up on spirits they will see falling revenue. This measure was to try and keep revenues up - they're already losing money. It's not got any logic or any sense."

The chancellor defended himself on BBC Radio Scotland. He said the duty rise had to be seen alongside the cut in VAT.

He said: "I've not been able to pass on the VAT reduction in relation to alcohol, but what I've done is I have had a compensatory increase in the duty.

"Actually when you look at the whisky industry, I have helped that industry for many many years. I've got to balance the books - at the end of the day you've got pay for it and people understand that."

But the duty increase was attacked by SNP MP Angus Robertson as a "smash and grab raid".

Mr Robertson, MP for Moray, said: "The chancellor did not even have the decency to specifically mention his tax increase on the whisky industry.

"The bad news was buried deep in the pre-budget report."

He added: "It is totally unacceptable that this vital industry should be a casualty to Alistair Darling's desperate attempts to resuscitate the UK economy."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

24 Nov
2008

Glenglassaugh distillery sheds its mothballs

Glenglassaugh has officially opened its Scottish distillery, after having been out of operation for 22 years.

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, re-opened the 133-year-old Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire today (24 November).

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company, which is controlled by the Netherlands-based investment company Scaent Group, was created by Scaent earlier this year after the company bought the facility in February for around GBP5m (US$7.5m).

"This is a very exciting time for the whisky industry," said Derek McLennan, executive vice president of the Scaent Group. "With unprecedented demand in markets such as China, India, Russia, South East Asia and South America; we look forward to introducing the world to one of the very best single malt whiskies available today - Glenglassaugh."

Managing director Stuart Nickerson added: "We will initially be releasing a limited amount of 22yr, 30yr and 40yr old single malts. These whiskies are unique and have been very well received by those who have tasted them, including key whisky writers and knowledgeable whisky experts."

Scaent bought the distillery from The Edrington Group, which had closed Glenglassaugh in 1986. The site had previously been used in the production of blended whiskies such as Cutty Sark and The Famous Grouse.

Article Courtesy of Just Drinks

 

Just Drinks

24 Nov
2008

Whisky Galore drams go up for auction

It was a sad day for shipping - but a great day for sipping.

Thousands of litres of malt whisky were reported lost when the SS Politician sank off the Outer Hebrides in 1941.

But most of it was nabbed by canny Scottish islanders who "liberated" the booze before governmentinspectors arrived.

They drained the ship dry apart, it seems, from at least one historic bottle.

And today, almost 70 years after the world famous incident that inspired the classic 1948 movie Whisky Galore, the last few precious drams are up for auction - largely thanks to the Mirror.

In 1970 we commissioned a team of expert divers to locate the wreck including Bob Pert, who was allowed to keep one of the bottles of Ballantine Scotch as a reward for his efforts.

Now Bob, 61, is putting it up for auction at Lewes, near his home in East Sussex. It is expected to fetch thousands of pounds when it finally goes under the hammer on December 3.

He said: "A couple of inches have already evaporated through the cork, so I thought I'd sell it to someone who really likes the stuff. I'm more of a wine man myself."

Article Courtesy of Sunday Mirror

 

Sunday Mirror

22 Nov
2008

MSP airs whisky fears as ministers target drink abuse

Tory seeks clarification of impact on distilleries of proposed legal changes

A Highlands and Islands MSP has voiced concern that new licensing restrictions will hit distilleries and whisky shops.

Tory Mary Scanlon is seeking clarification on the impact of the Licensing Act after being contacted by companies in her constituency.

The Scottish Government plans to change the law in its drive to tackle alcohol abuse. The clampdown will include bans on certain promotions and displays. Supermarkets will be expected to have separate checkouts for alcohol.

Ms Scanlon has submitted a series of written questions to find out if whisky displays at exhibitions and trade fairs will be exempt from the act.

She wants to know if the ban on promotional material will include window displays by specialist whisky shops and whether small retailers whose main, but not sole, product is alcohol will be exempt from the proposals for separate checkout.

“The Highlands, and particularly Moray, are world-renowned for the whisky they produce and there is a genuine fear the proposals in this act could be damaging to the industry,” Ms Scanlon said.

Her concern follows a parliamentary answer from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in which he said distillery visitor centres and whisky shops will not be exempt from the new licensing legislation.

He said he had given an assurance to the Scotch Whisky Association that any action to end the irresponsible promotion of alcohol would be discussed with them in advance, and that drams would still be allowed at the end of distillery tours.

An association spokesman said discussions with the government had been positive.

“We have warmly welcomed the assurance they have given that visitors will be able to continue to enjoy a dram at the end of a distillery tour and that they will continue to work with us to ensure the industry is not hit by any unintended consequences as a result of what comes forward under the alcohol strategy,” he said.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

21 Nov
2008

Glengoyne food and drink festival

Glengoyne distillery's free Christmas food and drink festival on December 6.

The aim is to showcase the best local produce from the area.

Entrance is free and it promises to be a fun day for all ages.

As well as the food stalls in ‘Glengoyne’s Garden of Consumption’, there will be a range of unusual gift ideas and plenty of activities to entertain all the family.

For the grown-ups there will be an inflatable bar, which will be selling a range of drinks including award winning WEST and Brew Dog beers. Tutored whisky and beer tastings will be on offer as well as cooking demonstrations from BBC’s Great British Menu contestant and chef, Tom Lewis of Monachyle Mhor.

Local farm shop Edenmill will be firing up its barrel smokers, and selling meat produce, Christmas trees and wreaths

For the children, there will be a cooking competition, judged by Tom Lewis, carol singing, angel hunts, a treasure haystack and, of course, Santa’s Grotto – by the foot of the distillery waterfall.

The Glengoyne distillery shop will be selling a range of whisky and related products including personalised bottles. Distillery tours, tastings, blending sessions and nosings will be available throughout the day. Other highlights include ideas on sustainable living, such as keeping chickens at home and how to turn old whisky casks in to food smokers, potato barrels and strawberry planters.

Stuart Hendry of Glengoyne said: “This free food and drink Christmas festival at Glengoyne will appeal to all the family, showcasing the best local food and drink producers.

“Glengoyne award-winning Single Malts are made without cutting corners, resulting in a uniquely smooth whisky, which is distilled at a slower rate than any other. We are proud of our ‘slow’ credentials and have been working with local producers such as Tom Lewis at Monachlye Mhor to celebrate these values.

“There is a resurgence and interest for people as to where their food and drink comes from. This event will be a celebration of what is great about Glengoyne and an opportunity to sample the best food and drink produce from the local area. It will be a celebration of the ‘Real Taste of Malt’ partnered with the ‘Real Taste of Food.”

Glengoyne Distillery, which offers an unrivalled visitor experience, is situated 30 minutes outside Glasgow, looking out over the breath-taking West Highland Way. The event is free and is open to all ages. For directions, visit www.glengoyne.com. Booking however for the distillery tours is recommended. Contact: Anna Macfarlane on 01360 550 229.

See glengoyne.com or call 01360 550 254 for more details.

 

Article Courtesy of The Sun

 

The Sun

20 Nov
2008

Whisky firm and council clash over compensation

A FURIOUS war of words had broken out between Moray Council and a local whisky maker after the company lodged a massive compensation claim which it is being claimed could cripple the council.

Gordon and MacPhail, owners of the Benromach Distillery in Forres, have lodged a multi-million compensation claim against Moray Council for £184 million for flood alleviation works being carried out at the Mosset Burn, which they claim could damage their water source.

The wine and whisky merchants claim that the amount reached was as a result of breakdown talks with Moray Council about compensation, and that the figure was arrived at by the district land valuer.

However, a claim that the valuer was appointed by Moray Council was denied last week with the council stating that they were "surprised" at the claim, given the negotiations with the distillery and the amount of cash the council has already spent in trying to protect the water source.

The council discussed the matter "in private" at a meeting held last week, and reports claim that there were audible gasps from the councillors when the figure was revealed.

Forres member Iain Young has appealed for the report, which contains other details of compensation claims, to be brought into the public domain.

The council's chief legal officer, Roddy Burns, is reported to have said that the figure was subject to negotiation, and it was inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

Gordon and MacPhail's objection to the Burn of Mosset flood scheme, which aims to protect people in the Forres area from inundation, was among those which resulted in a public inquiry.

The "Forres Gazette" believed that agreement was understood to have been reached with the council about the issue with the addition of a flood bund as part of the flood alleviation works at Chapleton being constructed to help prevent contamination of the water source.

However, Moray Council have confirmed that a compensation claim of £184 million has been submitted by Gordon and MacPhail as owners of the Benromach Distillery, in respect of the Burn of Mosset flood alleviation scheme.

"Negotiations on the claim are at a very early stage," said a council spokesman.

"In his report to the public inquiry into the scheme, expert geologist Dr Alan MacDonald highlighted the condition of the supply before work started. He concluded that the water source for the distillery was open to contamination by farm and wild animals along much of its length."

The spokesman said that, as requested by the distillery owners, the council has already spent an additional £1.3 million to carry out significant works to improve and protect the water supply against contamination as part of the scheme.

"So we are surprised that such a claim has been made," he added.

"And contrary to reports, Moray Council and the District Valuer have not asked the company to submit a claim, nor have we offered any formula or guidelines to assist on the calculation of the claimed amount."

The geologist's report outlines a description of the water source, stating that "within the area for floodwater storage is the outlet pipe and at least part of the catchment area of the Chapletonmoss spring which supplies the Benromach Distillery" with an additional comment that there is unlikely to be any "long-term impact" from any inundation.

However, Dr MacDonald does recommend regular monitoring of the water source both before and after the scheme has been put in place. An alternative spring source at Muirwoods was investigated, but not found to be suitable.

A Gordon and MacPhail spokesperson said: "Gordon and MacPhail totally supports the people of Forres in their need for an effective flood alleviation scheme.

"Gordon and MacPhail is a major employer in Moray and we see ourselves very much part of the local community. We take our obligations to the community very seriously.

"We support the scheme even though it is still – and this is after the modification made at the public inquiry to increase protection at our water source – a long-term risk to Benromach's water quality and continuity of supply. This fact was recognised by the public inquiry and we were advised that we had grounds for compensation to help offset the associated losses.

"We have responded to Moray Council's request for a letter of claim, and in that letter we used the formula stipulated by the District Valuer appointed by Moray Council. The formula produces such a large headline figure because it requires the calculation of potential losses over hundreds of years.

"We are dismayed that, even before Moray Council has started to discuss the letter with Gordon and MacPhail, out-of-context figures from the letter have been leaked to the media.

"We continue to await Moray Council's response and we welcome the opportunity for constructive discussions with them."

Article Courtesy of Forres Gazette

 

Forres Gazette

20 Nov
2008

Keep These Kind of Bottlings Coming Guys!

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is proud to feature in the 2009 edition of Jim Murray's Whisky Bible. This news comes hot on the heels of the recent Whisky Magazine's Independent Bottler's Challenge where the Society won three golds and four silvers.

Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2009

As the 2009 edition of Jim Murray's Whisky Bible hits the bookshops, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society's single cask, single malts have once again attracted the attention. Considered by many as the 'world's leading whisky guide from the world's foremost whisky authority' the Whisky Bible, now in its 6th year, researches over 3850 whiskies. The Society put forward several samples of its single cask malts and this year's selection went down a treat!

This independent endorsement of the quality of the Society's single cask bottlings comes hot on the heels of the recent Whisky Magazine's Independent Bottler's Challenge where the Society won the most prizes. The Society achieved nine accolades, including three golds and four silvers.

Here are a just a few of Jim Murray's Society recommendations all of which are listed in the Society online whisky archive AND for members who are quick off the mark there may still be some bottles left in the Society online whisky shop.

Cask 93.32 - Old puffer by the harbour wall
Jim Murray - 'One of the whiskies of the year.'

Cask 122.16 - Coconut and tar
Jim Murray - 'And it is sublime... there aren't many malts of earth which can touch this.'

Cask 104.10 - Rose petals and passion fruits
Jim Murray - 'I chose this to be the 1,000th whisky tasted for this edition simply because this really is one of the rarest whiskies in the world. So you hope against hope that it will be a classic. And it most certainly is. For God's sake re-install them stills...!!!!'

Cask 3.135 - Heaven and hell
Jim Murray - 'Keep these kind of bottlings coming, guys!!!'

Jim Murray has also included some of the Society's single cask grain whiskies in the new edition of his Whisky Bible.

G4.1 - Mellow menthol
Jim Murray - 'absolutely top order grain'

G2.1- Endless pleasure
Jim Murray - 'enticing to say the least.. grab some of this and see what I mean'

G3.1 - Hours of entertainment
Jim Murray - 'another example of why old grains like these are amongst the finest whiskies found, not just in Scotland but the world'

The Society also achieved nine accolades from Whisky Magazine in the Independent Bottler's Challenge, which includes three golds and four silvers, clearly demonstrating the superb quality of the single cask, single malt whisky.

Passed under some of the most scrupulous noses in the world before even being bottled for the Society, the specially selected malt whiskies faced a rigorous blind tasting from the panel of experts to decide which ones came out on top at the Whisky Magazine awards.

A full list of the Society bottlings featured in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible and the award winners from Whisky Magazine is available from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Site

For more information on The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, its single cask, single malt whiskies and Society membership visit www.smws.co.uk

Article Courtesy of PR Web

 

PR Web

19 Nov
2008

Welsh Whisky Honored as 2008 Microdistillery of The Year

Malt Advocate Magazine Praises Penderyn Whisky of Wales, UK, for Its Quality, Layers of Taste

The Welsh Whisky Co. has been honored as “The Microdistillery of the Year” for Penderyn, its highly regarded single malt whisky, by Malt Advocate, a magazine dedicated to promoting the growing microdistillery industry. The magazine will publish a list of the honorees in its January 2009 issue.

“There’s an explosion of new, relatively small, passionate distillers internationally who are making whisky,” said John Hansell, editor of Malt Advocate. Hansell presented the award to Gillian Howell, distiller of Penderyn, at The New York Whiskyfest at The Marriott Marquis in New York’s Time Square earlier this month.

“This was a difficult decision, given that there are some very impressive whiskies being distilled,” Hansell added, “but the product that most impresses us is Penderyn Welsh Whisky.”

To be eligible, a distillery must have been distilling whisky for no more than ten years and must be independent (i.e., a new company, not just a new facility for a company that’s already making whisky). The product must be sold in the United States.

Welsh Whisky, located in Penderyn, Wales, started operation in 2000 and delivered its first whisky in 2004. Penderyn is distilled in a specially designed still before being aged in used bourbon barrels and then finished in Madeira casks. Penderyn is available in 31 states (http://www.welsh-whisky.co.uk).

”It is surprisingly mature for its age;” Hansell said. “It’s a soft, pleasant whisky, with layers of creamy sweetness (vanilla, toffee), delicate fruit (coconut, blueberry, black raspberry), and almond. Penderyn is proof that new distilleries can produce a quality product and get it to market successfully within ten years.”

“We are very honored to have received this award,” Howell said. “Our success and the emergence of other microdistillers are proof that there is a demand for well crafted, delicious products such as Penderyn.”

Geraint Jones, head of Americas for International Business Wales, which has assisted the company since it was founded, said that the award is another sign of the creativity of Welsh businesses and their ability to succeed in very competitive markets.

Article Courtesy of Business Wire

 

Business Wire

18 Nov
2008

Aberlour lorry drivers to take part in strike

Haulage firm employees voted 81% in favour of pay action

Lorry drivers at a Moray haulage company are to take part in a 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay.

The drivers at McPherson of Aberlour voted 81% in favour of a stoppage after being balloted on industrial action last week. The date for the one-day strike has been set for Wednesday, November 25.

The dispute began after the union T & G Unite pressed the company, one of Scotland’s biggest distributing companies, to increase the hourly rate for lorry drivers from £8.48 to £12 an hour as part of a national campaign to improve driver wages. It also wants to raise the overtime rate above the current wage of £8.75.

Talks have been ongoing between the union and company to negotiate suitable rates but they reached a standstill after the McPherson refused the union’s demands.

T & G Unite regional industrial officer Tommy Campbell said: “We are open to meet with them if necessary before the strike date and I would welcome a decision to do so.”

McPherson has almost 100 drivers, who are members of the union, and more than 400 vehicles operating across Scotland and specialises in distributing whisky and other spirits.

McPherson were unavailable for comment last night.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

17 Nov
2008

Why whisky is worthy in Scotland

Scotland Food & Drink was launched with a mission to grow the industry from £7.5bn to £10bn by 2017 and to build Scotland's international reputation as ‘A Land of Food and Drink'.

This summer, the Scottish government announced its first National Food & Drink Policy. The decision to open up the discussion to the food and drink sectors was applauded by Scotland Food & Drink.

Whisky is worthy of a mention given its economic value and iconic status. Scotland is renowned for the quality of its food and drink, and Scotch whisky is perhaps the most internationally renowned of its produce.

Whisky export sales generated £90 every second last year, with the yearly value rising by 14% to reach a new record of £2.8bn. 2007 was an historic year for Scotch whisky, with volume exports growing 8% on 2006 to reach an all-time high. This amounted to 1.135bn bottles of Scotch whisky shipped overseas, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

Scotland's reputation relies on small to medium-sized firms, which make up most of the food and drink businesses in Scotland. We are trying to encourage firms to share knowledge. The whisky trail in Speyside is a good example of this. However, we need to broaden the scope to include larger segments of our industry to reduce costs, eliminate waste and improve customer service.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

15 Nov
2008

Scots council hit with £184m law suit over whisky row

A WHISKY firm are suing a council for a staggering £184million over fears a flood prevention scheme will harm their spring water supply.

Moray Council have been hit with the huge claim - equal to their entire annual budget - by Gordon and MacPhail, owners of Benromach Distillery in Forres.

They claim work at the local Burn of Mosset will have a significant long-term cost because of the need to protect water quality.

At a public inquiry two years ago, distillery bosses opposed the move, part of the council's £20million action plan to tackle the area's flooding problems.

Forres councillor Iain Young said: "This claim is so large as to be almost bizarre. If it's successful, the consequences for the people of Moray would be devastating."

Another councillor, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "People are entitled to compensation but not to the extent of ripping off the council, the Scottish government and ultimately taxpayers and council tax payers."

A council spokesman said: "We can confirm a claim of £184million has been submitted. Negotiations are at a very early stage."

A spokesman for Gordon and MacPhail said: "The scheme is welcomed wholeheartedly but it comes at a significant longtermcost to our company.

"The figure mentioned is a calculation requested by the district valuer and Moray Council, using the district valuer's own formula."

Almost six years ago, floods in Rothes and Elgin caused millions of pounds worth of damage and left hundreds homeless.

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

14 Nov
2008

Silo collapse at whisky facility

A grain silo has collapsed at a maltings plant in Islay spilling several hundred tonnes of barley across the site.

A spokeswoman for the drinks company, Diageo, said the silo came down at Port Ellen Maltings sometime before 0600 GMT on Friday.

No-one was injured although nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Work at the site has been suspended while structural engineers carry out an investigation into the collapse.

The Diageo spokeswoman said it was unlikely that the incident would have an effect on whisky production.

The company employs 47 people on Islay, 12 of whom are based at Port Ellen Maltings.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

14 Nov
2008

A career not to be sniffed at

If you had just bought the world’s most expensive whisky, what would you do with it? The chap who paid £38,000 for a 62-year-old Dalmore Single Highland Malt shared it with friends and emptied the bottle within 10 minutes. Some people might think it crazy, but it was absolutely the right thing to do, according to whisky creator Richard Paterson, writes Susan Welsh

REFERRING to someone as The Nose might land you in hot water, but Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s master blender for more than 30 years, is always delighted to be on the receiving end of the moniker.

For his nose is insured for a staggering £1.5million.

That is because it is one of the best noses in the world when it comes to sniffing out the tones and flavours that make the perfect whisky.

Earlier this week, Richard, from Glasgow, visited Dalmore Distillery near Alness to sign copies of his book, Goodness Nose, the first book ever to be written by a master blender.

One of the world’s best known experts on whisky and a legend within the industry, Richard, whose father and grandfather were also master blenders, has intertwined his own life story throughout the chapters, adding an inspirationally personal and intriguing touch to the book.

“My interest in whisky started when I was eight and my father took me to his bond and began explaining something of the intricacies of whiskies and what was behind them.

“When you are eight years old you tend not to pay too much attention but you are aware of what whisky, Champagne and wine is about.

“My first job was working in a hotel in Pitlochry until my father got me a job in a small whisky company where I did all sorts of odd jobs including manning the phones.

“But it proved to be a huge disadvantage because everyone said I’d only got the job because of him.

“I never liked that so it made me determined to break away from that mould and prove my own worth, and that’s when I really got involved in the whisky industry.

“Like any job you need to have a dedication, a commitment, 120% passion for what it is you do so that you can learn from your mistakes and go from strength to strength.

“My father advised me that if I was going to learn I had to keep nosing, nosing nosing.

“When I joined Whyte and Mackay in the 1970s I spent every day smelling in the region of 600 to 1,000 casks a day.

“Over the years you have built up something inside of you that gives you an overview of the whisky, and sense of being able to see them being blended together in various shapes and forms and that’s what I’ve always enjoyed.

“The thrill of my job now is creating the blends, creating the single malts, and more importantly creating a new blend or a rare single malt such as Dalmore 40 years old, a limited edition which has to be perfected in such a manner that when the consumer pays £1,350 for one bottle, he’s going to get his money’s worth.”

Richard is also the creator of the world’s most expensive bottle of whisky, a 62-year-old Dalmore Single Highland Malt which sells for anything from £32,000 to £38,000.

“This is my favourite whisky as it dates back to 1868. I spent 15 years looking after it before I finally released it,” said Richard.

“Only 12 bottles were ever released. In 2002 someone paid a world record auction price of £25,877 for a bottle which I never thought would be surpassed, but then someone paid what’s reputed to be almost £38,000 for a bottle – then drank it within 10 minutes.

“That’s exactly how you should do it. You take a good whisky with your friends, the people you love and share it to make it a memorable occasion you will never forget.”

The correct way to drink whisky, according to Richard is never to knock it back but to gently sip and savour it by keeping it on the tongue, back in the middle, before letting it go.

“Ideally it should be enhanced with a great coffee such as a Nicaraguan Java and a chocolate with 86% cocoa fat which you let melt in your mouth.”

Richard’s latest venture has seen him join creative forces with top Scottish whisky writer Gavin D. Smith to write the ground-breaking book, Goodness Nose.

He said: “There is a huge number of excellent books on the whisky industry out there, but I always felt that they didn’t quite give the full, rich story of the true spirit of Scotland.

“As a master blender with over 30 years of experience and a lifetime of anecdotes to tell, I certainly felt that I could bring an original look at not just the history of whisky making, but a real sense of the passion of the people involved all along the way.

“It’s been a long, hard process, but I’m very proud of the finished product, and of course delighted that I am the first master blender to put pen to paper.

“Hopefully it will be an essential point of reference for any budding whisky blender, and simply a great page-turner for all whisky lovers.”

A detailed look at the history of whisky blending, Goodness Nose is a journey through Scottish lowland, Highland and island distilleries, and through the intricate processes behind the whisky industry, bringing in quotes from renowned whisky experts such as Michael Jackson, John Hansell and Damian Riley-Smith along the way.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

13 Nov
2008

Rare whisky finds buyer at auction

A RARE BOTTLE of 100-year-old Brechin whisky, hidden in a cupboard during the American prohibition era, was sold for £3240 at auction in Edinburgh yesterday.

It was bought by a private UK bidder, who wishes to remain anonymous.

The single malt was exported to America from the Glencadam distillery in Brechin after the turn of the 20th century.

It was stashed away in the secret cupboard of a house in Washington State and forgotten about during the prohibition period between 1920 and 1933, when the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol for consumption was made illegal throughout the United States.

It was discovered in the 1950s by the US seller when renovating his father’s house.

A wall was taken down during the work and the bottle found stashed behind a trapdoor. Since the whisky was discovered it has been stored in Sweden where the vendor now lives.

Whisky consultant for Bonhams auction house Martin Green described the bottle of Old Pot Still Scotch Viking (Glencadam) as “one of the rarest early 20th century malt whiskies to appear at auction in recent years.”

He said, “It’s an amazing story.

“While it is impossible to establish how it got to the United States, it may have been an export brand at that time.

“It’s a very desirable product and one that any whisky producer would be glad to own…It is possible the bottle is the only one of its kind in existence.”

The condition of the labelling is very good considering its age and the whisky level was on the shoulder which means a little evaporation had taken place, quite common for bottles with a driven cork and of that age.

The new owner is highly unlikely to want to drink the contents.

Founded in 1825 by George Cooper, the Glencadam distillery secured its own soft hill water supply from Loch Lee in Glen Esk, some 12 miles away. In 1827 it was sold to David Scott.

In 1895, the distillery was taken over by Edinburgh blender Gilmour Thomson and Co.

The distillery was bought and modernised in 1954 by Hiram Walker and Son through its daughter society Ballantine’s which used the whisky in its blends.

In 2000 the distillery was mothballed by Allied Distillers, and in 2003 it was bought by Angus Dundee Distillers which started up production again.

Glencadam is the last distillery in Angus and the publicity surrounding yesterday’s sale comes as the distillery plans a major expansion, prompted by growing demand from China, India and Russia.

One day before the auction, Angus development standards committee approved plans for the distillery to build 16 warehouse units at Brechin Business Park.

The expansion will create five full-time jobs initially, with a further five once the extension is completed.

Since production has been increased to satisfy demand—and whisky has to mature for at least three years in Scotland before it can be called Scotch—extra warehouse space had to be found to store the thousands of casks until they mature.

Article Courtesy of Dundee Courier

 

Dundee Courier

13 Nov
2008

The Macallan invests £1.3m in iconic photography partnership with Rankin

The Macallan single malt Scotch whisky is today (Thursday 13 November 2008) unveiling an ambitious £1.3 million limited edition bottling produced in association with world famous, Scots born photographer Rankin.

The launch coincides with the announcement that The Macallan has been awarded the prestigious title of Distiller of the Year 2008 by USA publication, Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Returning to his homeland, Paisley-born Rankin, best known for his fashion photography and portraits of everyone from The Queen to Madonna, was invited to The Macallan’s Speyside estate to interpret the iconic whisky brand through his camera lens. The result is a series of 1,000 stunning black and white images, captured on Polaroid film. Each limited edition bottle of rare 30 year old Macallan Fine Oak single malt displays a bespoke label featuring one of the Rankin images, accompanied by the original Polaroid. This collection of 1,000 unique, individual works of art is a world first and will be sold by luxury retailers worldwide.

The Macallan is ranked number two by value[1] among the world’s top selling single malts and is recognised as being a leader within the Scotch Whisky industry when it comes to innovation. Fine Oak now accounts for one in every four bottles of all sales of The Macallan, just five years after its launch. It has been the most successful, truly new Single Malt brand launch in history and is the whisky contained in The Masters of Photography bottle featuring the label shot by Rankin.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts, The Edrington Group, said: “Our partnership with Rankin really is something different and daring for the Scotch whisky sector due to the range of images that will be featured on the bottle labels and we believe that there will be huge demand from consumers wanting to own a Masters of Photography bottle. In fact bottles of The Macallan are already highly prized by collectors. The 1926 vintage from The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection was bought for US$70,000 by a private buyer in South Korea in 2005. In the same year we launched an extremely rare 50 year old whisky in a Lalique crystal decanter and have subsequently seen examples of the decanter for sale at double its original price of £3,500.

“Demand for The Macallan’s range of premium whiskies has increased by 87 per cent over the last five years, particularly in our overseas markets and we have increased our production at The Macallan distillery to keep pace with this. We anticipate that The Masters of Photography bottle will generate interest amongst a wider consumer audience and will prove highly collectable both by whisky and art lovers.”

The unique bottle comes presented in a black leather box, lined with velvet and containing an original Rankin Polaroid. Each bottle will have an individually printed label which matches the specific Polaroid contained within the box and a booklet of authenticity signed by Rankin.

The array of images captured by Rankin is breathtaking, depicting a range of locations around The Macallan estate, including Easter Elchies House, the distillery, dedicated craftspeople and still life images of the surrounding flora and fauna. Many of the images are further enhanced with artistic nude studies, featuring Tuuli, Rankin’s muse.

The Macallan Fine Oak is triple cask matured in a unique, complex combination of exceptional oak casks. This triple cask maturation is exclusive to The Macallan and combines European oak casks seasoned with sherry, American oak casks seasoned with sherry and American oak casks seasoned with bourbon to deliver an extraordinary smooth, delicate, yet complex Single Malt.

The Macallan Masters of Photography Fine Oak 30 year old bottles will be available for purchase throughout the world, and will be launched in Russia, Singapore, Korea and the USA over the next few months. In the UK, The Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin Edition can be purchased exclusively at luxury retailers for £899 (RRP).

The Macallan Masters of Photography will be unveiled this evening at a launch party in London. An exhibition of the images featured on the limited edition bottles will be on show from 10am – 6pm, Friday 14 to Sunday 16 November, at the Huntingdon Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP.

www.themastersofphotography.com

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

12 Nov
2008

Sainsbury's revamps malt whisky fixture

Sainsbury's is redesigning its whisky shelves in a bid to encourage consumers to try out new whiskies rather than stick to the same old tipples.

The retailer has worked with Diageo to re-categorise the sector, which was previously organised by region, and 250 stores will now merchandise by four profiles: light & floral, fruity & spicy, rich & rounded and full-bodied & smoky.

The system is based on Diageo's Malt Map, launched in October 2007 to simplify the category for confused consumers. Sainsbury's will also be making the Malt Map available for consumers on-shelf.

The new-look shelves will be unveiled tomorrow in time for the Christmas period - 65% of malt whisky consumers buy only one bottle a year, with most of those purchases at Christmas.

"Our research has shown that customers tend to keep buying the same malt whiskies rather than experimenting," said spirits buyer Michael Luck. "This initiative will help them buy a whisky they'll enjoy every time."

The Malt Map was designed in conjunction with whisky expert Dave Broom and uses a grid system to explain different flavours.

Article Courtesy of The Grocer

 

The Grocer

11 Nov
2008

Strike ballot papers sent out to Aberlour firm’s staff

Drivers to vote on action over pay

STRIKE ballot papers were sent out to workers at a Moray haulage company yesterday.

Almost 100 drivers at McPherson of Aberlour, who are part of the union Unite, are voting on industrial action in a row over pay.

Unite wants the company to increase the hourly rate of £8.48 for lorry drivers to £12 an hour and it is also looking to raise the overtime rate above £8.75. But this had been refused by McPherson. Talks have been ongoing between the union and company, one of Scotland’s biggest distributing companies, to negotiate suitable rates.

A McPherson spokeswoman said the current downturn of the economy needed to be considered for any new pay package.

The family-owned haulage company specialises in distributing whisky and other spirits and has more than 400 vehicles.

A Unite spokesman said the union regretted the need for the ballot but they backed a vote for industrial action.The result of the ballot will be known in a few days.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

11 Nov
2008

Whisky family’s jewellery to bring cheer to charity

Unusual cufflinks among auction items

JEWELLERY belonging to a wealthy Highland whisky family goes on display today, before it is put up for auction next month.

The items, including an unusual pair of cufflinks and an art deco brooch, were owned by the late Phyllis Mary Cattanach, the daughter of Lorimer Cattanach, who made his fortune in the whisky business.

Any money made on the pieces, which are to be sold by Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh on December 2, will go to the Cattanach Charitable Trust, a children’s charity established by Miss Cattanach in 1992.

The 18-carat novelty cufflinks, enamelled with a west Highland terrier by Rood of London, have been valued at between £250 and £300.

An art deco diamond brooch with a pear-cut diamond, flanked on either side by European diamonds, and made by Edward and Sons of Glasgow, is expected to make between £1,500 and £2,000. Valuers expect a matching diamond ring with an old European cut diamond and cultured pearl to fetch up to £2,000.

The Cattanach family, originally from Largs, moved to Kirkton, Grantown, in 1926, and their substantial house was built by Lorimer Cattanach to a design by the Paisley architects Cook and Hamilton.

Mr Cattanach, his wife and two children, Phyllis Mary and Alec, lived at Kirkton and were served by six staff including a butler, a cook and four maids.

The house has recently been sold, with many of the original features of its Edwardian heyday intact.

The Cattanach Charitable Trust believes that helping young children and improving their wellbeing can bring about a healthier and happier community, and the trust’s focus for the next four years will be on organisations and projects which offer hope of a better life to children, especially those aged under 10, and their families and communities.

The jewellery will be on display at Pollok House, Pollokshaws, Glasgow, from today for three days.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

10 Nov
2008

A Warm Whisky Welcome Marks the Beginning of a Dram Good Festival!

Barrels of Tickets Launched For ‘Spirit of the West’ – A Homecoming Scotland event on the west coast

Tickets have gone on sale and a website has launched for an inaugural whisky culture event that is welcoming the world home to the west coast of Scotland next May 2009. Celebrity chef Nick Nairn, Scottish band Ceilidh Minogue, Food from Argyll, along with all 16 distilleries on the west coast, are already confirmed for Spirit of the West. The event will showcase Scotland’s west coast culture and is set to be the flagship Homecoming Scotland 2009 event for the region.

To mark the beginning of the event campaign, the Duke of Argyll was joined by local people from various industries at Inveraray Castle, the Duke’s stately home and the event venue. Together they toasted a welcoming dram to the world, inviting Scots and enthusiasts from all over the globe to join the celebration next year.

6000 people are expected at the event on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May which is held during Homecoming Scotland 2009’s Whisky Month. The audience will be packed with culture vultures, whisky lovers, foodies, family tree explorers, tartan fashion followers and Scottish music fans – or those who simply love Scotland.

The Whisky Coast, the team behind Spirit of the West, have planned to entertain the masses with six themed marquees for the event including Whisky, Hospitality, Food & Drink, Music & Fashion, History & Heritage & a Crafts Village. Open air activities including golf and Walking Theatre historical trails are also lined up for the big weekend.

A grand Whisky Coast Ceilidh, from 7pm till midnight on the Saturday night, will celebrate the Spirit of the West with a Rabbie Burns Supper, charity auction, after dinner music from Ceilidh Minogue and, of course, lots of traditional ceilidh dancing! Additional ceilidh tickets cost £65 per person, for over 18s only, with a percentage of the proceeds going to a chosen charity.

The star attraction, The Whisky Coast Marquee, is hosting the over 18s Whisky Theatre where 10 whisky masterclasses with key industry figures and nosings & tastings of peaty and smoky golds will take place. The marquee will include 16 world famous whisky distillers, from Arran in the south all the way up to Talisker on the Isle of Skye. On the other side of the marquee, The Dram Room will be open to all ages, with competitions, quizzes, storytelling, demonstrations and an oyster bar.

A diverse selection of art, fashion and music, in association with The Fiddler’s Workshop, Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmakers and The Walking Theatre Company, will be staged in the Spirit of Dram(a) marquee. Traditional and contemporary Scottish bands, both local and national and highland dancers will perform for the crowds while models in tartan attire, currently a major fashion trend, will take to the catwalk to represent west coast clan tartans.

Joined by celebrity Nick Nairn on Sunday 17th May, The Taste of the West marquee plans to cook up a treat, bringing food & drink from up and down the west coast of Scotland to mouth watering pallets. Meats, seafood, confectionery, bakery, wines and beers from high quality, local & fresh suppliers will be available over the weekend.

The Play, Stay & Enjoy marquees will showcase the quality of Scotland’s hospitality industry. These will house a Tranquillity Zone full of hotel style spa treatments and beauty services, a Cookery Theatre with guest chef demonstrations & cook offs and kids entertainment with ancient historic characters.

The Spirits of the Past Marquee will bring the history and heritage of the West Coast of Scotland under one roof, giving visitors the chance to trace their clan roots and learn more about west coast history and the battles won and lost. Then from jewels to wools, the Crafts Village marquee will be jam packed with Scottish treasures. Jewellery, cashmere & woollens, soaps, sculptures, artwork and hand-made products, all unique to the west coast of Scotland, will be showcased by their own craftsfolk.

Spirit of the West tickets are now available to buy via www.seetickets.com/spiritofthewest or www.homecomingscotland2009.com. Standard adult ticket prices are £14 per day or £22 for the weekend. Family, concession and children tickets are also available. Whisky masterclasses cost an extra £10 per class. Ceilidh tickets cost £65 per person. Both must be booked in advance.

For more information on ticket prices and regular event announcements, please visit the event’s brand new website www.spiritofthewest.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

10 Nov
2008

Malt named World Whisky of the Year

Islay’s Ardbeg distillery scoops title for second year in a row

A SINGLE malt whisky from Ardbeg Distillery on the island of Islay has been named World Whisky of the Year.

This follows the success of the distillery’s flagship Ardbeg Ten Years Old which scooped the same honour this year.

The award comes with the publication of the sixth annual edition of whisky authority and writer Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. A favourite with whisky aficionados, barmen and connoisseurs around the world Jim Murray has nosed and re-tasted a staggering 1,500 whiskies over the past year.

The Whisky Bible 2009 contains 3,850 whisky-tasting notes in all. Ardbeg Uigeadail received 97.5 points out of 100, the highest yet rating awarded by Murray.

The dram was described as being “mind-boggling complex", and “one of the great moments in my whisky life”.

Ardbeg brand director Hamish Torrie said: “Jim’s accolade of identifying Ardbeg Uigeadail as the best whisky in the world delights all of us who work on Ardbeg.

“It is a tribute to the consistency, dedication and sheer skill of the team at the distillery, and our whisky creation team, led by Dr Bill Lumsden and Rachel Barrie.

“What really pleases us about winning the double is that both are not rare, unattainable connoisseur whiskies costing hundreds of pounds.”

Uigeadail – in Gaelic it means “dark, mysterious place” – is a regular favourite among Islay whisky connoisseurs.

The award win is further endorsement of The Glenmorangie Company’s decision to re-focus its activities on developing innovative products for its highly successful premium single malt Scotch whisky brands, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. The recently announced strategy is part of a two-year investment programme which will see the company relocate its headquarters to central Edinburgh, build a new bottling facility and expand capacity at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg Distilleries.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

08 Nov
2008

Society Toasts 25th Anniversary with Luxury New Look

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary in true style, as it launches a distinctive new look. The introduction of a beautiful new bottle, sophisticated new Membership Box, exciting new website and the largest ever bottling list gives members even more of a reason to indulge in the true Society experience.

The elegant dark green bottle was specially commissioned for the Society. It features a distinctive new style and design, but retains the characteristic charm to match the quality of the single cask, single malt whisky it contains. Due to popular demand the new design now includes an individual tasting note on each bottle, alongside the whisky's name and the Society's unique cask and distillery coding to help people choose their whisky more easily.

The new bottles are on sale online at www.smws.co.uk with the Society's largest ever release of single casks, as a special offer for members. The new winter bottling list, 'Outturn', contains 43 different casks from 41 different distilleries, ranging in age from 5 to 40 years old, offering a chance to taste from every region in Scotland.

Every bottling in 'Outturn' has been sampled and passed under the noses of the Society's Tasting Panel and appears in an entertaining new format with amusing new tasting notes, and great names such as 'Dab it Behind your ears' or 'Frisky Whisky', to add even more fun to the Society whisky experience, and encourage the malt whisky enthusiast to guess the origin of the dram, without knowing the distillery.

The introduction of the Membership Box adds another touch of indulgence for new members. The beautiful new box is full of Society goodies, with much to whet the appetite, including four of the most delicious single cask 10cl tasting malts, personally selected by the Society’s whisky manager.

It also contains a Member's Handbook which includes all the information required to explore the unique world of the Society; a Society Notebook to scribble down their own take on aromas and flavours, or anything else for that matter; and a membership card which allows them to enjoy the Society all year round!

For those tempted to find out more about what tasty whisky treats await them, they can visit www.smws.co.uk to see how the Society has introduced a whole new way to explore the world of single cask, single malt whisky.

New members can sign up online quickly and easily to enjoy membership perks. They can buy online, picking from the 20 new bottlings featured every month, get hints and tips from the Society's experts about when and how to enjoy the perfect dram, and find out about the latest events and tastings taking place around the country to be sure they never miss out!

The website also features a specialist members' section called ‘Your Society Adventure', which gives access to exclusive information from the Society. This includes the online version of 'Unfiltered', the new Society magazine covering all things whisky related; a dedicated news section and an historical article and tasting note archive dating back to the Society's earliest beginnings..

Paul Miles, managing director of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said: “We wanted to mark our 25th anniversary and give members and ourselves a present. The new bottle offers the contemporary touch that malt whisky lovers all over the world now expect, and our new website will give more malt whisky lovers across the world a chance to enter into the Society world and experience its magic.

"We are looking ahead to the next 25 years with a great sense of excitement, inviting people to join in the adventure that Society membership offers. With our new bottle, membership pack and website, we are looking forward to extending our one of a kind whisky experience to members wherever they are in the world."

Membership of the Society costs £100 for the first year, which includes the special gift of the exclusive Membership Box. Annual renewal thereafter costs from £49.50.

To apply for membership to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society please visit www.smws.co.uk or call 0131 555 2929.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

07 Nov
2008

Glenglassaugh Distillery joins Scotch Whisky Association

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company has become a member of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

The Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy, Aberdeenshire was recently acquired by European investment house the Scaent Group and work is currently underway to re-open the facility for production later this year.

"At Glenglassaugh we believe that we have a unique opportunity to breathe life back into a hidden gem," said Glenglassaugh managing director Stuart Nickerson today (7 July). "The SWA is of vital importance to the whisky industry and we recognise the part they play in ensuring that brands like ours become part of Scotland's future whisky heritage."

Glenglassaugh, led by Nickerson, has recruited a new team including former manager Graham Eunson as distillery manager and whisky expert Ian Buxton as marketing consultant.

SWA spokesman David Williamson said: "That Scotch Whisky is to be distilled again at Glenglassaugh is good news for the industry. We are delighted Stuart and his team are going to play their part at industry level and welcome them as the SWA's 54th member company."

Article Courtesy of Just Drinks

 

just-drinks

06 Nov
2008

Scotch Malt Whisky Society is cream of the crop at whisky awards

2008 is shaping up to be a very good year for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, as it scooped the most prizes at the Whisky Magazine awards last week - just in time for its 25th Anniversary celebrations.

The Society achieved nine accolades, which included three golds and four silvers, in the Independent Bottler's Challenge (IBC) clearly demonstrating the superb quality of the single cask, single malt whisky that it offers.

Passed under some of the most scrupulous noses in the world before even being bottled for the Society, the specially selected malt whiskies faced a rigorous blind tasting from the panel of experts to decide which ones came out on top at the Whisky Magazine awards.

Paul Miles, Managing Director of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, commented: "We are very pleased that such a number of our bottlings have achieved award recognition. We pride ourselves on offering the finest selection of single cask, single malt whiskies available anywhere, and these awards just add credibility to that claim. Being recognised in a number of categories by some of the most well regarded experts in the industry is a very positive endorsement for the Society."

A small quantity of some of the award winners remain available for members to buy.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

06 Nov
2008

Global demand forces LCBO to scratch scotches from liquor list

The insatiable demand for scotch whisky in China, India and Russia has tipped three popular brands from the shelves of Ontario liquor stores, and will drive up the prices of several popular single-malts.

Johnnie Walker Green Label, Black & White Blended Scotch Whisky and Bell's Scotch Whisky will no longer be available in LCBO outlets once current supplies are gone, probably by year end, a spokesman confirmed yesterday.

The sobering news comes after liquor distributor Diageo Canada, a branch of the world's largest alcohol group, told the LCBO that if it wanted to continue to sell many of its products it would have to pay more to compete with growing markets abroad.

The LCBO agreed to meet Diageo's demands in some cases, but apparently balked when it came to the three brands to be discontinued.

That also means the Diageo-distributed products the LCBO will continue to sell are likely to go up in price by amounts that will vary depending on the brand. Some of those brands include high-end single malt scotches such as Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Oban, Talisker, Lagavulin, Gragganmore and Brora, as well as Johnnie Walker's Red, Blue, Gold and Black labels.

Some of the more expensive brands are made by small distilleries that can only produce limited quantities, which drives up demand and prices.

"Essentially it was out of our control," LCBO spokesman Chris Layton said yesterday. "Diageo came to us and said the demand from places like China, India and Russia was outstripping its ability to supply them."

He said Diageo is simply selling to the buyers willing to pay the most.

It could be worse. In several other provinces, including New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, even more brands will no longer be available. New Brunwick is losing 11 brands, for instance.

The move comes as burgeoning middle classes in China, India, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam look for new ways to spend their money. According to a British economic analysis published in March, China's spirits market alone is expected to be worth $50 billion U.S. by 2011. India's market is growing by more than 15 per cent a year, and could exceed $35 billion by the end of next year.

The sheer size of those markets can make it difficult for Canadian liquor buyers and sellers - even those as large as the LCBO, whose total alcohol sales are worth more than $3.5 billion annually - to stay in the game.

"It's the bad side of success," Frank Scott, owner of an award-winning whisky bar in Fredericton, told the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. "Scotch has always been seen as a success product and with incomes growing, people want the American dream."

Mr. Scott believes that London-based Diageo, which has been focusing on Asia-Pacific markets for the past few years, will eventually re-offer some of its products in Canada. But he thinks drinkers might have moved along to new brands.

Mr. Layton said that even with the cuts, the LCBO will continue to sell more than 200 varieties of scotch, the largest selection in Canada.

Article Courtesy of Canada.com

 

Canada.com

05 Nov
2008

Aberlour haulier’s drivers to vote over strike action

Moray firm hit by pay dispute

LORRY drivers from a Moray transport company will be balloted over industrial action in a row over pay.

Unite union members from McPherson of Aberlour will vote on strike action on Monday.

Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, is supporting a vote for industrial action because its supporters feel that lorry drivers are not being paid enough.

Almost 100 lorry drivers at McPherson are working at an hourly rate of £8.48 but Unite is looking to increase this pay as part of its national campaign to obtain a rate of £12 an hour. The union also wants to increase the current overtime rate for drivers, which is £8.75 an hour.

Unite regional industrial officer Tommy Campbell said: “Professional lorry drivers at this Scottish haulage company have suffered low wages for too long. Their current pay does not match what we believe should be paid for the professional responsibilities they have to carry out when working on the road.”

McPherson has more than 400 vehicles operating across Scotland and specialises in distributing whisky and other spirits.

Julie Benson, human resource manager for McPherson, said: “We are in talks with Unite regarding drivers’ wages. The downturn of the economy has an impact on any business which is something that has to be taken into account when putting together a sustainable offer. The company has put a number of offers to the drivers and we look forward to sitting down with the union to discuss an equitable solution.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

04 Nov
2008

Green light for Diageo's £65m biomass energy plant

Whisky producer Diageo has won planning permission for its £65 million biomass energy project that aims to generate energy from by-products of the company's distillery in Fife.

The planned plant at Cameron Bridge, near Glenrothes, would generate about 5.5MW of electricity from around 90,000 tonnes a year of waste products generated by the distilling process.

It will use a combination of anaerobic digestion and conventional biomass combustion.

The plant will be built over the next two years by energy company Dalkia, after which point it will transfer to Diageo's ownership under a finance lease, with Dalkia continuing to operate it.

As well as generating around 80% of the electricity and 98% of the steam needed to run the distillery, the new plant will also clean up the effluent discharge from the production process. Planners noted that the discharge had too high a biomass content within it to continue being dumped into the River Forth.

The facility will see biomass removed from the distillery effluent - a mixture of wheat, malted barley, yeast and water - burned to generate heat and energy for the distillery.

The water left behind from the removal of the biomass will then be subjected to anaerobic digestion - where nutrients within it are broken down by bacteria - to produce a biogas, which can also be used to generate energy.

"Worthwhile"

Planners at Fife council said of the biomass project: "This is a significant business investment and a worthwhile renewable energy project that fulfils the twin aspirations of increasing the amount of heat and energy produced from renewable sources and improving the quality of the waste water that enters the Firth of Forth via the long sea outfall."

The council's planning committee approved the project with a number of flood prevention conditions attached.

Diageo, which makes Johnnie Walker as well as other brands of whisky, produces about 100 million litres of spirits at the Cameron Bridge site each year. The company said the use of the biomass energy plant to generate energy would save the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions each year to taking 44,000 cars off the road.

The new renewable energy plant is also expected to create around 20 permanent jobs.

Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland, welcomed the planning consent, saying: "The bioenergy facility will harness a variety of green technologies in a project of an unprecedented scale in our industry. It is without question the right way forward in terms of Diageo's environmental ambitions. It also secures the long-term sustainability of our operation at Cameronbridge, moving the site away from reliance on fossil fuels."

Diageo's partner Dalkia is part of the French-owned environmental services company Veolia Environnement, with its UK office in Staines.

Article Courtesy of New Energy Focus

 

New Energy Focus

03 Nov
2008

Whyte & Mackay to launch premium whisky

Whyte & Mackay is attempting to tap into the premium whisky market with the release of The Dalmore 50-year old vintage malt. The whisky is being released as a limited edition.

The brewer claims the ageing malt includes whisky first distilled 140 years ago. Only 191 bottles will be available from luxury retailers, with a recommended retail price of around £700 a unit. The drink will be packaged in hand-blown, Portuguese crystal decanters.

A further 50 bottles will be available through the travel retail sector, which will come with limited edition, numbered, silver neck tags.

A full size 70cl bottle of the 52.8% alcohol volume whisky will cost consumers around £5000.

Whyte & Mackay says the drink tastes of orange peel and liquorice initially, with an after-taste of crushed almonds and cinnamon.

The Dalmore master distiller, Richard Patterson, says: "We believe the time is right to illuminate the brilliant, and ignite desire in the world of luxury."

Article Courtesy of Marketing Week

 

Marketing Week

02 Nov
2008

Whisky blender has nose insured for £1.5m

MASTER whisky blender Richard Paterson's bosses go all out to ensure he doesn't catch cold in winter.

For the dram expert's nostrils are so sensitive they are insured for £1.5million.

Richard, 59, is known simply as The Nose in distilleries for his skills - he can detect the slightest scent on the breeze.

It is a talent that helps him select the tones and flavours that make the perfect whisky.

The dad-of-three said: "I saw myself named in a list of people with valuable body parts.

"There was a porn star who'd insured her breasts for £5million and Rod Stewart whose vocal chords were insured for £3million - then there was me and my nose, which was a bit strange."

Richard, of Glasgow, is master blender at Whyte & Mackay and created the world's most expensive bottle of whisky - a 62-year-old Dalmore Single Highland Malt that sold for nearly £26,000 in 2002.

He has now written his autobiography - Goodness Nose - about his remarkable career.

Richard said: "I've been doing this for 40 years and I'm still passionate about whisky.

"I don't mind they call me The Nose. I just wish people would use their nostrils more.

"There's a whole world to be discovered. You can smell whatever is in the atmosphere."

But Richard admits he used to hate a dram and his first job with a whisky firm was as a telephonist.

He said: "My father used to come back late at night and I could smell whisky on his breath. Maybe my memories made me feel I didn't like it before I got to know it."

Article Courtesy of Sunday Mail

 

Sunday Mail

01 Nov
2008

BenRiach voted 'Whisky distiller of the year' 2009

BenRiach Distillery was last night (Thurs 30th Oct) crowned ‘Whisky Distiller of the Year’ at the annual ‘Icons of Whisky Scotland’ Awards, at a lavish ceremony held at Oran Mor in Glasgow’s West End.

The ‘Icons of Whisky’ is an annual event, organised by Whisky Magazine, and recognises the great and the good from the various whisky producing regions of the world. BenRiach, as winners of the ‘Whisky Distiller of the Year’ for Icons of Whisky Scotland, will now go on to compete with the regional winners from Ireland, USA, Canada, Japan and the Rest of the World for the title of ‘Overall Whisky Distiller of the Year’.

The category attracted stiff competition, with the likes of Glenmorangie, Benromach, Chivas Bros, Diageo, Glenrothes, Highland Park, Whyte & MacKay and William Grant all nominated.

BenRiach’s Managing Director Billy Walker, who was on hand to collect the award, commented:

‘This is a fantastic achievement for a private, independent company, and is recognition for the creative and innovative things that we have been doing at BenRiach over the last four years. It also reflects hugely the high quality of the team we have built at The BenRiach Distillery Company.’

The award caps of an incredible 12 months for the company, coming exactly one year to the day that BenRiach were awarded the title of ‘Distillery of the Year’ at US-based Malt Advocate Magazine’s 2007 Whisky Awards in New York, an accolade that was open to whisky producers from all corners of the globe.

It also follows The BenRiach Distillery Company’s recent acquisition of The Glendronach Distillery from Chivas Brothers, a major milestone in the development of the company. The purchase of Glendronach, which is located near Forgue, Aberdeenshire, was completed in August 2008.

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

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

BenRiach is available in a variety of expressions ranging from 10 to 40 years old, and, unusually for a Speyside distillery, BenRiach produces whiskies distilled from both non-peated and peated malted barley. The brand is now available in over 30 countries world-wide, and key markets include the UK, Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Japan, Taiwan, the US and Canada.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release
October 2008 Scotch Whisky News

31 Oct
2008

Chivas sales help boost parent

The Glenlivet among best-performing brands

FRENCH drink giant Pernod Ricard hailed the performance of key whisky brands including the Glenlivet, Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s during the first quarter of its trading year.

Pernod said yesterday sales of The Glenlivet, distilled near Ballindalloch on Speyside, were up 27% in value, compared with a year earlier. Sales of Chivas Regal, produced at Strathisla distillery at Keith, rose by 11% and Ballantine’s – made and bottled near Dumbarton – grew by 9%.

Pernod’s best performing key brand during the first quarter was Perrier-Jouet champagne, sales of which soared by 29%.

Christian Porta, chief executive of Paisley-based subsidiary Chivas Brothers, said: "The performance of the Chivas brands during this first quarter, particularly Chivas Regal, Ballantine's and The Glenlivet has contributed to healthy growth for the group as a whole and is encouraging in the current context of economic challenges being experienced in our markets.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

30 Oct
2008

Whisky: Drop of the hard stuff goes down well in hard times

For makers of uisge beatha, the Celtic drink today known as whisky, it may turn out to be the best of times.

As newspaper columnists debate who will be most severely afflicted by the sinking global economy, whisky distillers are being compared favourably with investment bankers and computer engineers.

“This is not a time to be in Silicon Valley,” wrote Paul Kennedy, a history professor at Yale University in an article on the “unintended consequences” of the recent financial crisis in the International Herald Tribune earlier this month. “Better by far to be producing single-malt Scotch whisky. At least you can sip it.”

Making single malts is exactly what distillers are doing as they try to get people to think of Scotch whisky as an “affordable” luxury.

Even as they cut back on expensive cars, homes and boats, consumers can still find a little spare cash for a few bottles of Scotch each year, claims Martin Riley, international marketing director for Chivas Brothers, which includes The Glenlivet among its brands. “The world will still continue to want Scotch whisky,” he asserts. “It’s a very versatile drink.”

Mr Riley says Chivas has been “inundated with orders” after releasing a 25-year old version of its Chivas Regal blended Scotch whisky a year ago. Packaged in a black cardboard box with a red velour interior, and including tasting notes, it sells for $300 in the US and $600 in Russia, one of the French group’s fastest-growing markets.

Indeed, although exports of Scotch fell by sales volume in the year to August (down 3 per cent), they are up in terms of sales value. Total shipments rose 13 per cent to £1.86bn ($2.98bn) compared to shipments of £1.65bn in the same period a year ago, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

Campbell Evans, the association’s director of government and consumer affairs, says the drop in sales volumes reflects a decline in shipments of so-called “bulk” whisky (sold to buyers who bottle the whisky under their own labels). But exports of more expensive single malt whiskies have been increasing, up more than 18 per cent this year to £293.7m, as have exports of blended Scotch, up 14 per cent to £1.48bn.

The biggest source of demand for these kinds of whiskies is emerging markets. The Macallan distillery, a single malt owned by The Edrington Group, is investing £40m bringing a disused stillhouse back into production and building two new warehouses to cater for overseas demand, particularly in its biggest market, Taiwan.

Meanwhile whisky group Glenmorangie is investing £45m developing its core single malt brands Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, and pulling back from from bulk whisky production.

In the UK, whisky sales have been stagnating with so-called “clearances” – the amount of whisky taken out of bond for sale – flat at 3.8m cases in the year to the end of July (although the whisky industry’s best-selling season, Christmas, is yet to come).

Charles Allen, global malt whisky director at Diageo, says Europe remains a “tough and difficult market” for spirits due to weakening economies and smoking bans (which have kept some people out of bars and pubs), but sales are booming in Asia. “A lot of people want to express their social standing through the acquisition of imported products,” he says, adding that one of the ways they can do this is “having a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label planted in the middle of the table”.

Diageo, the world’s biggest single producer of Scotch whisky, is trying to make single malt whisky more accessible by giving people information on how whiskies taste. It encourages shopkeepers to show customers a “flavour map” which describes what different brands of whiskies taste like, with some tending towards “dry smoke pepperyness” and others to a “floral, herbal, grassy freshness.”

The group trialled the map in the UK a few years ago and is now distributing it globally. “We want people to market the drinks around the flavour rather than the provenance,” Mr Allen says.

Diageo is also trying to attract people to single malts with its “Singleton” brand. First developed for sale in Asia, the company links the brand with specific distilleries, such as Dufftown in Speyside, and then sells a whisky called “The Singleton of Dufftown” with information about where it is made. Diageo is now selling Singletons in the UK, and will shortly start selling them in the US.

Article Courtesy of FT.com

 

FT.com

29 Oct
2008

Royal whisky firm set for £15m expansion

THE firm who make Prince Charles's whisky are to invest £15million centralising their global marketing operations in Scotland, creating 20 jobs.

International Beverage Holdings, parent firm of Inver House Distillers, employ 150 people in Scotland.

Their Airdrie team will be responsible for brands including Barrogill, chosen by the prince and launched last year.

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

29 Oct
2008

Single Malt Whisky: To Age or Not to Age?

Scottish distillers are getting more playful with what they add to their whiskies and how long they leave them in the cask

Bill Lumsden, the head of distilling and whiskey creation for Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton's (LVMH.PA) Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single-malt whiskies is a character. Not that the whisky business isn't full of creative, irascible, intriguing folks in charge of keeping our glasses filled. But having played a preposterous party game with Lumsden and others until 3 a.m. one night last May and drank from the spring that supplies Glenmorangie, I feel confident that Lumsden will have no problem getting his portion of the angel's share of whisky when he is in heaven.

Like any good distiller, Lumsden loves to play with aging his whiskies in different kinds of woods and fooling about with the mash mix. He is relentlessly curious about flavor in his whisky expressions without resorting to simple aging in oak. "I refuse to be slave to long aging when it comes to creating premium, exciting products," Lumsden told me during my recent trip to Glenmorangie in Tain, a breathtaking spot on the east coast of Scotland where poets and lovers of the sea and honey-like whisky will think they had died and gone to heaven

He has a point. Blended whiskies get along without outing an age statement on their highest volume products. The consistency of taste of, say, Pernod Ricard's (PERP.PA) Chivas Regal or Diageo's (DEO) Johnnie Walker is what makes them great and successful. That consistency is achieved by blending sometimes up to 50 single malt and grain whiskeys from as many distilleries. Single-malt distilleries like Glenmorangie blend only their own whiskies to achieve their expressions.

Glenmorangie has just released Signet from Lumsden's laboratory, a non-age stated audacious expression that will run you $185 for a 750 ml bottle. No age statement? The nerve! Is it worth it? I'd have to say, yes.

Blended Whiskies
Lumsden, who was still being mysterious about the product last May when we spoke, said it would be a "voluptuous" product. Voluptuous? Makes me think of chocolate, not whisky. But therein lies the secret. Lumsden, who has been tinkering with this whisky for a decade, has married barley grown on the Glenmorangie land with a chocolate malt to create the mash. He has also blended some of the distillery's whiskies of various ages that have been aged in a variety of woods�presumably sherry casks, wine casks, and the like. Being part of LVMH gives Lumsden quite a selection of casks to choose from throughout the company's portfolio of wines and spirits. (The Paris-based luxury conglomerate's other wine and spirits holding include such brands as Dom Perignon, Hennessy, Chateau d'Yquem, and Chopin vodka.)

The taste: Deep in the background of Signet I detect the honey and vaguely mineral taste of Glenmorangie. But then you also get deeper flavors of leather and chocolate that are what sets it apart from the rest of the portfolio. As Lumsden is almost fanatical about creating complex tastes, it is no surprise that I also get a touch of the sherry, as well as a bit of apple and marmalade in my nose. There's even a wee bit of maple. And it makes me wonder if Lumsden tapped a magical mapley barrel I sampled in his storage barn—a 17-year-old that had been sitting in a sherry barrel for seven years.

While the taste is pleasing, there is, I admit, the absence of smoothness or a long finish that I associate with longer aging. The difference between a well-crafted and carefully barreled 15-year-old whisky and a 20-year-old is often the added smoothness. Without knowing all the ages of the whiskies Lumsden used in Signet, I'm guessing most of the whiskies were between six and 12 years old, with some younger and older ones blended as well.

More Than Time In A BottleLumsden and I spoke last May about the shortage of whiskies aged 15 to 30 years in Scotland these days and the emphasis on whiskies older than 20 years getting the big prices. "This is where, I think, the integrity of a brand, comes into play," said Lumsden. "It doesn't take a genius to leave a whisky in a barrel for 20 years, provided you have chosen the barrel well in the first place." He added: "A good, creative distiller will find a way to make a superior single-malt using whiskies as young as five and six years old."

It's an important notion these days. If a distillery puts an age-statement on a bottle, it has to reflect the youngest age whisky used in the expression. So, if Lumsden used whisky as young as six years old (remember some blended whiskies use three-year-olds) and he wanted to use an age statement, he could only use "six-year old" even if there is also 20-year-old Glenmorangie whisky in Signet.

The shortage of older whiskies has come about because of lower production of whisky in Scotland in the mid- 1980s to the mid-1990s. But starting in the late 1990s, appreciation of single-malt Scotch spiked in the U.S., Great Britain, Central Europe, Japan, and emerging economies such as Russia, India, and China.

Lumsden is not the only one looking to expand his portfolio without being a slave to long-aged whisky. Ardmore, a Speyside distillery, has burst onto the single-malt scene with its first commercial release, called Traditional Cask. Ardmore has long been supplying Teacher's Blended Scotch with its whisky. Two years ago it released its own brand. It is noteworthy for being perhaps the only Speyside single malt with a distinctive peaty side. "We will launch age-stated whiskies, but I didn't want the first big product under our own brand to be so narrowly defined," said Alistair Longwell, distillery manager at Ardmore. Traditional cask has a bold nose and lovely taste notes of vanilla and caramel held up by the just-right amount of smoke. The ages of the whisky in Traditional Cask are between six and 12 years. It retails for $45 to $50.

Highland Distillery
Another product due soon without an age statement is from Speyburn, a Highland distillery known for light grassy, honey-kissed whisky. Speyburn's main expression is its 10-year-old, which retails for $22 for a 750 ml. The strategic reason to do it, said the owners, is to give its 10-year-old whisky some room to price higher. In other words, the new product will be priced perhaps at around $16 to $20, allowing the 10-year-old to move up to nearer $30 per bottle. I tasted the new expression, which has not yet been released, which included whiskies aged as little as four and five years. It is, as you would expect, grassier than the 10-year-old. But I liked it, and I recommend keeping an eye out for it. It reminded me of the Ardbeg gambit done successfully by Lumsden when he released expressions of that Islay whisky aged less than 10 years as, among the names, Ardbeg "Very Young" and "Almost There." I think it was a bit easier for a meaty and peaty whisky like Ardbeg to carry it off than it will be for a more subtle Highlander like Speyburn. But connoisseurs are encouraged to work it out for themselves.

Bowmore, an Islay distillery, also has a non-age statement product called "Legend." Like Speyburn's strategy, Legend, at about $24 for a 750 ml bottle, is priced less than the distillery's age-stated offerings .

The first single malt to come out of Wales in a century also is taking the non-age stated route. Penderyn, introduced in 2004 in Britain and in 2006 in the U.S., carries no age statement on its principal product for which it charges about $70. The whiskies in the bottle are three-to-five-years-olds and have been finished in Madeira barrels for a few months. Master distiller Jim Swan is almost defiant in defending his strategy. "The taste of Penderyn is exactly right and true to our vision, and it wouldn't be if we aged it for 10 or 15 years."

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

28 Oct
2008

That's The Spirit

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN has turned his designer eye to whisky - creating a limited edition "couture" bottle of Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, just in time for Christmas.

Marrying his own regal aesthetic with that of the Chivas Regal brand, McQueen's design features royal blue leather detailing and comes topped with a hand-enamelled cap.

"This is a piece of art which reflects the luxury and craftsmanship values of what Haute Couture is all about," comments the designer. "You can see my signature 'stamp' with the blue leather 'dress' and the Union Jack colours. I have created a rare collector's item that those with an eye for design will want to keep."

That's if they manage to get their hands on one; the bottles come individually numbered in a strictly limited edition run of 2,000 and are available exclusively from Selfridges, priced £300.

Article Courtesy of Vogue

 

Vogue

24 Oct
2008

Home market boosts Laing

Douglas Laing, the Glasgow-based independent bottler and blender that once supplied whisky to former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, yesterday reported a boost in its pre-tax profits on the back of a recent push in the domestic market.

The company, which also has a bottling facility in East Kilbride and specialises in the single cask and "small batch" malt sector of the market, posted pre-tax profits of £472,000 for the year to the end of March, compared with £388,000 last time.

The majority of the company's sales is to the export market, but recently the UK focus has made it Douglas Laing's best market.

Turnover at the company fell to £3.6m, compared with £3.8m the year before.

The company's products, which are sold in top-notch outlets such as Fortnum & Mason, the Whisky Shops group, Harrods, the World of Whiskies and Selfridges department stores, include Old & Rare, The Premium Barrel, Douglas of Drumlanrig and the McGibbons Golf Range.

Douglas Laing was established in 1948 by Fred Douglas Laing, the father of the current joint managing directors - Fred and Stewart Laing.

The elder Laing had refused to operate in the UK in protest at excise duties and instead took his whisky brands to South America, establishing contacts in Venezuela, Paraguay, Columbia and Brazil.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

23 Oct
2008

Scientists find new use for whisky

Byproduct used to tackle pollution

SCIENTISTS from Aberdeen University have been recognised for finding an innovative new use for whisky.

Leigh Cassidy, Graeme Paton and Ken Killham were runners up in the Research Council’s business plan competition after coming up with a way to use Scotland’s national drink to treat pollution.

The process, named DRAM (Device for the Remediation and Attenuation of Multiple pollutants), uses a whisky byproduct to remove pollutants from contaminated water.

The three were awarded a £10,000 prize, which they will use to turn the system into a viable business venture.

The final of the competition was held at Chelsea Football Club on Monday.

Ms Cassidy said: “There were hundreds of entrants to the competition and we were delighted when we made it to the handful of finalists, who all had really brilliant ideas.”

It is hoped that the idea could be used as a more cost-efficient way of treating contaminated land.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

23 Oct
2008

Balblair announces Exclusive Release of Rare 1965 Vintage

Multi award-winning Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has unveiled its oldest and most exclusive vintage release to date - Balblair 1965, which will be one of the finest additions to the Balblair portfolio.

Just 350 bottles of this rare and limited edition vintage will be released and each bottle will retail at £1250. The vintage was distilled on 23rd March 1965 and slowly matured in Single American Oak ex Sherry casks. Bottled in its purest form at natural colour and strength of 52.3%, Balblair 1965 is bright golden in appearance, superbly well-balanced, slightly smoky and with aromas of honey, raisins, pears and lemons. On the palate it is sweet, creamy and spicy with traces of honey and a slight smokiness, leading to a long-lasting finish.

Each Balblair 1965 bottle is truly special, containing a bespoke Certificate of Authenticity, a booklet and a letter hand-signed by Distillery Manager John MacDonald, informing consumers that they are entitled to receive a free limited edition print of the Balblair distillery by acclaimed Scottish photographer Fin Macrae. Such a collectable item is worth £300 and every print is numbered and signed by Fin Macrae.

Only the world’s finest specialist whisky stockists in the UK and internationally will be allocated a few bottles of this exquisite limited edition vintage malt.

Says Distillery Manager John MacDonald: ’With Balblair 1965 we have found an exceptional dram and all the hard work, dedication and devotion from the team here at Edderton has really paid off. It is very rare to discover such an old yet perfect vintage and everyone at the distillery is very proud. We hope that whisky aficionados around the world who have the chance to savour Balblair 1965 truly enjoy this most complex and beautifully crafted fine malt.’

Balblair Highland Single Malt Whisky is one of the whisky world’s finest and most exquisite products. The malt is ‘devoted to detail’ in every sense: its contemporary and award-winning design, perfectly crafted taste using only the finest ingredients, its careful selection and production, the expertise of Distillery Manager John MacDonald and its association with the finest, contemporary brands and luxury markets all contribute to Balblair’s continued global success amongst discerning consumers.

Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch whisky, which is part of the Inver House Distillers portfolio, has won a multitude of awards this year including Gold and Bronze at the recent International Spirits Challenge 2008, Gold: Best in Class at the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2008 and two Gold Awards at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2008. Furthermore, Balblair contributed significantly to Inver House Distillers' highest accolade so far, the International Distiller of the Year award at this year’s Icons of Whisky.

At Balblair distillery, on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in Edderton, Tain, super-premium vintages are diligently handpicked by Distillery Manager John MacDonald and only the finest whiskies – those that have matured and reached absolute perfection – are chosen to be released. After nosing a selection of barrels at the distillery, Balblair 1965 was discovered and selected to be released as it had reached the peak of maturation and excellency.

To find out more about Balblair please visit www.balblair.com

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

22 Oct
2008

Home of Glenmorangie in biggest expansion for 150 years

Distillery development is to meet growing demand around the world

The Easter Ross home of the world-renowned single malt Glenmorangie whisky is undergoing its largest expansion project in more than 150 years to meet growing demand in other parts of the world.

And the Glenmorangie Company yesterday announced that the first phase of the ambitious expansion project had been completed ahead of schedule.

So far, an extension has been added to the existing buildings, where the iconic whisky brand has been created since 1843, to provide additional fermentation capacity. The company is about to embark on the second phase, which involves adding a range of malt whisky distillation equipment, including four new stills, each of which is an exact replica of those currently in use.

This will increase production capacity at the distillery by 50%, enabling the business to meet the growing demand for premium single malt whiskies from existing and emerging markets in the US, Far East and central Europe.

Glenmorangie chief executive Paul Neep said: “Given the increasing growth of single malts across the world and of major brands like Glenmorangie, we are responding to the expected long-term requirements for the brand.

“The investment we are making at Tain, and elsewhere in Scotland, will deliver long-term additional growth for both the company and also, importantly, for the local and wider Scottish economies.”

The expansion work at Tain forms part of a major £45million investment programme, focusing on the company’s highly-successful, premium single malt Scotch whisky brands – Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

The two-year development programme includes the relocation of its headquarters to central Edinburgh, the construction of a new bottling facility and new cask warehousing at the Glenmorangie Distillery and the Ardbeg Distillery on Islay, and the restyling of the visitor centre at the Tain distillery.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

21 Oct
2008

The Malt Muse

Scotland’s foremost whisky writer demystifies the complex spirit

It wasn’t a love-at-first-sip story for Charles MacLean. This famous whiskey writer had his first glass of single malt at the age of 16. But that failed to stoke the temptation in him—until he fell in love with the craft of processing the famed malts of Scotland as well as their complex flavour.

The irony in MacLean’s affair with whisky is quite glaring. “It’s blended whisky that I drink to relax. But as asubject for my books I’m fascinated with malt whisky and its history,” confesses the author, in Mumbai for the release of his latest Water of Life. In fact, Malt Whiskey remains the most popular of his 12 books, says MacLean as he sips Talisker at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower’s Harbour Bar.

The city’s first licensed bar overlooks Apollo Bunder that is enveloped by the afternoon glow. Soaking in its beauty, MacLean lets out the well-kept secret of Scotland’s favourite spirit as we sniff, swirl, sip and swallow Talisker. “Whisky is a sensory drink like wine. Smell it before you drink,” says the expert, trained in ‘the sensory evaluation of potable spirits’. This amber-hued drink’s spicy flavour soon gives me a nice high. Yet, the intriguing world of Scotch whisky gets my full attention.

“The mysteries of malt lie in where the spirit has been matured. For instance, the whisky made in Islay gives a smoky flavour. Though this can be acquired elsewhere too by adjusting its processing, such a thing is avoided in Scotland,” says the expert. His newest book profiles the classic malts of Scotland and analyses their flavours region wise. All of them are marketed in India by Diageo as part of their Classic Malts Selection.

The rise of single malt whisky on the list of whiskey patronisers’ favourites is only a two decade-old development. “The fortune of Scotch used to be based on blended whisky. It enjoyed a wider popularity while malt remains pretty unknown outside Scotland,” he says. In the ’80s, both the production and popularity of malt whisky started increasing.

The book will further enhancepeople’s appreciation of whisky and encourage them to explore its range, MacLean hopes while pouring cool water into his malt. “Malt is to be enjoyed in a glass with a wider bottom and narrow rim. A little cool still water brings out its aroma,” he says as the pungent and peppery flavour of Talisker burns my throat. This collector’s tome also takes the readers on a journey of the malt whiskey distilleries in Scotland with pictorial representations and first-hand stories. Other famous titles by him are Whisky: A Liquid History and Whisky Tales. And his Whiskypedia is scheduled to come out next year.

Though nothing can beat the spirit of Scotland, MacLean has his favourites when it comes to whiskies bottled in India. Antiquity and

Signature are two of them. But during this trip, he wants to savour the lesser known whisky brands. Quite a spirited trail that would be.

Article Courtesy of Mumbai Newsline

 

Mumbai Newsline

20 Oct
2008

Scotch whisky makers head for India

A team of the Scottish Whisky Association has left for India to host an event designed to strengthen ties between India and the whisky industry.

Up to 400 key stakeholders, including government, media and trade, are expected to attend the "Celebration of Scotch Whisky" at the British High Commissioner's residence in New Delhi.

The Scottish delegation is led by the chief executive of the Scottish Whisky Association, Gavin Hewitt. The Association wants to use the current EU-India Free Trade negotiations as an opportunity for wider trade deals in spirits.

Both the Scotch Whisky and Indian spirits industries are well placed to succeed in the future and to benefit from the new opportunities that are arising, Hewitt is expected to say at the event, according to Scotland on Sunday.

India last year reduced its tariffs on imported spirits and whisky exports to India are expected to increase in coming years as Scotch becomes more affordable.

Article Courtesy of Daily News & Analysis

 

Daily News & Analysis

18 Oct
2008

Get into the Swing at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is offering two of Scotland’s best-loved traditions in a combined events package with their ‘Whisky and Golf Night’, taking place in Edinburgh.

Held in the luxurious Hunter Room at the Society's exquisite Members' Room at 28 Queen Street, Edinburgh, the evening includes chilled champagne on arrival, four delicious courses of Scotland’s finest seasonal fare and a three dram whisky tasting from a selection of the world’s finest single cask, single malts.

Welcoming the guests will be Hamish Steedman, Managing Director of St Andrews Golf Company Ltd, the last makers of artisan heritage golf clubs in Scotland.

Guests will then be invited to compete in a putting competition with a hand crafted hickory club to win a bottle of rare Society single cask, single malt whisky, and leave the evening with a goodie bag full of whisky and golf treats.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a membership organisation offering the widest selection of single cask, single malt whiskies available. The Society unites whisky and whisky lovers across the world in a variety of engaging, informative and entertaining environments to encourage the appreciation of the finest malts in the best settings.

The 'Golf and Whisky' package is available from £99 + VAT per person with a minimum party size of ten people.

For more information about this event or The Scotch Malt Whisky Society please call the events team on 0131 555 2266 or www.smws.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

16 Oct
2008

New whisky-beer hybrid launched by Fuller's

After a long battle with HM Customs & Excise, London brewer Fuller’s finally launched a whisky-beer hybrid last night.

Brewer’s Reserve is the result of four years work by head brewer John Keeling create an ale that could assume some of the characteristics of a single malt.

It has been matured for more than 500 days in 30-year-old scotch whisky casks. The whisky used is under wraps.

Much of that time has been taken up in negotiations with HMC&E which was quibbling over whether the drink would count as a beer or a spirit for duty purposes.

Now officially a beer, though weighing in at a hefty 7.7% abv, Brewer’s Reserve is available in 25,000 individually numbered bottles and presentation box.

“The idea of ageing beer in whisky casks sounds simple but we hard to work hard to make sure we were in line with Customs,” said Keeling.

“We tried many different recipes. The one we selected has rich, tangy marmalade flavours along with vanilla notes from the oak and a wonderful hint of whisky.”

Brewers Reserve is first in a series of special beers from Fuller’s which will be released annually.

Article Courtesy of Offlicence News

 

Offlicence News

16 Oct
2008

Raising Spirits at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

For those looking for a terrifyingly good evening, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is offering a chilling whisky experience, with a paranormal twist, in one of Scotland’s oldest commercial buildings in Leith, Edinburgh.

In the eerie underground depths of the Vaults, deep below the Society's members' room, guests will be treated to a candlelit whisky tasting accompanied by tales of the 'spirits' (of the non-whisky variety) from the most haunted distilleries around Scotland. This is followed by a sumptuous three course dinner upstairs in one of the Vaults' beautiful private rooms, along with tales of paranormal activity from the local area.

The evening is presented by a figure from the past, Mr J G Thomson, a wine and spirits merchant from the late 18th century, who traded in the deep underground cellars of the Vaults – the perfect host for the evening. In association with paranormal connoisseurs, Mercat Tours of Edinburgh, Mr Thomson guides guests through the evening's 'spirited' delights with his wonderful story telling. To accompany this, a Society whisky Ambassador, introduces the very best single cask, single malt whiskies from haunted distilleries across Scotland.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a membership organisation offering the widest selection of single cask, single malt whiskies available. The Society unites whisky and whisky lovers across the world in a variety of engaging, informative and entertaining environments to encourage the appreciation of the finest malts in the best settings.

The 'Spirited' package is open to anyone who dares to partake in this paranormal activity, with the requirement of a minimum of 10 people per party. The package is available from £85 + VAT per person.

For more information about the ’Spirited’ package or The Scotch Malt Whisky Society please call the events team on 0131 555 2266 or www.smws.co.uk.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

15 Oct
2008

Council to back whisky industry over law changes

Proposals would limit promotion of alcohol, which could hit tourist trade

Moray Council yesterday agreed to back the whisky industry over proposed changes to the alcohol laws listed in a Scottish Government report.

The Moray economy benefits greatly from whisky production and councillors on the economic development and infrastructure services committee agreed that any change to the drinking trade would severely reduce this income.

The new proposals, including fixing a minimum price on alcohol and raising the legal age to 21, were highlighted in a government report called Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol.

Moray Council will now contact MSPs to discuss how to minimise any impact on the whisky trade. Although the consultation period for the paper ended last month, the government has said it will still consider any issues brought up by the council.

Heldon and Laich councillor Allan Wright said: “This is an important report and it is nonsense to impose changes on shops that sell whisky. I have already raised this before and will continue to do so at every opportunity.”

The changes would also impose restrictions on promotional material for alcohol, and some councillors worry this could affect the tourism trade.

Speyside/Glenlivet councillor Fiona Murdoch said: “The unique position that Moray has to whisky is very important. It is even advertised as malt whisky country.

“It would be a shame to see this go".

“There is a shop in Dufftown called The Whisky Shop and if these changes come through it might have to black out the windows or even drop the name.”

Whisky producers Gordon and MacPhail also raised their concerns. The Elgin based company said the industry was a key part of the Scottish economy and culture.

David Urquhart, joint managing director, said: “Care is required not to introduce measures that will do little to tackle misuse but could have unintended consequences for the sector.

“A balanced approach is required that considers the interests of all parties, and it must be remembered that the alcohol industry, and in particular the whisky industry, plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic framework of the country.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

14 Oct
2008

Whisky comes anCnoc-ing in Leeds

anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is taking its successful arts sponsorship programme into England for the first time, and has selected the vibrant cultural city of Leeds as its first port of call south of the border.

Having supported the arts in Scotland for a number of years, anCnoc will partner with some of Leeds’ dynamic arts projects and events, including The Carriageworks and Project Space Leeds, the Dadi Awards, the Northern Art Prize and the 22nd Leeds International Film Festival.

‘Leeds’ contemporary arts’ scene and welcoming atmosphere were just some of the factors that led to our decision to invest in the city,’ says Nicola Ball, Brand Manager of anCnoc. ‘We are really looking forward to extending our arts sponsorhip programme in the city and we hope to establish ongoing partnerships with our selected venues and events. Leeds is already such a fantastic city, but we believe anCnoc will shake things up even more.’

anCnoc's ongoing sponsorship of the Scottish arts scene began in 2006 with The Arches in Glasgow, and now incorporates several of the country's best-known arts venues such as the Tron Theatre, The Tramway, The Traverse Theatre and The Fruitmarket Gallery.

Relaunched in 2003, anCnoc has a contemporary and distinctive identity, making it a natural partner for the arts. While it remains one of Scotland's finest single malts, it is also well established as a whisky which is perfect for mixing. Together with LA Bartenders, anCnoc has created a series of mouthwatering “anCnoctails”, which those attending events in Leeds will be able to enjoy along with a traditional dram.

Darren Potter, Development Manager at the Leeds International Film Festival, said: ‘We're thrilled to be involved with anCnoc and to have this exciting brand on board with us as the exclusive whisky for the 22nd Leeds International Film Festival is fantastic. We have a lot of high-class events scheduled for the festival and I’m sure that those attending will very much appreciate a complimentary dram or cocktail.’

anCnoc, meaning “hill” in Gaelic, and pronounced “a-nock”, is carefully crafted at Knockdhu distillery in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a product of the region’s rich and pure natural resources and the undoubted expertise and passion of Master Distiller Gordon Bruce. In unison they contribute to anCnoc’s complex and perfectly balanced flavour.

Hints of lemon, the sweetness of honey and other very fine nuances, extracted from the malted barley, the local water, the fresh air and a combination of American bourbon, American sherry and Spanish sherry barrels, give anCnoc its distinctive flavour and make it a very maluable – “perfect to mix with” - malt.
If you would like more information anCnoc, please visit www.anCnoc.com, where you will be able to download a series of enticing cocktail recipes and various podcasts to learn more about the brand, the history and the making of anCnoc.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

13 Oct
2008

Arran celebrates Burns with liquid poetry

Award-winning Whisky producer, Isle of Arran Distillers, has released a limited edition bottling of its Single Malt to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, which takes place on 25th January 2009. The 250th anniversary edition of the Robert Burns Malt has an RRP of £49.99, and is targeted at the independent retailer and on-trade. Isle of Arran Distillers also produces the Robert Burns Blend & Malt which have RRPs of £14.99 and £23.99, respectively.

Managing Director, Euan Mitchell, comments: “With 2009 set to be such a significant anniversary for Burns Night, there will be strong opportunities for retailers and on-trade establishments to up-sell on their normal blends and malts to whisky connoisseurs, collectors and those who enjoy celebrating Burns Night with a dram of something really special.”

Fifteen ex-Sherry casks were selected from the 1998 distillation by Distillery Manager, James MacTaggart, to produce 6,000 bottles of Robert Burns 250th Anniversary Malt, 1,800 of which will be distributed in the UK. Arran is the only Whisky Distiller entitled to use the name of the Scottish Bard (the bottling has been officially endorsed by the World Burns Federation, the organisation which promotes and protects the legacy of Robert Burns), and the label features the image and signature of Burns on the label and accompanying gift box. Isle of Arran Whiskies are available from Malcolm Cowen: 020 8965 1937 or sales@cowen.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

09 Oct
2008

Bottle of whisky could fetch £5,000

A rare bottle of 100-year-old whisky found hidden behind a trap door in an American house could fetch up to £5,000 when it goes under the hammer at auction.

Experts believe the bottle of Glencadam single malt was stashed away during the Prohibition era between 1920 and 1933 and then forgotten about.

It only came to light in the 1950s when the wall was taken down during renovations of the house in Washington State.

Article Courtesy of Hamilton Advertiser

 

Hamilton Advertiser

08 Oct
2008

Glenmorangie and Ardbeg Awarded Stellar Ratings

The Glenmorangie Company proudly announces that Glenmorangie Original has been ranked the best Single Malt in the 10 Years Old to 12 Years Old Category of Highland/Speyside Malt Whisky in Jim Murray's "Whisky Bible 2008". The "Whisky Bible" sells hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and Jim Murray has come to be known as one of the world's leading authorities in the whisky world, tasting and rating over 3,800 whiskies in the 2008 edition. In the "Whisky Bible" he states The Original "remains one of the great single malts: a whisky of uncompromising aesthetic beauty from the first enigmatic whiff to the last teasing and tantalizing gulp".

Another stellar ranking awarded to The Glenmorangie Company includes naming Ardbeg 10 Years Old as the "2008 World Whisky of the Year" citing it as "the most complex malt on earth" and bestowing a score of 97 points, higher than any other Island Malt Whisky. This is the first time this award has been given to any single malt distillery and Jim Murray says, "Ardbeg is supernova stuff... and I have long regarded this the finest Distillery in the world".

Article Courtesy of CNW Telbec

 

CNW Telbec

07 Oct
2008

Nip to see huge whisky collection

The world's largest collection of whiskies has arrived in Edinburgh this week, brought home from Brazil.

Featuring 3,384 bottles, the record-breaking collection was built up over 35 years by Brazilian whisky enthusiast Claive Vidiz.

Mr Vidiz has scoured the world for whiskies to create the collection, which has been bought by Diageo.

The whisky manufacturer will be loaning the collection to the Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile next year.

The bottles are currently being stored in a high security location in Scotland, after being shipped 6,500 miles from Sao Paulo on board a container ship.

A specially designed vault is being created at the Scotch Whisky Experience to display the collection.

It will form part of a £2m investment at the five-star tourist attraction.

While the details of the terms of its sale to Diageo remain under wraps, the unique collection is described by whisky experts as "invaluable" and ranges from the most popular whiskies to some of the rarest.

Mr Vadiz said: "To split up a collection which I have devoted more than 35 years of my life to would have broken my heart so I am truly thrilled Diageo has purchased it in its entirety.

"It is now in the hands of a company which is at the heart of the Scotch industry and I am certain they will cherish and develop the collection.

"It is also wonderful to see it safely back in Scotland. We have an expression in Brazil, 'the good son returns home', and in my view the collection is back with its family now."

Among the many rare bottles is a Strathmill single malt produced to celebrate the Speyside distillery's 100th anniversary.

Limited edition

One of only 100 bottles ever produced, this limited edition centenary malt was offered to a very select few, including various heads of state.

A favourite of Mr Vidiz is Dimple Pinch, one of the first special editions of a Scotch whisky ever produced.

Bought in 1969 for US $1,000, it was the most expensive limited edition bottle of Scotch whisky on the market at the time.

Shipping the fragile cargo across the Atlantic took months of preparation and each bottle was individually packaged by fine art specialists.

"We are delighted to have worked with Claive to bring this wonderful collection safely back to Scotland and to play a part in preserving its legacy and historic significance," said Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland.

VisitScotland's chief executive, Philip Riddle said: "The return of such an important and interesting collection of Scotch whisky to Scotland is fantastic news, particularly as we look forward to Homecoming Scotland 2009."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

05 Oct
2008

80 Say Cheers To Whisky Jobs

MORE than 80 new staff are set to raise their glasses thanks to plans to re-open a famous distillery.

Developers in Falkirk aim to bring back the town's Rosebank malt whisky.

The move would mean a return to whisky production in the area after 15 years.

The Falkirk Distillery Company are also planning to build an 80-seat restaurant, a visitor centre and tourist shops.

Article Courtesy of Sunday Mail

 

Sunday Mail

02 Oct
2008

Homegrown whisky on cards for Barra

FROM the crop to the crate, whisky from the Isle of Barra distillery will be completely 'homegrown'.

In plans,- which last month received planning approval from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - a distillery will be built which will produce whisky made from island grown barley.

Having taken over plans to set up a distillery on the island Peter Brown saADVERTISEMENTys he has had huge support from other residents for the plan and that local crofters have already shown an interest in growing barley.

Commenting on the exciting plans, he said: "As far as the community is concerned I have met with very strong support, and 99% positive comments. I do not intend to grow any barley, but already crofters have shown interest in growing it. At the moment very little is grown here, but by providing a market for it more will start to grow it, especially as sheep are no longer as profitable."

The soil on Barra is not traditionally good for modern strains of barley but over the centuries, a strain has evolved which suits the ground and also the weather conditions.

If crofters come on board and produce barley crops, it would be harvested and threshed and then malted on the island.

This stage of the process ensures that the final product is Barra bred through and through unlike other whisky distillers who purchase their malted barley from other sareas.

The next stage of the process is to mill the malted barley to break open the husk and then mash with hot water. The mixture is then fermented in vats and distilled. And finally the best part of the run is extracted and used to fill oak barrels for maturation.

Then all the islanders can do is wait until their product is ready - and this can be a long wait as Peter adds: "The whisky will take a long time to mature. We will run a visitor centre, shop and later a cafe to keep things going."

With news recently that the west Harris residents may also consider growing barley to supply a possible distillery on the island and the development of another distillery on Lewis, the whisky scene seems to be catching on in the islands.

If all the projects come to fruition, there is suggestion that a Whisky Trail throughout the Western Isles could prove an additional tourism pull.

Article Courtesy of Stornoway Gazette

 

Stornoway Gazette

01 Oct
2008

The Famous Grouse gets into the spirit of Burns for homecoming 2009

Enter The Famous Toast competition for a chance to see your poem in print

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard, and to launch the fantastic year long programme of events, Homecoming Scotland has teamed up with The Famous Grouse, Scotland’s Favourite Whisky, to create the world’s biggest ever Burns Supper celebration.

To kick off “The World Famous Burns Supper” campaign, we are running The Famous Toast competition. Budding poets are invited to pen a new toast for the 2009 celebrations paying homage to the tipple most associated with the Bard, Scotch Whisky.

The poems will be judged by an industry panel from the world of Whisky and Burns including John Ramsay, Master Blender of The Famous Grouse, Marie Christie, Director of Homecoming Scotland 2009, Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, and representatives from the World Burns Federation.

The Famous Toast will receive its inaugural recital as part of the official Burns Supper in Alloway attended by the First Minister of Scotland on Saturday 24th January 2009. It will also be printed on the 250 bottles of a limited edition whisky, being created by The Famous Grouse, which will be auctioned off at some of the most prestigious Burns Suppers around the world.

Budding poets, who must be aged 18 or over will be able to submit their written poems online at www.scotsman.com/famoustoast. The competition will run from 29th September 2008 for three weeks, closing on 20th October, with the winner being announced on 31st October 2008.

Gerry O’Donnell, director, The Famous Grouse, said: “As Scotland’s favourite whisky, we are extremely proud of our Scottish heritage and are therefore very pleased to be taking part in Homecoming Scotland 2009. The Famous Toast is a great way to kick start the campaign – giving people the opportunity to celebrate two of our nation’s most popular contributions to the world – whisky and our national poet Robert Burns.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer, EventScotland, said: “Homecoming Scotland is delighted to be working with The Famous Grouse. The Famous Toast competition and The World Famous Burns Supper campaign will help to create Scotland’s biggest ever celebration of Robert Burns, raising interest in the Bard at home and around the world.

“Robert Burns is the inspiration for our national year of celebration, and the Homecoming Scotland programme contains a range of events and festivals that will celebrate the life and work of our national poet throughout 2009.”

If you would like to find out more about how to join in the Burns celebration in 2009 make sure you have registered at http://www.homecomingscotland2009.com to receive further details.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release
August 2008 Scotch Whisky News

30 Sep
2008

Whisky set to make a deep impression

Cask of malt to be buried to mark end of artist in residence programme

A Canadian artist is aiming to create the world’s oldest single malt whisky by burying a cask in a Glenfiddich Distillery warehouse at Dufftown for 100 years.

The whisky, which was buried yesterday, comes from the distillery and is part of a piece of work called A Drink To Us (When We’re Both Dead) by Toronto-based artist Dave Dyment to mark the end of this year’s Glenfiddich Artist in Residence programme. He has been working with Glenfiddich’s malt master David Steward, head warehouseman Eric Stephen and head cooper Don Ramsey to decide on the best conditions to bury the whisky in. They hope the cold, damp environment will allow the liquid to age without suffering too much evaporation.

The artist was originally going to create a sound piece to be played at Glenfiddich for a year but changed his mind once he arrived at the distillery on June 2.

Mr Dyment said: “A lot of my work is about time and I like the idea of selling something that somebody can’t use themselves but pass on instead. In all likelihood it will pass through three generations of hands before it is enjoyed.

“The ‘us’ in the title refers to the relationship between myself and the buyer, but also the buyer’s relationship with the person it is passed on to.

“As we have no idea just how the spirit will mature and develop in character the project will have a sense of wonder for the buyer and a sense of expectation for whoever owns it in 100 years.”

The artist has also produced 25 presentation boxes which will be returned for filling once the cask is uncovered in 2108.

Half of these will be sold at Glenfiddich for £1,000 each, and come with a contract of sale and a map for the eventual holder to find the location of the buried cask.

The artist in residence programme was set up in 2002 and has attracted artists from all over the world.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

29 Sep
2008

All Aboard for a Taste of Islay & Jura!

The Whisky Coast in conjunction with CalMac Ferries Ltd., adds a little dram(a) to Thursday sailings to and from Islay onboard M.V Hebridean Isles.

Taste of Islay & Jura is giving passengers the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most famous single malts. Each week, in The Still Bar onboard the vessel, a different distillery offers complimentary tastings and nosings along with an interesting insight into the whisky’s history and heritage.

From The Still Bar’s complete range, passengers are able to sample the finest drams that the islands are so famous for, and the drivers in any group will be offered a miniature to savour later!

There is also the chance to indulge tastebuds further with a selection of tablet from An Gleann Cottage Produce whose range of tablet creations are laced with butter, chocolate and, of course - Islay whisky!

The Taste of Islay & Jura promotion kicked off with Bruichladdich, with more to come from Lagavullin, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Isle of Jura, Kilchoman and Laphroaig over the course of the 9 week promotion. This unique tasting opportunity is free to all passengers who have the added advantage of being able to purchase any of the whiskies and tablet on board from Shop@Calmac, at a 10% discount.

The Taste of Islay & Jura promotion takes place every Thursday until November 6th, on the 1530 sailing to Kennacraig from Port Askaig and on the 1800 crossing from Kennacraig to Port Ellen.

Fay Harris, Regional Manager for CalMac Ferries, Islay said “We are delighted to be collaborating with The Whisky Coast’s Taste of Islay & Jura promotion. It is a great opportunity to showcase the island’s cultural & historical produce to passengers & visitors and it is an excellent way for CalMac to support the island's community & local businesses. It is hoped that this event can be used as a foundation for further promotional activities of its kind across the fleet in the future.”

The Whisky Coast, Scotland’s west coast whisky trail is a collaboration of all 16 distilleries on the west coast, along with more than 20 first class hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions, who have joined forces to promote the west coast of Scotland as an unforgettable holiday destination.

For more information please visit www.whiskycoast.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

29 Sep
2008

Whisky enthusiasts get into the spirit of tour

A TRIP through Moray’s whisky country on a heritage train was part of this year’s programme at the Spirit of Speyside festival.

The event took place at a number of venues in Speyside on Saturday and Sunday.

Passengers aboard the Dufftown to Keith Whisky Train were presented with shortbread and a small locally-made nip by a kilted steward, as the train made its way along a 146-year-old route past castle ruins and distilleries. Also on offer was a display of Highland dancing in The Square, Dufftown, guided tours of distilleries, and a “blind” whisky tast-ing.

Whisky enthusiasts from Germany, Sweden and Norway saw a number of distilleries on an organised walk from Glen Rinnes to Dufftown, which was given by wildlife guide David Newland, and which also visited the now-disbanded Pittyvaich distillery.

There was also an auction of whisky yesterday afternoon.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

27 Sep
2008

No jail for pair over fake whisky

A father and son from Wolverhampton involved in the production of counterfeit whisky from a rented lock-up in the Black Country have been spared jail sentences.

Edmund Flynn, aged 66, was yesterday handed a suspended prison sentence for producing and bottling the bootleg alcohol in a makeshift workshop in Wednesbury. He pleaded guilty to evasion or attempted evasion in connection with the unlawful manufacture of spirits but was spared an immediate spate behind bars on the grounds of age, ill-health and early guilty plea.

But Recorder Stephen Eyre warned the pensioner, of Woden Way in Wednesfield, he “should have learned his lesson” in 2000 when he was jailed for six months for “almost exactly the same offence”.

Flynn’s son Ross, aged 24, of Griffiths Drive, Wednesfield, assisted his father through a “misguided sense of loyalty”, the court heard.

The men were rumbled when police officers approached them outside the lock-up in Holloway Bank in January this year.

Ross Edmund told officers he did not know what was inside. But when they went in they found the counterfeit whisky production line, including 33 boxes of booze packaged for distribution.

Jonathan Gosling, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday the spirits were tested and found to be 34 per cent alcohol. The legal strength is 40 per cent.

Edmund Flynn, who suffers from arthritis, type one diabetes and also had a stroke six months ago, admitted his involvement in the production.

He told officers that following his previous conviction, “word got out” and he was approached by a gang in Liverpool to make whisky.

He claimed they threatened him when he refused.

His son pleaded guilty to the same charge but only on the basis that he had helped with heavy lifting and not concerned in the production.

Ross Flynn was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 120 hours unpaid work. His father received a 34-week jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Article Courtesy of Express & Star

 

Express & Star

26 Sep
2008

Women are toast of whisky industry

WOMEN appear to be developing a serious taste for careers in the Scotch whisky industry alongside their growing appreciation of fine malts, according to whisky producer Diageo.

In the past 12 months the company, which produces brands such as Johnnie Walker, J&B and Bell’s, has received a record number of job applications from women seeking careers at its distilleries.

The news follows the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s revelation that an unprecedented number of women are joining its ranks with 550 women joining last year alone.

Over the past three years, women have accounted for a quarter of all new memberships of the society, compared with just one in 10 in previous years.

And it seems many of the female employees at Diageo’s 27 malt and two grain distilleries are committed to long-term careers in distilling with their dedication and skills being recognised through progression up the career ladder.

Among those recently promoted by Diageo is Sarah Burgess, who this month takes up the role of site manager at the company’s Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland.

Sarah, 32, joins a growing number of female site managers appointed by Diageo.

She started her career with the company on her 21st birthday when she joined as a seasonal guide at Cardhu Distillery.

Since then she has progressed through a number of roles within Diageo, which employs 4,500 people in Scotland at around 50 sites. These have included a spell as visitor centre manager at Oban Distillery and a one year secondment in the risk department before becoming a trainee operations manager at Dailuaine and Glen Spey Distilleries.

Clynelish Distillery is one of the most northerly distilleries on the Scottish mainland and Sarah’s move there is the result of promotion from her most recent post with Diageo as operations manager, northern warehousing at Auchroisk Distillery in Banffshire.

As site manager, Sarah will have overall responsibility for the site which has a team of 11 operators and a site operations manager as well as a brand home manager and two seasonal guides.

“Clynelish is a beautiful place and the people here are very friendly so I already feel I’m settling in,” said Sarah.

“I’m also looking forward to the fresh challenge of a more senior management role.”

Alongside her new position, Sarah will be working on her BA Honours degree in management, which she is studying part-time at Robert Gordon University, sponsored by Diageo.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

25 Sep
2008

Whisky firm back in the black

W&M surplus rockets to £25.58m in latest accounts

WHISKY distiller Whyte and Mackay (W&M) has reported a return to profitability in its latest accounts.

The Glasgow firm made pre-tax profits of £25.58million during the 18 months to March 31, 2008.

It was a marked improvement in trading from the previous 12 months, when the company made losses of £2.19million.

The latest accounts, released by Companies House yesterday, also reveal that turnover at the firm soared to £348.14million in the most recent period, from £160.86million in the year to September 30, 2006.

W&M, acquired by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya for £595million in May last year, has malt distilleries at Dalmore near Inverness, at Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire, in Jura and at Tamnavulin on Speyside, plus a grain distillery at Invergordon.

The firm, which also produces Vladivar vodka and Glayva liqueur, exports its spirits to customers in more than 100 countries.

In a report with the accounts, W&M said profits had been reduced by one-off charges of £30.3million relating to a “comprehensive change programme” intended to reposition the group for future earnings growth, combined with bonus payments arising from its takeover by Mr Mallya’s UK business, United Spirits (Great Britain).

Changes included the consolidation of two bottling plants and the relaunch of certain key brands.

The group employed 591 people, on average, in the latest period, down from 619 in the previous 12 months.

W&M had a net pension surplus, under the FRS 17 accounting standard, of £6.454million at March 31, 2008, compared with a deficit of £25.414million at September 30, 2006.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

23 Sep
2008

Diageo meets whisky boom with new distillery

Diageo will start making spirit in January at Scotland's first malt whisky distillery to open in over 30 years as its new 40 million pound plant seeks to meet the booming global demand for scotch whisky.

The world's biggest whisky maker will fire up the stills at its Roseilse distillery in north-east Scotland early in the new year, moving to full capacity by April which will make it the joint-largest individual malt whisky distillery in Scotland.

"We have seen three to four years of sustained significant growth of the entire whisky category. There is growth going forward, now is the time to go forward in production," Diageo's malt distilling director Brian Higgs said in an interview.

This upturn in growth has come across many regions including developed markets such as the United States and also emerging ones like Brazil, Russia, India and China, and comes after years of more pedestrian growth through much of the 1990's.

Diageo owns the world's best-selling whisky Johnnie Walker which saw sales soar 12 percent last year to top 1 billion pounds for the first time, while its high-priced whiskies have grown 15 percent annually over the last three years.

Now the world's No 1 alcoholic drinks group which generates a third of its profit from scotch is building its 28th malt distillery in Scotland producing whiskies which by 2012 may be included in blends like Johnnie Walker Red, J&B and Bell's.

Set to produce 10 million litres of spirit a year at full production, the new distillery will match the biggest in the industry such as privately-owned Glenfiddich and Pernod Ricard's plan to double the size of its Glenlivet distillery.

Diageo's Higgs stressed there is no reason why the Roseilse malt could not be use in all of Diageo's blends but as it will be need to be aged three years before being called scotch whisky, the first blends will not be available until 2012.

Diageo chose Roseilse, near Elgin on the Moray Firth coast, as it was already the site of one of its four Scottish malting plants, and combining the two plants would create big energy efficiencies.

Project manager Mike Jappy said it was close to reaching its aim of building the new distillery so that the combined distillery and malting plant used no more fossil fuels than the malting plant alone. Hot water from distilling will be re-used in the malting plant while waste barley grains will be burnt in a bio-mass plant to provide energy.

Diageo said the 14 stills at Roseilse will give it the flexibility to produce two types of malt whisky by altering fermentation times and contact time with copper in the stills -- a light Speyside type similar to Diageo's best-selling Cardhu malt and a second heavier Speyside type, similar to Cragganmore.

Article Courtesy of Reuters

 

Reuters

21 Sep
2008

Chivas celebrating record year for sales of premium whisky

Firm says worldwide launch of 25-year-old luxury blend bolstered its range

Whisky maker Chivas Brothers is celebrating a record year for flagship brand Chivas Regal, produced in the Strathisla Distillery at Keith.

Chivas said yesterday it had sold 4.5million nine-litre cases of Chivas Regal during the year to June 30, a rise of 10% from 2006-07.

The Paisley-based firm said the successful launch worldwide of a 25-year-old Chivas Regal luxury blend during the latest period had reinforced the outstanding quality of the range.

Another of the firm’s top brands, Ballantine’s, also saw strong growth, selling a record 6.4million cases in the year to June 30.

Chivas said Ballantine’s performance – boosted by a £32million advertising campaign and sponsorship of a golf tournament in Korea – confirmed the brand’s position as the world’s second best seller after Diageo’s Johnnie Walker.

The Glenlivet single malt was another star performer for Chivas in 2007-08, achieving record sales of 600,000 nine-litre cases.

Its sales saw double-digit growth in a number of markets, including Taiwan, South Africa, Germany, France and global duty-free.

The Glenlivet Distillery, near Ballindalloch on Speyside, is undergoing expansion to meet increased worldwide demand.

Chivas said all of its key strategic brands had performed exceptionally well over the past year.

Chief executive Christian Porta added: “We have had a good year, with notable successes.”

Chivas, part of French drink giant Pernod Ricard, sold 2.4million cases of its Beefeater gin brand during the period, 1% more than in the previous 12 months.

Paris-based Pernod saw its shares slide by about 10% to £44.26 (55.98 euro) yesterday after it said it did not get the boost in China it expected from the Beijing Olympics.

The group, whose brands also include Absolut vodka, Martell cognac, Jameson Irish whiskey, Mumm champagne, Havana Club rum and Malibu rum, posted a 5.2% rise in full-year profits from recurring operations, helped by growth in the Americas and resilience in its home market.

Profits from recurring operations reached £1.2billion in the 12 months to June 30, compared with £1.14billion previously.

Pernod – the second largest drink firm after Diageo – said it expected revenue in the first quarter of its current financial year to rise in the low-to-mid single digits, with relatively weak growth expected in North America and Asia.

Finance director Emmanuel Babeau added: “The Olympic games did not have the positive effect we expected on consumption.

“It even had a negative impact as people stayed at home to watch the games and went out less.”

Pernod said it expected a strong positive impact from its integration of Vin and Sprit, the Swedish parent of Absolut it acquired this year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

19 Sep
2008

Pernod Ricard sees whisky sales soar

Drinks giant Pernod Ricard reported soaring sales of its key whisky brands over the last year but the lack of an expected Olympics-related bounce saw its shares shed 9.9% yesterday.

The firm sold a record 4.5 million cases of Chivas Regal whisky as sales soared 10% in volume terms and netted the company an extra 11% in revenue.

"For a brand that has been in the market this long the double digit growth is very impressive," managing director Pierre Pringuet said, noting that it saw rising sales across the globe, including in China where a subdued market has been blamed on the impact of May's Sichuan earthquake.

Ballantine's also had a strong year, rising 9% in volume terms and 11% in revenue. This was a "marvellous turnaround," Pringuet claimed.

The brand was boosted by a 40m (£31.5m) global advertising campaign and the sponsorship of a golf championship in Korea.

The Glenlivet, whose Speyside distillery is earmarked for expansion, also had a record year, selling 600,000 nine-litre cases, 10% up on last year, with revenues increasing 14%, as sales rose in its core US market.

Christian Porta, chairman of Pernod's UK operation Chivas Brothers, said: "We have continued to see strong growth with our super, ultra premium and prestige brands, categories where we are the global leader."

He said that the older versions of its whisky brands had been particularly successful.

Pernod Ricard is focusing its marketing efforts on its 15 main brands as it targets the top end of the market and reported that increasing the price of its Mumm champagne drove sales as its luxury image was restored. Pringuet said: "This is a demonstration that the dearer it is the more we sell of it."

But the company acknowledged that the Beijing Olympics had not delivered the expected sales boost it was expecting.

"The Olympic Games did not have the positive effect we expected on consumption," Pernod finance director Emmanuel Babeau said.

"It even had a negative impact as people stayed at home to watch the Games and went out less."

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

17 Sep
2008

Scotland’s Whisky Coast Invites the World to Come Home for Spirit of the West

The Whisky Coast, Scotland’s west coast whisky trail, will present “Spirit of the West”, a spectacular weekend event on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May 2009 at Inveraray Castle, Argyllshire. Spirit of the West is part of the year long Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations and is a key feature of its “Whisky Month” in May. The ticketed two day event will be a celebration of Scotland’s west coast whisky and the rich culture and dramatic scenery in which it is created.

Spirit of the West aims to attract up to 6,000 visitors over the two days, inviting those from the UK and all over the world to take part. The event is a must for lovers of Scotland’s single malts, food & drink, golf and Scottish ancestry. It is also perfect for those who simply love and want to experience Scotland’s vibrancy, historic traditions and rugged scenery. Spirit of the West will cater for little ones too, with fun and educational entertainment making it a perfect family event.

Inspired by the historic community cultures, tales, mysteries and theatrical scenery that lie behind every single malt, the event, which will run from 11am to 6pm each day, will be a showcase for whisky culture. Whisky tasting, food sampling and cookery demonstrations will run alongside historical trails, fashion shows, music, arts & crafts and golfing activities. This will bring all that surrounds Whisky in the west coast of Scotland to one location - the stunning grounds of Inveraray Castle.

On the Saturday evening, a traditional Scottish ceilidh will be held at the castle, giving patrons the chance to Strip the Willow, have a few glasses of gold and keep the celebrations going when the night draws in. Tickets for the ceilidh will be sold separately.

Preparations for the event are now underway and ticket, entertainment line ups and activity announcements are expected to be made in early autumn.

Nicky Murphy, Project Manager for Whisky Coast said: “We are delighted to announce Spirit of the West for the year of Homecoming Scotland 2009. Preparations for the event have commenced and we are very much looking forward to working with our members, partners, local producers and communities in bringing Spirit of the West to life. We look forward to sharing our passion for Whisky and celebrating the very fabric of the west coast next May with people from all over the UK and the world.”

Councillor Douglas Philand, Argyll and Bute Council's Arts and Culture spokesperson, said: "Spirit of the West looks set to be a wonderful event. Not only will it showcase the excellent food and produce we have in this area but it will also help promote our unique culture and heritage. I wish the organisers every success."

Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Homecoming Scotland 2009 is a country wide programme of events and activities that will celebrate some of Scotland’s contributions to the world: Burns, Whisky, Golf, Great Scottish Minds and Innovations and Scotland’s culture and heritage. Spirit of the West is a key feature of Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month in May 2009 and we look forward to working with the organisers to make it a great success “

Spirit of the West is organised by the team behind The Whisky Coast, a collaboration of 16 whisky distilleries, 20 first class hotels, restaurants that boast some of Scotland’s finest produce and picturesque golf courses. Inspired by the blend of whisky, rugged coastlines and the dramatic atmosphere of Scotland’s west coast, The Whisky Coast runs from Arran to Skye, covering both mainland locations and islands.

Please visit the Dram Room at www.whiskycoast.co.uk for further details and updates on Spirit of the West.

Article Courtesy of Allmedia Scotland

 

Allmedia Scotland

17 Sep
2008

Glen Moray whisky brand sold to French spirits company

The Glenmorangie Company is selling its Glen Moray distillery and whisky brand to independent French spirits company La Martiniquaise.

The sale of the Glen Moray distillery marks part of Glenmorangie's re-organisation plans which were announced in July and incorporate a major investment programme worth £45 million. The plans will see the company focus on developing its premium single malt Scotch whisky brands - Glenmorangie and Ardbeg - to meet a growing demand for single malt whisky in key and emerging markets such as Asia, Europe and the USA.

La Martiniquaise already has significant Scotch whisky operations in Scotland; Glen Turner single malt and Label 5 blended scotch whisky are both bottled at its Bathgate distillery in West Lothian where.

Chief executive of The Glenmorangie Company, Paul Neep, said: "We believe that La Martiniquaise will provide an excellent ‘home' for the distillery, the brand and its employees and they will continue to develop and expand the Glen Moray brand."

All employees at the Glen Moray distillery are expected to retain their jobs as part of the sale agreement. The deal is expected to formally complete before the end of October.

Glen Moray distillery was originally built as a brewery in 1831 and was converted to a distillery in 1897. The Glenmorangie Company had owned the distillery since 1920.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

16 Sep
2008

Diageo chief executive's annual earnings drop by £1m

In addition to this, the Diageo CEO pocketed more than £2.7m under share-based long-term incentive plans, compared to £3.7m the year before.

His pension pot, which accrues at a rate of 1/30 of annual base salary every year, rose by £1.36m to a transfer value of £8.26m.

The maker of Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, which last month cut its growth forecasts for the coming year, has boosted its bonuses for 2008-09, with the maximum performance share award increased to a maximum of 375% of salary, up from 250%.

In August, it announced pre-tax profits for last year were flat at £2bn after acquisition costs outweighed the benefits of an increase in sales from £9.9bn to £10.6bn.

Franz Humer, the Diageo chairman and former head of Swiss pharmaceutical company Group Roche who took over the role in July of this year, is receiving an annual fee of £400,000.

Paul Walsh, chief executive of spirits giant Diageo, has seen his income drop by more than £1m after suffering a cut in his bonuses.

Walsh took home a total package of £5.059m, the company's annual report published yesterday revealed, compared to £6.3m last year. On top of a basic salary of £1.087m, he received an annual performance bonus of £1.188m for the year ended June 30, 2008.

Awarded according to pre-set targets based on Diageo's overall perfor-mance, this can be worth up to twice Walsh's basic salary but for the 2008 financial year was £345,000 less than he received in 2007.

He also got £3000 under a share incentive plan and £39,000 in other benefits.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

15 Sep
2008

Ardbeg launches digital drive for new whisky

Ardbeg is launching a digital drive to promote its new whisky expression, Blasda.

The campaign, created by Story, will target Ardbeg customers to create a buzz around the new drink, Blasda, which is means ‘sweet and delicious’, in Gaelic and is produced on the untamed spirit of Islay.

The drive will unveil how Ardbeg produces its whisky and customers will be sent an email, where they can click through to a Blasda microsite to ‘dig a bit deeper’ about the brand. They will also be encouraged to play a game of ‘tipple toppling’ and shop online for the sweet light expression of Ardbeg.

Story creative director Dave Mullen says: “Ardbeg is the wild child of the whisky world and it’s clear that the brand is not ready for settling down any time soon. Blasda is typically unorthodox and so is the digital campaign. We are pushing the barriers to challenge Ardbeg lovers but at the same time appeal to a new audience.”

Article Courtesy of Precision Marketing

 

Precision Marketing

14 Sep
2008

Entrepreneurs plan to bring whisky back to Falkirk

New distillery set to carry on town’s tradition as stocks of Rosebank disappear

FALKIRK IS set to have its own whisky distillery for the first time in 15 years as a group of local developers aims to revive the town's Rosebank malt.

The return of the triple-distilled single malt now hinges on a planning application by entrepreneurs Fiona and Alan Stewart of The Falkirk Distillery Company (TFDC).

It is not clear, however, how the Stewarts, who plan to produce 60,000 litres of the spirit every year, will be able to get their wish of using the Rosebank name. Brand owner Diageo, which still sells the old stock, has said it is not willing to sell the name and the new Scotch whisky regulations prohibit using an old whisky's name unless it is made in the same distillery.

Backed by their father George, owner of Grangemouth-based Midland Electrical Winding, the Stewarts' £5 million plan is to build a new distillery together with an 80-seat restaurant, visitor centre and five tourist shops. It would create 83 jobs and add another tourist attraction to the area in addition to the Falkirk Wheel and forthcoming Helix eco-park.

The new distillery aims to correct the locally perceived injustice of Diageo's decision, when deciding on the location of a single lowland distillery, to favour Glenkinchie in East Lothian over the Falkirk distillery. Local loyalty to Rosebank is supported by some whisky industry sources who believe the Falkirk whisky is the better product, albeit manufactured in less picturesque surroundings.

Fiona Stewart told the Sunday Herald that if they were not able to use the Rosebank name, they would brand the whisky The Falkirk Distillery Company.

She said: "In a few years, Rosebank will be no longer. There's going to be no more whisky and part of the history of Falkirk will be lost.

"We knew that the Rosebank distillery was up for sale a few years ago but it wasn't viable for us to buy it. We thought it would be an idea to take some of the heritage from Rosebank and take it forward."

She said they were moving to a new site because the current mothballed site in the town's Camelon area is part of a housing development by British Waterways. But to get as close as possible to the whisky's original flavour - described by one writer as having "hints of white fruits and cut flowers" - TFDC aims to use the original copper stills, mash tun and other equipment.

The developer has also been told by water consultants that the water running through its site, which is farming land off the A9 in East Beancross to the west of the town, has the right mix of natural impurities suitable for quality Scotch. The distillery would be located within the town's Helix project, which has £25m of National Lottery backing and will be dominated by two 100ft horse sculptures.

If the council agrees to the new distillery, it will be built in the traditional whitewash pagoda style, similar to the Dalwhinnie plant in Inverness-shire. Planning delays are likely to push the opening date back from the proposed April 2009 to 2010.

The company aims to charge £5 for entry and will offer distillery tours and tasting. Taking advantage of the location off the M9, close to the Falkirk Wheel, it is hoping to attract 16,000 visitors in its first year, rising to 24,000 within three years.

The distillery was closed in 1993 by owner United Distillers before being bought out by Diageo.

A spokesman for Diageo said the Rosebank distillery was closed because of the town's expansion and "environmental management issues". He added: "We are happy to be helpful and contribute where we can, but the trademark is not for sale and we retain the brand name".

A successful outcome for the Stewarts would gratify worldwide fans of the late whisky and beer connoisseur Michael Jackson, who died last August. Jackson wrote that "if there is a God" Rosebank whisky would be produced again.

Article Courtesy of Sunday Herald

 

Sunday Herald

12 Sep
2008

Scotch whisky exports buck downturn

The scotch whisky industry is optimistic about its prospects even with the downturn in the world's leading economies. Exports in the first half of this year were up 14%.

Today a consignment of scotch bound for China leaves the port of Greenock near Glasgow in the BBC Box.

The BBC Box is a year-long project to illustrate the growth in world trade.

It was launched on Monday at Southampton - equipped with GPS satellite transmitter.

Its progress can be tracked through the BBC website during its voyages around the world over the next year.

The aim of the project is to lift a veil on the complex patterns of global trade.

To China

First stop is a scotch whisky bottling plant in Paisley. Here a consignment of Chivas Regal has been bottled for the Chinese market.

Export sales are booming - and the company is working flat out to meet demand from overseas customers. Some 150 containers come and go every working day.

Even with the slowdown in many leading economies, demand for scotch is holding up.

There is robust growth in most of the major markets, including North America.

Total Scotch sales in China have risen dramatically, from just £1m in 2000 to £40m last year.

It is thought another £30m or so is sold on from consignments arriving in Singapore.

New investment

Distilling capacity is being increased at its fastest rate since the early 1970s.

A new malt distillery was opened in Girvan by William Grant and Sons last year.

Diageo is planning a major new plant on Speyside.

Mothballed plants are also coming back into operation.

More than £500m of new investment has been announced over the last 18 months, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

High spirits

The industry says there are just more than 9,000 people directly employed and another 31,000 in related trades such as bottle manufacture.

But it admits that when sales increase employment levels remain static.

The Box, with its cargo of whisky, is bound for the port of Greenock.

There it will be loaded onto a container ship - ultimate destination Shanghai.

The industry's upbeat mood is good news for the British economy, which needs whatever export growth it can get as demand and activity falters in other sectors.

The weaker pound can only lift spirits even higher.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

11 Sep
2008

Diageo to launch new Scotch whisky

UK-based drinks company Diageo will launch a new Scotch whisky called Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition in September 2008.

The new whisky will be available at Selfridges, Harrods and on-trade outlets including The Dorchester Hotel and The Ritz.

Jonathan Driver, brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition, said: "Johnnie Walker has access to an unrivalled collection of fine whiskies that date back to the early 20th century. This stock of whiskies has been carefully maintained for generations and is the diamond mine of the industry. Some of the rarest whiskies have gone into the creation of this extraordinary blend of Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Edition.

Article Courtesy of Datamonitor

 

Datamonitor

10 Sep
2008

Whisky makers say France just can’t make Scotch

The maker of France's first single malt whisky could face legal action for alleged incorrect labelling.

According to The Scotsman, whisky bosses are unhappy over the Bercloux Drinks Company's claim that its single malt, using raw whisky imported from Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, but matured in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France, is a Scotch whisky.

The Scotch Whisky Association insists the whisky cannot be labelled Scottish if it has been matured in France, and breaks strict rules set up to protect the industry.

Brasserie Bercloux has declined to comment on the issue.

Article Courtesy of Irish Sun

 

Irish Sun

09 Sep
2008

Scotland’s Whisky Coast Invites the World to Come Home for Spirit of the West

Announcement of Event at Inveraray Castle May 2009

The Whisky Coast, Scotland’s west coast whisky trail, will present “Spirit of the West”, a spectacular weekend event on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May 2009 at Inveraray Castle, Argyllshire. Spirit of the West is part of the year long Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations and is a key feature of its “Whisky Month” in May. The ticketed two day event will be a celebration of Scotland’s west coast whisky and the rich culture and dramatic scenery in which it is created.

Spirit of the West aims to attract up to 6,000 visitors over the two days, inviting those from the UK and all over the world to take part. The event is a must for lovers of Scotland’s single malts, food & drink, golf and Scottish ancestry. It is also perfect for those who simply love and want to experience Scotland’s vibrancy, historic traditions and rugged scenery. Spirit of the West will cater for little ones too, with fun and educational entertainment making it a perfect family event.

Inspired by the historic community cultures, tales, mysteries and theatrical scenery that lie behind every single malt, the event, which will run from 11am to 6pm each day, will be a showcase for whisky culture. Whisky tasting, food sampling and cookery demonstrations will run alongside historical trails, fashion shows, music, arts & crafts and golfing activities. This will bring all that surrounds Whisky in the west coast of Scotland to one location - the stunning grounds of Inveraray Castle.

On the Saturday evening, a traditional Scottish ceilidh will be held at the castle, giving patrons the chance to Strip the Willow, have a few glasses of gold and keep the celebrations going when the night draws in. Tickets for the ceilidh will be sold separately.

Preparations for the event are now underway and ticket, entertainment line ups and activity announcements are expected to be made in early autumn.

Nicky Murphy, Project Manager for Whisky Coast said: “We are delighted to announce Spirit of the West for the year of Homecoming Scotland 2009. Preparations for the event have commenced and we are very much looking forward to working with our members, partners, local producers and communities in bringing Spirit of the West to life. We look forward to sharing our passion for Whisky and celebrating the very fabric of the west coast next May with people from all over the UK and the world.”

Councillor Douglas Philand, Argyll and Bute Council's Arts and Culture spokesperson, said: "Spirit of the West looks set to be a wonderful event. Not only will it showcase the excellent food and produce we have in this area but it will also help promote our unique culture and heritage. I wish the organisers every success."

Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Homecoming Scotland 2009 is a country wide programme of events and activities that will celebrate some of Scotland’s contributions to the world: Burns, Whisky, Golf, Great Scottish Minds and Innovations and Scotland’s culture and heritage. Spirit of the West is a key feature of Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month in May 2009 and we look forward to working with the organisers to make it a great success “

Spirit of the West is organised by the team behind The Whisky Coast, a collaboration of 16 whisky distilleries, 20 first class hotels, restaurants that boast some of Scotland’s finest produce and picturesque golf courses. Inspired by the blend of whisky, rugged coastlines and the dramatic atmosphere of Scotland’s west coast, The Whisky Coast runs from Arran to Skye, covering both mainland locations and islands.

Please visit the Dram Room at www.whiskycoast.co.uk for further details and updates on Spirit of the West.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

09 Sep
2008

Round-the-world yachtsman made honorary stillman

Distillery bestows honour on sir robin

ROUND-THE-WORLD yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was made an honorary stillman during a visit to the Benromach Distillery at Forres yesterday.

Sir Robin, the first person to sail around the world single handedly, was shown around the distillery to see areas of whisky production including milling, mashing, distillation and cask filling. He was also made global brand ambassador for Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky earlier this year.

On April 22, 1969, he became the first man to sail around the globe non-stop and single-handed when he arrived in Falmouth, Cornwall, 312 days after setting off from there.

He has been named Yachtsman of the Year three times and was knighted in 1995.

Sir Robin said: “As the brand ambassador and whisky connoisseur I was happy to visit the distillery in Forres, meet the distillers and find out more about their craft.”

Benromach was founded in 1898 and is Speyside’s smallest working distillery. It was closed in 1983 before being refurbished by Gordon & MacPhail and reopened in 1998.

David Urquhart, joint managing director of Gordon & MacPhail, said: “Taking part in the honorary stillman programme is a great way of fully understanding the hands-on processes used in making whisky at Benromach.

“We feel Sir Robin’s stories of determination, bravery and mot- ivation will be of interest to the target market for the Benromach brand.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

08 Sep
2008

Dram fine day out

HIGHLAND Park single malt Scotch whisky has been welcoming visitors to its new-look £250,000 distillery visitor centre in Orkney.

Visitor centre manager Patricia Retson said: “Over the last year, group visits have more than doubled, which is testament to our growing number of whisky fans.

“The revamped distillery visitor centre will give guests a truly exceptional experience, as well as enabling us to facilitate a greater number of visitors.”

Visit-Orkney island manager Barbara Foulkes said: “Highland Park’s investment is a real boost for Orkney tourism, which has enjoyed 15.1% growth in visitor numbers in 2007 compared with 2006.

“The wide range of visitor attractions across Orkney are crucial to our tourism industry, drawing visitors from Scotland, the rest of the UK and around the world.”

The revamped visitor centre brings to life the distillery and its relationship with Orkney.

A tasting bar features Orkney dry-stone walls and traditional oak reclaimed from an original Highland Park washback previously used in the fermentation stage of making the single malt. A new cask education area highlights the vital role of the sherry oak casks used to develop the distinctive richness and multi-dimensional complexity of the whisky.

The tasting room will showcase a selection of Highland Park bottlings old and new, as well as more than 200 whisky books, including some rare tomes of up to 200 years old – such as an original copy of Alfred Barnard’s The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, published in 1887.

It is the ultimate room for Highland Park connoisseurs, with Orcadian-style interior design including handmade Orkney furniture from local craft company Sui Generis Furniture.

Established in 1798, Highland Park is one of the oldest Scotch whisky distilleries. More important than age, though, is the combination of traditional whisky-making techniques with obsessive attention to detail that has made Highland Park, arguably, the most respected single malt in the world.

For further information, visit the website at www.highlandpark.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

07 Sep
2008

Whisky galore

Diageo is raising a glass as sales of Johnnie Walker pass £1bn a year

They make an unlikely trio, but what do Lewis Hamilton, the racing driver, actor Harvey Keitel and Italian footballer Roberto Baggio have in common?

The answer is that they have all at some time helped to promote Johnnie Walker, the world’s best-selling brand of scotch whisky. Baggio and Keitel appeared in television ads for the brand, while Hamilton’s Formula One team Mercedes McLaren is sponsored by Johnnie Walker.

Their contribution will be especially appreciated by managers at Diageo, the British drinks group that owns the famous whisky.

Paul Walsh, Diageo’s chief executive, announced 10 days ago that sales of Johnnie Walker, which traces its roots back to 1820, had passed sales of £1 billion a year for the first time. This places it in an elite group of global spirits brands that include Bacardi rum and Smirnoff vodka, another Diageo product.

This achievement should not be underestimated, according to industry analysts. Sales of the vodka and rum brands are helped by the availability of ready-to-drink variants such as Bacardi Breezers — they are mass-market labels.

Johnnie Walker, on the other hand, is marketed as a premium spirit and sells at a higher price, cutting down the number of people who would be drawn to it.

“It is a very significant milestone,” said Alan Gray, an analyst at Sutherlands Edinburgh and author of the Scotch Whisky Industry Review.

The challenge will be to keep sales growing. Johnnie Walker has been at the forefront of a general boom in scotch exports over the past three years, but the industry must not get carried away.

A rash of new distilleries, the first for several years, is indicative of the sector’s new-found optimism, but Gray noted that we have been here before.

“One has to be a wee bit cautious,” he said. “The economic background is not the best and it will have an impact. But \ is going through a good period and the medium-term outlook is positive.”

Johnnie Walker’s positioning as a deluxe drink has propelled its recent growth. It sells in significant quantities in mature markets such as America, but it has really taken off in emerging markets such as China, Russia and Latin America. Consumers in those regions regard scotch as an increasingly affordable luxury.

“A lot of our consumers use Johnnie Walker to demonstrate their status,” said David Gates, Johnnie Walker’s brand manager.

He said that marketing activity such as the sponsorship of McLaren underscores this. “When customers see the brand on the side of the car and on the track signs, it gives them the reassurance that this is a ‘statusful’ brand.”

Gates said that the business had been forced to ride some bumpy economic conditions to achieve its position. In Brazil, for example, after the devaluation of the real against the dollar, Diageo was forced to raise the price of Johnnie Walker by 65% but, crucially, it did not retreat from the country.

“It was pretty scary,” said Gates. “We held our nerve and kept on marketing, building the brand. As the economy turned and grew, we really reaped the benefit.” In 1998, Diageo sold 400,000 cases of Johnnie Walker Red Label in Brazil; by last year it was shifting close to 1m.

Diageo is also changing its marketing strategy as more markets acquire a taste for scotch. The present campaign, featuring the “Keep Walking” slogan, has been running for almost 10 years. In its first few years — the time of the Keitel and Baggio ads — the same commercials were used all over the world (although few of them were screened in Britain, a fairly unimportant territory for the brand).

More recently Diageo has tailored its advertising to suit different cultures. For these purposes, the globe is divided into Asia and the rest of the world, and these two are then sub-divided into three more categories according to how long Johnnie Walker has been available. In some cases, this is quite some time: the company is fond of boasting that the brand was in 120 countries before Coca-Cola was first exported from America.

In the decade since Keep Walking was introduced, one thing has stayed constant, no matter where an ad is displayed — the refusal to employ any of the traditional imagery of Scotland that regularly features in commercials for other brands of scotch.

Before developing its first crop of ads, executives at BBH, the advertising agency that coined the slogan, spent several days going through tapes of whisky ads from around the world. Most of them featured the same motifs — the tartan and the heather or the sense of refinement that goes with drinking scotch. It was something that Diageo’s marketing men wanted to distance from Johnnie Walker.

Another notable facet of the brand’s success is the range of variants, allowing it to cater for a variety of tastes — and wallets. Diageo regards Black Label as the core of the range, but in some markets the cheaper Red variant is more popular. “Where Red Label is successful, clearly it can become a recruitment tool for Black Label down the road,” said John Wakely, a drinks-industry consultant.

The range also allows Diageo to tinker with the brand at the deluxe end. This week Johnnie Walker Blue Label George V goes on sale in Britain for the first time, where it will sell for £420 a bottle. It has already proved a success in Asia, where in some places customers can even have their bottles engraved with a personal message.

Whisky sales are booming, but pressures on the industry are mounting. Prices of raw ingredients, such as barley, have been rising — costs are expected to climb 5% this year — and with soaring demand, there is a risk that supplies could start to dwindle. The whisky used to make Black Label, for example, has to be 12 years old, so there is a finite amount available, hence the rush by many distillers to increase production to ensure there will be enough stock to meet future demand.

“It’s very difficult to get the balance right,” said an industry executive.

That is a challenge that Diageo has to meet head on. “It is vital that they continue to do a good job,” said Simon Hales, beverages analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort. “Johnnie Walker is central to the sustainability of profit growth for the group.”

Article Courtesy of The Times

 

The Times

02 Sep
2008

Speyside whisky event sets record

THIS year's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival ­attracted a record numbers of visitors, an independent ­market research study has confirmed.

Around 17,000 people, 6% more than last year, flocked to Moray for the five-day event and over £650,000 was generated for the local economy.

Jim Royan, who has taken over from Dick ­Ruane as festival chairman, said: "This is an impressive result."

Now work has started planning for next year's 10th Spirit of Speyside, which is being extended to 10 days and has been chosen by the national Homecoming campaign as one of the main features of the programme aiming to draw people with Scots connections from all over the world.

Mr Royan said the newly published figures demonstrated the valuable financial contribution being made to the area's economy. "It is particularly encouraging to see the festival grow in such a positive manner at a time when overall tourism figures are less buoyant.

"Despite the increasing costs of fuel, we welcomed visitors from all over the world, with a noticeable increase from Central and Eastern Europe and in the UK, with people making use of low-cost airline routes into Aberdeen and Inverness," he added.

Spirit of Speyside was launched in 1999 to celebrate Scotland's "malt whisky country" through a series of specialist whisky events.

"The many aspects include specialist whisky tastings, the marriage of fine Speyside food and malt whisky and the increasing number of outdoor activities to be enjoyed by all the family," said Mr Royan.

"The contribution made by community groups, ­associations, local cadets and youth groups is invaluable and much appreciated, and many are already planning events for the 2009 programme, the 10th birthday and Homecoming Scotland's signature event for the Whisky Pillar and the North-east.

"The festival will double in size, running for 10 days, and will include many new events as well as the launch of a special Whisky School, a pageant embracing the heritage, folklore and culture of the River Spey, Speyside and its people. The hallmark of quality will captivate all those visitors who will come to enjoy the festival and the many other attractions that Moray and Speyside have to offer.

"We are a unique and ­important part of Europe and must continue to celebrate our good fortune."

Article Courtesy of The Northern Scot

 

The Northern Scot

01 Sep
2008

Whisky marketing passes responsibility audit

An in-depth audit of industry marketing practice has concluded that Scotch whisky companies are meeting the highest standards of responsible brand marketing and promotion. Research by The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) found that distillers had successfully implemented tough industry rules into everyday marketing practices.

The SWA Code of Practice on responsible marketing and promotion was launched in 2005. It is mandatory in the UK and sets best practice for SWA members worldwide. Following the audit, which involved face to face interviews and a review of marketing material, SWA members have agreed to revise the code to introduce new sponsorship guidelines and to extend its mandatory scope EU-wide.

Jack Law, chairman of the code's independent complaints panel and chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, reviewed the SWA's audit process and findings. He said: "The SWA's code has taken on board the frequent criticism of self regulatory codes - that they are soft on enforcement - by introducing mechanisms to fine, name and shame, and ultimately expel a member continually breaching the code. This is a welcome dimension and one that Alcohol Focus Scotland would like to see introduced into the codes of similar bodies.

"The code is well used by SWA members seeking advice on its application and enjoys the benefit of having no official complaints lodged since its introduction. This is a measure of the positive value and effectiveness of the code. The audit findings have also provided SWA members with some issues to consider which can only improve the code's effectiveness in the future."

Article Courtesy of Talking Drinks

 

Talking Drinks
July 2008 Scotch Whisky News

29 Aug
2008

Whisky firm sells off distillery

A leading whisky firm has announced the sale of a Speyside distillery.

Chivas Brothers said it was selling Glendronach so it could concentrate on developing and improving its remaining 13 malt distilleries.

It said the new owners, The Benriach Distillery Company, would be able to "give it the attention it deserved".

The firm was was set up by three entrepreneurs in 2004 when they bought Benriach, which was also previously owned by Chivas Brothers.

Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of leading drinks group Pernod Ricard.

Christian Porta, Chivas Brothers CEO, said: "We currently have 13 operational malt distilleries, including the recently re-opened Braeval distillery.

"We have also started significant expansion plans for The Glenlivet Distillery, which is one of the top 15 priority brands of Pernod Ricard.

"Therefore, our focus is to continue to develop and improve these distilleries."

The BenRiach Distillery Company an independent and privately-owned organisation, which currently produces single malt whiskies at Benriach in Speyside.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

29 Aug
2008

I’m dreaming of a Black Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, so why not treat your loved one with a famous and award winning whisky sure to delight all whisky and bird lovers this Christmas, while also helping a rare breed.

The Black Grouse – the latest addition to The Famous Grouse family – is a unique blend of The Famous Grouse with added Islay malts to create rich smoky and peaty flavours with a long smooth finish.

The Famous Grouse, Scotland’s favourite whisky, has formed a partnership with the RSPB to help save the whiskies namesake, the black grouse, from extinction. For every bottle of The Black Grouse sold a donation of 50 pence will go directly to fund urgently required conservation work in Scotland, England and Wales.

So, not only will you be presenting your loved one with a wonderful gift to enjoy on Christmas day and beyond, you will also be helping to save and conserve the unique black grouse game bird in the UK.

The Black Grouse has already been recognised with a Gold medal in the Scotch whisky category at this year’s International Spirit Challenge (ISC), just two months after it was launched into the UK.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

28 Aug
2008

Beam unveils autumn ad campaign for Teacher’s whisky

Spirits company Beam Global UK has unveiled the national press advertising campaign it is launching next month to support its on-pack offer for Teacher's Blended Scotch Whisky.

Consumers will be given the chance to win an "iconic classic car" in the promotion, which is being supported by ads in national broadsheet newspapers and a number of consumer magazine titles. The ads show a "typical" Scotch whisky drinker and classic car enthusiast, Mike "oily" Wragg in his garage beside his pride and joy, enjoying his own space with a glass of Teacher's. The campaign will reach over five million target consumers.

The promotion is available on 100,000 bottles of Teacher's and also includes the chance to win one of 250 tool kits worth £150 each. The activity is part of Beam's £1.5 million investment in the brand this year and is part of Beam's ‘Create Your Space' campaign, designed to target men over the age of 30.

All campaign activity directs consumers to a new website, www.teacherswhisky.com/space which has already been visited by more than 10,000 people since its re-launch this spring.

Beam Global UK's marketing manager, Aileen Nicol, says: "National press advertising will support our 'Create Your Space' campaign designed to increase consumer interest and engagement in the blended Scotch whisky category. It also makes Teacher's the most relevant and accessible brand to target consumers and fulfils our company ambition of building brands people want to talk about."

Article Courtesy of Talking Drinks

 

Talking Drinks

27 Aug
2008

anCnoc announces Scottish arts sponsorships

anCnoc Highland Single Malt whisky has announced its 2008 sponsorships of several major Scottish arts venues and events.

Well-known arts hot spots such as The Arches, The Tron Theatre, The Fruitmarket Gallery, The Traverse Theatre as well as the Red Door Gallery, are included in the ongoing sponsorship programme.

‘The perfect malt to mix with’ will be available throughout the year at these selected venues as well as other arts centres with customers offered "anCnoctails" – cocktails especially created to suit the flavours of anCnoc.

Already popular cocktails include the anCnocito and the anCnoc Apple Mac.

Says Nicola Ball, brand manager of anCnoc: "The Scottish arts and creative scene is one of the most outstanding in the UK. So many highly talented individuals and groups contribute each year to a brilliant programme of events and anCnoc is delighted to be involved in this sector. We want to support our venues by all means possible and continue to establish a long-lasting partnership.’

In addition to this dedicated sponsorship programme, anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky will also be the official spirit of the Lighthouse’s Gathering Space at this year’s Venice Architectural Biennale.

Furthermore, anCnoc will be supporting the Arts and Business Scotland Awards, which will take place on 21 October in the Aberdeen Music Hall, as well as other events yet to be announced.

Article Courtesy of The Drum

 

The Drum

24 Aug
2008

Diageo whisky prices to face second review of year

SCOTCH WHISKY drinkers could face another hike in the cost of their favourite tipple as Diageo reviews for the second time this year the domestic pricing structure of brands including Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bell's and Buchanan's.

News of a potential increase could come as early as Thursday when chief executive Paul Walsh is expected to disclose that the group has seen a £100 million rise in its costs for items such as grain, energy, glass and packaging over the past year, which analysts expect to have taken the edge off this year's profit growth.

A spokesman commented last week: "As with any business - especially when cost prices are rising significantly - we regularly review our pricing strategy to ensure we are in line with the marketplace, have our cost and profit ratio balanced and can continue to offer customers and consumers brands which are good value. As always, we will continue to give our customers plenty of notice of any planned changes."

Drinkers have already had to cope with Diageo's last price rises in February and the effects of a 9% duty rise in the spring, which raised the tax man's share to £5.98 on a 70 cl bottle (and 28.9p on a standard pub measure) before taking account of VAT.

The Scotch Whisky Association says the price of cereals has risen anywhere between 35% and 100% in the past year, while glass bottles have increased by up to 20% and other packaging by around 10%.

These costs, though, make up a relatively small part of producing whisky and areas such as marketing and storage until maturity are far more significant.

Diageo and the other major distillers send more than 90% of their product overseas, where they have been enjoying highly profitable business because of the effects of the weak pound on dollar and euro earnings.

Diageo directly employs 4500 people in its whisky distilleries and provides employment for another 12,000 Scots who provide raw materials and help in distribution.

It is set to open a new malt dist-illery in Roseisle next spring as part of a £100m investment programme to cope with global demand that saw total industry exports soar by 14% to a record £2.8 billion last year.

"Obviously, the group concentrates much of its focus overseas, but Paul Walsh is determined to get more value out of the brands at home," said one analyst.

"Pricing is one area, although he has to be careful in the present difficult home market.

"I expect much of future marketing to be aimed at premium products, which enjoy higher margins and are less price sensitive."

Diageo, which is the world's biggest spirits firm and whose other brands include Smirnoff, Baileys, Captain Morgan rum and Guinness, is expected to celebrate its export success with news of an underlying 9% increase in operating returns and a lift in pre-tax profits from £2.06bn to £2.2bn on Thursday.

Brokers now believe the important US market, accounting for one third of sales, will have performed better than earlier fears following recent encouraging market research data from Nielsen, and they say America's profits contribution may have grown by another 5% in the second half.

But there are some concerns that the UK and Ireland may have suffered from the general economic malaise that could result in a slowdown in the European contribution, particularly at Guinness, which gained from a successful marketing programme in the earlier months of the year.

Diageo shares have moved against the market trend to rise by 13% since the early summer because investors see the company as an obvious beneficiary of the falling pound.

Followers at Deutsche Bank believe directors could underline the group's defensive qualities with a surprise 10% increase in this week's dividend payment, although they caution that the move may be accompanied by a slippage in earnings targets for 2009.

The analysts believe that profits growth may be limited to 7% to 9% for the current year rather than previous company guidance of at least 9% for 2008.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that Diageo could announce a new share buyback programme of up to £750m after splashing out an estimated £1bn to reduce its capital base in the past year.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

22 Aug
2008

Diageo to open 'green' whisky distillery in Scotland

The traditional is mixing with the renewable at Scotland's first new major whisky distillery for 30 years.

Diageo, the world's biggest drinks business, is investing £40m to develop the distillery at picturesque Roseisle in Morayshire, creating 25 jobs and introducing a green touch in the shape of renewable energy as the power source.

Work reached a crucial stage this week with the installation of the traditional distillery signpost - 14 copper stills with their hand-crafted tuba-style shoulders. A team of coppersmiths at Diageo's Abercrombie workshops spent four months making the 25ft-high stills, carefully hammering the rounded shoulders into shape by hand.

They accompanied the stills, each weighing five to six tonnes, to help installation in a stillhouse designed to ease maintenance. "Traditional coppersmith skills have a huge influence on the spirit that is produced," said Brian Higgs, Diageo's malt distilling director.

Diageo has already signalled an increase in green investment with a £65m renewable technology programme at Scotland's biggest distillery, Cameron Bridge in Fife, to reduce carbon emissions by 56,000 tonnes. The facility will recover 98pc of steam and 80pc of electrical power at the distillery, reducing water and energy consumption.

Other plants could follow. Diageo has two grain and 27 malt distilleries in Scotland, producing nearly 50m cases of leading brands of Scotch and white spirits and more than 6m cases of ready-to-drink brands. There is capacity to store up to 7m casks of maturing spirit.

Overall, Diageo is investing £100m in Scotland where it employs 4,500 people.

Around 90pc of the whisky produced in Scotland ends up overseas.

Article Courtesy of The Telegraph

 

The Telegraph

20 Aug
2008

Rare whisky goes on auction at Harrods

The first ever bottle of Jura 40 year old whisky is to be sold at a silent auction at Harrods.

The first bottling of the single malt whisky, which is also the last remaining of the 98 bottles produced, is expected to be sold for more than £2000 - the reserve price that has been placed on it.

Harrods kicked off the auction last week with a themed Scottish day in the store which runs until the end of the month. ‘The Glorious 12th' event saw the first grouse of the season shot and transported from Scotland, alongside the Jura 40, and displayed in-store.

Richard Paterson, master distiller, said: "This is a very special whisky indeed. Filled to cask on November 12 1966, this whisky has been maturing on the beachfront of Jura for 40 years giving it great complexity in character. It was an instant hit when we brought it out last year and almost sold out immediately.

"The bottle we are auctioning is a very rare and collectable malt in beautiful packaging with documents to prove its authenticity. It would be a great investment buy, however I would not like to deter the receiver from opening it either, as it is also a fine dram of whisky."

Bids can be made in store until 23 September.

Article Courtesy of Talking Drinks

 

Talking Drinks

18 Aug
2008

China Gives Scottish Whisky Trademark Legal Protection

Whisky producers in Scotland are celebrating after the Chinese Government said it would grant legal protection to its drink by enshrining the phrase 'Scottish Whisky' in the country's patent laws.

The legal recognition will allow whisky makers in Scotland to take any alleged counterfeiters of their product to court in China. Major players such as the Edrington Group and Diageo have welcomed the move.

The development came following an application by the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA), which said the protection was the most stringent provided by the government. It added the cover would apply to the words ‘Scottish Whisky’ and its Chinese translation.

However, producers have also been cautioned to register patents for individual whisky trademarks in the country.

A SWA legal adviser described the decision to grant a stronger collective trademark to Scottish whiskey as “positive” and it would help protect producers from counterfeiters.

China is expected to become the fourth largest blended whisky market in the world. In 2007, some 17 million bottles of whisky from Scotland were shipped into the country.

Diageo Director of International Affairs Peter Smith said getting this definition and protection was “really important” and a “step forward”.

Ken Grier, director of malts at Edrington, said: "From an industry perspective, I think this is fantastic news because it puts us at the apex, with geographical indications such as Champagne and Parma ham. It gives us a high degree of protection and recognition."

Article Courtesy of Flex News

 

Flex News

17 Aug
2008

Thousands of whisky cases stolen

About 3,000 cases of whisky have been stolen from a lorry in Coatbridge, near Glasgow.

The trailer containing the alcohol was taken from a yard on Hornoch Road at about 2300 BST on Friday.

It is thought the load was worth £250,000 and included Dewar's Special Reserve, Aberfeldy and Glenlivet Malt.

The trailer and lorry were found, empty, in a lay-by on the A8 between Langbank and Port Glasgow at about 1700 BST on Saturday.

Strathclyde Police appealed to anyone offered cut price bottles of whisky to contact them.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

14 Aug
2008

Whisky fuelled car reaches top gear

The BBC has attempted an unusual biofuel experiment on the whisky island of Islay.

TV's wine expert Oz Clarke and Top Gear's James May attempted to run a high performance racing car on a special distillation of Bruichladdich single malt whisky. The presenters were filming for Oz and James' Great British Adventure, a series that follows on from their educational wine tours in French and Californian vineyards.

The presenters managed to achieve a speed of 60mph in 3.5 seconds after filling a Radical SR4 racing car with three litres of Bruichladdich's quadruple-distilled X4 Islay Spirit.

"The exhaust smells much better than petrol", said Duncan MacGillivray, Bruichladdich distillery manager. "It's a sustainable biofuel; but at £26 a litre, the duty and VAT isn't.

"Fuel here is a whopping £1.50 - £1.60 a litre, so it's not a viable alternative just yet. The police even tried to breathalyse the car but fortunately they had the wrong type of tester."

Article Courtesy of Evening Times

 

Evening Times

14 Aug
2008

Trust to share £50m whisky fortune with more charities

A charitable trust based on a whisky fortune has won a court case to spread its wealth among good causes, but only those which operate in Scotland.

The RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, set up by a relative of one of the founders of Glenmorangie, was established in 1978 with a donation of £50,429.37, but the success of the whisky company resulted in its assets soaring to more than £50m by 2006.

However, criteria set out in the trust's original deed meant that only certain charities have been eligible to receive grants and many applications for funding have had to be turned down.

Trustees of the Edinburgh-based organisation went to the Court of Session to seek authority to modernise its terms and help distribute its income. Yesterday, a judge decided that the provisions of the original trust deed should be changed in a move that could boost university research projects and broaden the charity work which will benefit.

But Lord Drummond Young ruled against one proposed change seeking to remove a condition that charities seeking funding should be "operating in Scotland".

The judge said: "Scotland has an outstanding record in scientific, technical and medical research and it is clear that a great deal of research is carried on to the present day.

"It may, I think, reasonably be supposed that one of objectives that the truster Mr Macdonald had in mind was to support the tradition of scientific and medical research in Scotland.

"In these circumstances it seems to me appropriate that the restriction to bodies operating in Scotland should continue in force."

The late Roderick Stewart Macdonald set up the trust in 1978 by transferring £50,000 to buy shares in the family-controlled firm, which was then called Macdonald Martin Distilleries.

The company, which had been operating since 1893, later changed its name to Glenmorangie plc, but ownership remained with the Macdonald family.

When Mr Macdonald died in 1995 his entire personal shareholding in the firm, worth around £17m, was bequeathed to the trust.

However, the shares were eventually sold for nearly three times that when the malt distiller was bought by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy for £300m in 2004.

Lord Drummond Young said: "The result is that the trustees now control very substantial assets: it is averred that these are greatly in excess of what the truster could have contemplated when he set up the trust in 1978."

Six charities were originally named as organisations to be supported by the trust, but provision was made for certain others to apply for funding if they met certain criteria. The trust secretary, Richard Austin, told the court that they had been forced to refuse a significant number of funding applications because of the details set out in the original deed.

Between July 2006 and April last year 45 applications were received but only three or four initially appeared to meet the eligibility criteria. But if the court allowed the amendments proposed they believed they would be able to consider 10 or 12 more of them.

In his ruling yesterday, Lord Drummond Young said he accepted evidence that individual grants should not generally exceed £40,000.

"That means that an increased number of beneficiaries must be found: it is not desirable to deal with increased income merely by increasing the grants to individual beneficiaries," said the judge.

The judge said he believed the difficulties faced by the trust were serious. He added: "In my opinion they impede the trustees' activities to a substantial degree and they stand in the way of the rational distribution of the income of the trust."

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

12 Aug
2008

Red-hot sales for ice-cold whisky

SCANDINAVIAN drinkers are flocking to duty free shops to snap up Scotland's latest export - bottled whisky straight from the freezer.

The whisky - a world first - is helping to protect hundreds of jobs in Glasgow.

Snow Grouse, which can be served straight from the freezer, was launched last month by the Edrington Group.

The Famous Grouse makers has its headquarters in the city's Great Western Road.

Supplies have been jetted out of Glasgow to duty free shops at airports and on ferries across Europe, and whisky connoisseurs have been queuing up to buy Snow Grouse.

Drinkers in Sweden, Norway and Denmark - who like their spirits served ice-cold - have been buying up hundreds of bottles since the launch.

Edrington chiefs say the success of Snow Grouse will help protect the jobs of the 500 workers in the firm's city bottling plant.

Article Courtesy of Evening Times

 

Evening Times

08 Aug
2008

Scottish distillery to harness whisky waste in biomass plant

Diageo plans £65m biomass plant to reuse distillation waste at Scotland's largest distillery

Global drinks giant Diageo is to build a biomass plant at its Cameronbridge distillery in Fife to provide onsite power from the distillery's own waste products.

The £65m plant will use waste products from the distillation process - known as “spent wash” - to generate 98% of the thermal steam and 80% of electrical power used at the spirits distillery, which is the largest in Scotland.

As well as cutting CO2 emissions at the distillery by 56,000 tonnes, the plant will also dispense with the need to transport 90,000 tonnes of residue away from the site.

Diageo has signed a deal with energy company Dalkia to build the facility, which is believed will be the biggest UK renewable energy plant to belong to a non-utility company.

Once construction of the plant is complete in two years' time, it will be transferred to Diageo under a finance lease arrangement.

Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland, told the BBC: “This will be a showcase bio-energy facility which harnesses a variety of green technologies in a project of an unprecedented scale in our industry.”

Article Courtesy of Building

 

Building

07 Aug
2008

Old Course Hotel is Best for Whisky

Scotland’s luxury resort, the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, has achieved Whisky Hotel of the World Supreme status, on the merit of its Road Hole Bar, in the 2008 ‘Icons of Whisky’ awards by Whisky Magazine.

The Supreme award places the Road Hole Bar within the top 25 per cent of the world’s best whisky bars and restaurants. All entries from around the world were judged by a panel of eight experts, with consideration given to the size and depth of the whisky collection, glassware used for service, proper pouring procedure and presentation, and the all-important staff knowledge.

The Road Hole Bar was recently re-launched following a refurbishment of the entire fourth floor of the hotel, including the addition of new floor-to-ceiling windows that offer some of the best views in Scotland. The Road Hole Bar is also famous for its selection of 200 whiskies, representing every operational and many mothballed distilleries in Scotland, including a Tullibardine, Highland Malt, 1988, which is only sold in the top 10 per cent of bars in the UK, and a rare Ben Wyvis, Highland Malt, 1972.

This exciting news follows on from the resort’s current listing in the “100 Ultimate Escapes” in Robb Report Luxury Resorts, which is an essential source for global travellers for whom price is no object. The magazine offers first-hand accounts of 100 exclusive properties from around the world, all boasting the highest standards for service, setting, architecture and amenities, and the Old Course Hotel is only one of four properties in the UK to be featured in this exclusive report. Meanwhile, the Road Hole Bar continues its successful streak as it has also been named a finalist in the Best Bar award in the upcoming Best of the Best Hotel Awards by Virtuoso, the luxury travel network. The winner of this category is due to be announced towards the end of August.

Debbie Taylor, the Managing Director of the Old Course Hotel commented: “This outstanding achievement is testament to the professional and passionate service carried out by my team on a daily basis. The Road Hole Bar, in particular, is a much-loved entertainment spot for our guests and visitors who come for the fantastic views, diverse selection of drinks, and exceptional knowledge of whiskies. I am delighted the bar has been recognised for its outstanding merits and I look forward to continued success for the Old Course Hotel on an international level.”

Article Courtesy of Allmedia Scotland

 

Allmedia Scotland

07 Aug
2008

Glengoyne Distillery Re-Launches Website

As part of its 175th Anniversary Celebrations, Glengoyne Distillery has re-launched its website - www.glengoyne.com - with the aim of encouraging greater customer interaction and involvement.

Dumgoyne (PRWEB) August 7, 2008 -- Principally developed for the consumer market by award-winning web design agency, Greenparka, the new website gives customers the opportunity to develop a deeper sense of ownership of Glengoyne, as well as the chance to learn directly from the whisky-making masters behind the brand.

Whether visitors wish to upload a YouTube video of their own trip to the distillery, or watch a blending session and whisky tasting, the new site is designed as an open invitation for customers to contribute with far greater freedom than ever before.

The 'Ask the Distillery' page is a personal hotline to the extensive knowledge of the Glengoyne Distillery Manager and his team, who will be able to answer all those elusive questions whisky-lovers have always wanted to know. The 'Range Tasting Notes' page lets customers pit their skills against the Glengoyne experts by posting their own tasting notes and reviews of the Glengoyne collection.

Charlie Cutler, Head of Digital at Greenparka, commented: "Glengoyne has always been excellent at listening to and engaging with their customers. They have demonstrated this again by really embracing the concept of user generated content allowing their customers to create and share their own tasting notes."

Glengoyne prides itself on being one of the most friendly, knowledgeable and approachable distilleries in the world. With this in mind they have also added a Contact Us page for general enquiries too.

As well as improving aesthetics and simplifying customer navigation, one of the key aims in the re-vamp was to increase Glengoyne's online presence. In addition to developing User Generated Content opportunities, a structured online marketing and optimisation programme will be implemented by Mackerel Media, which will be supported by PR and online promotions.

Nick Craig, founder of digital marketing specialists Mackerel Media said: "I've always thought of Glengoyne as an unsung hero of Single Malt Whisky. Those who try it tend to fall in love with it and remain loyal and enthusiastic customers. Yet, it has a relatively low online profile. Our aim is to greatly increase the visibility of the brand and grow awareness amongst those who enjoy single malt, but haven't had the pleasure of the real taste of malt."

The enhanced site also allows Glengoyne to promote their new Whisky Bus service running daily from seven pick-up points around Glasgow city centre. The innovative Whisky Bus, safely transports customers to/from the distillery, entertaining them with nosing competitions and stories of whisky smuggling, before a tour and dram of the golden nectar.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, brand owner of Glengoyne commented: "At Glengoyne, we are lucky to have strong support and good will from across the online world, especially from bloggers and independent whisky websites. I hope by making www.glengoyne.com more interactive, interesting and visible on the web, we will bring some more of their enthusiasm and passion for our whisky to our new site.

Greenparka have done a fantastic job in understanding both the needs and desires of our customers'. I am delighted with the website and expect it to bring a new, more intimate dimension to Glengoyne for all visitors, old and new."

Article Courtesy of PR Web

 

PR Web

06 Aug
2008

Distillers raise a glass to further success

CHEERS – multi award-winning Inver House Distillers has notched up yet another success

The Airdrie distillery, which recently claimed the prestigious title of International Distiller of the Year, is celebrating yet more success having collected an astonishing 11 medals at the International Spirits Challenge 2008.

Closely following the distillers' recent haul of 13 medals at the Scotch Whisky Masters Awards and 15 awards at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, this multitude of successes makes InverHouse one of Scotland's most prolific whisky industry award winners of 2008.

The International Spirits Challenge - now in its 13th year - promotes spirits from around the world.

Each year, nearly 1000 spirits from across the globe are rigorously judged and tasted by the industry's leading international spirits experts, many of whom have flown in for the occasion from other countries.

The accolades that InverHouse were awarded at the International Spirits Challenge 2008 comprise two coveted gold medals, three silver medals and six bronze medals.

With a reputation for a fresh and innovative approach to Scotch whisky, Inver House Distillers has not only been recognised at the International Spirits Challenge, the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the Scotch Whisky Masters, it also revealed a 107 per cent increase in pre-tax profits in April 2008 and won World's best Scotch blended whisky' for its rare Hankey Bannister 40-years-old blend at the World Whisky Awards.

The awards that Inver House Distillers was presented with at the International Spirits Challenge 2008 are as follows:

l Balblair Vintage 1975 - Gold Medal.

l Balblair Vintage 1989 - Bronze Medal.

l Balblair Vintage 1986 - Bronze Medal.

l Balblair Vintage 1997 - Bronze Medal.

lHankey Bannister 40-Year-Old - Gold Medal.

l Hankey Bannister 21-Year-Old - Silver Medal.

l Old Pulteney 12-Year-Old - Silver Medal.

l" Old Pulteney 17-Year-Old - Bronze Medal.

l Speyburn 10-Year-Old - Silver Medal.

l anCnoc 16-Year-Old - Bronze Medal.

l anCnoc 12-Year-Old - Bronze Medal.

Karen Walker, marketing manager at Inver House Distillers, said: "The International Spirits Challenge is a high-profile and prestigious competition and for us to have been presented with 11 medals is enormously exciting for the team. "

Article Courtesy of Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

 

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

02 Aug
2008

‘Spirit of Moray’ art exhibition

Works inspired by whisky industry go on show

ARTWORK inspired by whisky and the Moray countryside is on display at a local distillery this month.

This year’s Glenfiddich Artists in Residence programme, which is now in its seventh year, will feature seven artists from around the world.

Over the past three months, they have been working to produce pieces for an exhibition at the Dufftown-based distillery.

The first of three separate exhibitions is now under way with paintings by four artists.

The main artists featured will be New York-based Michael Sanzone and Martina Witte.

Mr Sanzone has constructed works using chunks of wood cut from old whisky casks, while Ms Witte has painted a number of works exploring textures in the local environment.

Also featured in the exhibition are works by UK-based Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, who is originally from Nigeria. Her paintings are inspired by distillery workers, including those in the cooperage.

And Shanghai artist Jin Feng will show a composite picture he has made from around 2,500 photographs he has taken since arriving here, as well as a short video.

A further two exhibitions will be held later this month and in September when work by the remaining artists will be shown.

Distillery art manager Andy Fairgrieve said: “The final exhibition will be held to coincide with the Speyside autumn whisky festival.”

The exhibition is open at the distillery from Thursday to Sunday, between 12.30pm and 5.30pm.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal
July 2008 Scotch Whisky News

31 July
2008

Graphic Partners takes Langs whisky upmarket

Branding and packaging consultancy Graphic Partners has refreshed the identity of Langs Supreme blended malt whisky, in a bid to lift it into the premium market.

The Edinburgh-based consutlancy was briefed by Ian McLeod Distillers to rework the traditional whisky brand with a new bottle and packaging emphasising Langs’ Scottish heritage, while boosting its premium brand credentials and shelf presence.

Iain Weir, marketing director of Ian McLeod Distilleries, comments, ‘When we looked at Langs’ packaging we found it to be tired and not at all representative of the quality of the whisky inside the bottle. But we didn’t want to forget or underestimate the history, provenance or authenticity of the brand.’

While modernising the brand appeal, the Scottish distillery was also keen to re-establish a visual connection with its Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Whiskey, which Weir says is at the heart of its blend.

Similar design points include the ‘heraldic’ barley sheaf on Langs’ label, which is repeated on the Glengoyne range, as well as the oval barley sheaf watermarked on both bottles.

Weir says, ‘Today Langs is very much a niche blend for the curious adventurer who wants to look beyond the major whisky brands and discover something new.’

Langs’ new premium bottle is accompanied by a premium price tag of around £12.99 for 70cl – a hike of almost £3.

Article Courtesy of Design Week

 

Design Week

30 July
2008

BenRiach 16YO Sauternes Finish Released

July sees the launch of a number of new expressions from The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd, the 1st of which is the BenRiach 16 Years Old Sauternes Finish.

Matured in the traditional style in American bourbon barrels, this Single Malt whisky is then finished in Chateau D’Yquem Premier Cru Superior Sauternes wine barrels (sourced from the Bordeaux region of France), for a period of approximately 2 ½ years.

Chateau D’Yquem Sauternes casks are extremely hard to come by, and this release represents the rarest of all of our wood finishes, with just 281 six-packs bottled for worldwide distribution.

During this 2nd period of maturation the whisky derives a number of additional flavours and aromas specific to the Sauternes barrels.

Tasting notes

Nose: Sultanas, figs, butterscotch.

Colour: Rich gold.

Taste: Rich sweet Sauternes notes married with tropical fruits, melons, toffee, sultanas and butterscotch.

http://www.benriachdistillery.co.uk/tmenu/16yo_sauternes.asp

For more info contact Alistair Walker:

Tel: +44 (0) 1324 682220
Fax: +44 (0) 1324 682224
E-mail: awalker@benriachdistillery.co.uk
Web: www.benriachdistillery.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

29 July
2008

Cutty Sark comes to India

The UK-based whisky brand is looking at India as a long-term prospect for all its products

Peter Davie, commercial director, Cutty Sark International, was in New Delhi recently. In a conversation with Lounge he spoke about the origin of Cutty Sark, how it is different from other brands of Scotch, and about their plans.

What is distinctive about Cutty Sark scotch whisky?

Cutty Sark has always been different from mainstream scotch. In 1923, when it was launched, whiskys were dark coloured, tended to have a harsh taste and

Shanghai Spirit and Cut Teaappealed only to a certain group of people. Cutty Sark was aimed at a new consumer group and had a different taste — it was sweeter and lighter in colour.

What is different about Cutty Sark is that the various malts and grain whiskys that go into making it are blended and then put back in oak casks for six months, instead of being bottled directly. This gives it a smoother and more balanced taste.

What is your assessment of the whisky market in India?

India is among the half-a-dozen countries which are sustainable in the long term in all sectors of whisky. The average age of the population here is 24 years and there are huge amounts of whisky being produced locally. Lately, there has been growing affluence, rising disposable incomes and a thirst for internationally known brands. Cutty Sark has been quietly marketing its whisky in India for more than 10 years now, but now we have partnered with the Jubilant group for distributorship to accelerate the growth in our market share.

Any particular segment in India that you are aiming your whisky at?

We have just introduced a blended malt whisky, which will be aimed at those who are more affluent and more willing to experiment. These are priced in the range of Rs2,500 to Rs3,000, whereas regular Cutty Sark whisky costs around Rs1,600.

We are targeting the regular whisky at the 25-40 age group and the malt at the more mature 35-plus segment.

The fondness of Indian drinkers for Johnny Walker is well known. Are you expecting some serious competition?

Johnny Walker is associated with a more conservative mindset, whereas we are targeting a younger, more adventurous crowd. Cutty Sark, because it is smoother and sweeter, is easier to drink and it blends more easily with other drinks. Our more successful markets tend to have warmer climates.

How much do you sell in Scotland?

Actually, 99.9% of the whisky we distil is for export. Right from our earliest days we have targeted international markets.

Article Courtesy of Livemint India

 

Livemint India

28 July
2008

Industry on the up

IT HAS been more than three decades since we saw such activity. Some £450million in new capital investment in Scotch whisky over the last 12 months has seen new distilleries opened or commissioned, old stills being fired back to life and the foundations laid for a significant expansion in production capacity across Scotland. This is good news for distillers and their Scottish supply chain. It is also a visible vote of confidence in Scotland’s premier industry by the domestic and international owners of Scotch whisky brands.

Internationally, prospects remain encouraging – exports of £2.8billion last year included growth in traditional markets and new opportunities in emerging markets. While distillers are closely watching consumer reaction to the “credit crunch”, exports in 2008 appear to be holding up well. Encouragingly, whisky continues to be an “affordable luxury” at a time when you might not buy a new house or car.

In developing markets, increasingly affluent consumers recognise Scotch as a high-quality product and are buying it to enjoy, but also to make a statement to friends and colleagues. That bodes well, but we still face considerable difficulties in securing fair access to export markets.

Challenges, for example, remain in India, where imports face high tariffs and discriminatory state level tax arrangements.

As markets develop, we also need to ensure Scotch whisky is protected from those who profit illegally from intellectual property infringements and imitation products. We are actively discussing better legal protection of Scotch whisky with the likes of China, Thailand, Brazil and Vietnam.

New measures at home will help, and we look forward to landmark new Scotch Whisky Regulations in the coming months. The legislation has overwhelming industry support and will help protect whisky from unfair practices, ensure consumers receive clear and consistent product information, and build understanding of our brands worldwide.

Domestically, a key challenge remains in tackling the scourge of alcohol misuse. Distillers are committed to continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Government to change Scotland’s drinking culture.

It won’t be easy, but the Scottish Government’s proposals for tackling alcohol misuse, published in June, are a starting point for debate. An inclusive approach in the recent food and drink strategy is also important, recognising that tackling misuse while promoting a successful whisky industry are not mutually exclusive.

There is much in the alcohol consultation the Scotch Whisky Association supports. We need to do more to promote the responsible attitudes of the majority of Scots.

Enforcing the law so that alcohol is not sold to those under age or already intoxicated; action against those trying to buy alcohol illegally or through proxies; better education, and support for early health interventions with potentially harmful drinkers are areas where more effort is needed.

The Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership is also delivering results, such as last October’s ground-breaking Alcohol Awareness Week, and work continues on sponsorship guidelines and developing alcohol policies for the workplace.

Alcohol is already heavily regulated and taxed in Scotland. Targeted measures to tackle misuse rather than a blanket “total population” approach are therefore the way forward. The concept of personal and parental responsibility should also be more central to the debate.

While minimum pricing proposals raise competition law concerns, recognition of the principle that all alcohol should be treated in the same way and taxed according to alcohol content is welcome. Fair and responsible taxation of alcohol is our starting point.

Whisky-related tourism is growing in Scotland. More than 1.2million visitors contributed in excess of £22million to the economy last year, with distilleries now representing almost a quarter of Scotland’s five-star attractions.

Scottish Government clarification that promotional restrictions under its alcohol plan will not change distillery practices, such as offering a dram to visitors, was therefore helpful. We hope a commonsense view will also prevail on new rules that prevent local crafts and produce being sold on visitor centre shelves next to single malts. The association welcomes the Scottish Government’s recognition of whisky’s importance to tourism and looks forward to supporting the Homecoming Scotland celebrations next year.

Showcasing Scotch whisky during May 2009’s Whisky Month is an opportunity to remind the world about the industry’s contribution to our country’s cultural and economic fabric and to use Scotch’s global appeal to attract more visitors to Scotland.

Gavin Hewitt is chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

28 July
2008

Diageo £40m distillery going to plan

DRINKS giant Diageo says its new Roseisle whisky distillery near Burghead, in Moray, is on target to be completed by late this year.

The group plans to commission the £40million plant in January and be operating at full capacity by the spring.

However, it will be a while before the public will be able to sample a blend containing Roseisle malt – the first whisky will not be available until 2012.

It was at the start of last year that Diageo revealed it wanted to build the new distillery to feed demand for Scotch whisky in fast-growing markets such as China.

It will be Scotland’s first major new whisky distillery in 30 years.

Roseisle is part of a £100million investment by the company, which will create up to 200 new jobs and boost capacity at its Scottish sites.

Diageo has reported sustained and significant growth in whisky sales, which led to production capacity being increased significantly at many of its 27 existing malt distilleries.

The new facility at Roseisle will be Diageo’s largest malt distillery by some way.

Roseisle will be able to make 10million litres of whisky annually, whereas the output for the current number one – Dufftown – is less than six million.

Whisky from the new facility will also be up to 15% cheaper to produce than at Dufftown due to its size and because it will be a modern plant. However, there are no plans yet for a Roseisle single malt.

Its output will go into popular whiskies such as 12-year-old Johnnie Walker Black Label.

However, Roseisle will not be confined to producing just one distinct style of spirit.

Speyside has two broad malt groups – one lighter and the other heavier – and the new distillery will produce both, with volumes dependent on Diageo’s requirements.

Roseisle – which will create up to 25 jobs when it becomes operational – is being constructed by Rok in a £11.5million contract.

The project will use 1,000 tonnes of steel and 1,000 tonnes of concrete.

Diageo is proud that Roseisle is to be as carbon-neutral and water-neutral as possible.

There was another boost for the whisky industry at the start of this month when it emerged that distilleries in Tain and Islay are poised to benefit from a total £45million investment to boost production of single malts by Scotch whisky firm Glenmorangie.

Expansion is being fuelled by rocketing sales of premium single malts in fast-growing markets such as Asia, continental Europe and the US.

Also this month, Edrington Group – the firm behind whisky brands such as The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Macallan and Highland Park – delivered an upbeat outlook, despite soaring production costs.

The company unveiled a 9.5% increase in pre-tax profits, to £75.6million, for the year to March 31.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

26 July
2008

Scottish grain harvest gets boost from weather

Production of spring barley set to be well above 2.6million tonnes grown last year

THE warmer weather has improved prospects for Scotland’s grain harvest.

The sunshine has proved a boon to arable farmers growing a variety of cereals including spring barley, the main ingredient in Scotch whisky.

The area planted with spring barley this year is at its highest for several years in response to higher grain prices and the scrapping of set-aside.

Production is likely to be well above the 2.6million tonnes harvested last year – providing the weather continues.

Among those who have been out in fields this week is farmer Robert Montgomery, of Ballinbreich Farm, near Newburgh, in Fife, who has been roguing wild oats out of his spring barley crops.

He has already clocked up 140 acres and has another 40 acres to go. He said the crop was looking surprisingly good and had benefited from a couple of inches of rain a fortnight ago.

He expects the combines to start rolling at Ballinbreich in mid-August and remains hopeful that the grain will be accepted by the maltsters.

Mr Montgomery has been at Ballinbreich for 12 years. He previously finished beef cattle and grew grain on the outskirts of Ayr at Pleasantfield.

He likes Fife’s drier climate. Annual rainfall at Ballinbreich, on the south banks of the River Tay, is 27 inches, against the 46 he endured in Ayrshire.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

25 July
2008

Double-digit sales boost for whisky brands

Speyside malt one of drink giant’s top performers

Soaring whisky sales have helped to boost annual revenue at French drink giant Pernod Ricard.

Announcing sales figures for the year to June 30 yesterday, Pernod said three of its Scotch brands – The Glenlivet, Chivas and Ballantine’s – achieved double-digit organic sales growth.

Sales of The Glenlivet, distilled near Ballindalloch on Speyside, and bottled at Newbridge, Midlothian, increased by 14%, helped by particularly strong performances in both America and France.

Chivas sales grew 11% as the output from Strathisla distillery at Keith found favour with more drinkers worldwide, with France, Africa and Asia showing particularly strong growth.

Ballantine’s, produced and bottled near Dumbarton, achieved sales growth of 11%, boosted by increased demand in areas such as France, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Glenlivet’s sales performance was outshone by just four other products in Pernod’s strategic brand portfolio: Martell brandy, Jameson Irish whiskey, Mumm champagne and Havana Club rum, which grew sales by 24%, 21%, 18% and 17% respectively.

A host of whisky makers are ramping up production as Scotland’s national drink finds new friends around the globe.

Pernod subsidiary Chivas Brothers said earlier this year it was reopening its mothballed Braeval Distillery and extending its Glenlivet production plant.

The parent also lifted its estimate for full-year operating profits yesterday as it announced revenue of £5.2billion during the year to June 30.

Pernod said it now expected 13% growth in operating profits, compared with the 12% increase it had forecast at the end of April.

The group also said it had completed its £4.5billion acquisition of Swedish drink group Vin and Sprit (V&S), the owner of Absolut vodka.

In addition, Pernod revealed it was selling £788million-worth of assets, including various V&S brands and Serkova vodka.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

24 July
2008

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society offers Festival-goers a true taste of Scotland

Festival fever is set to rise as The Scotch Malt Whisky Society unveils its unmissable programme of events, which will give everyone a wee taste of Festival 'spirit'!

The Festival is an exciting time for the Society, as it’s one of the few times of the year that it opens its doors and bottles to everyone (over 18 of course!).

This year, the Society's programme of events is its most adventurous yet - so whether you're serious about whisky, you're curious to learn more, or you're simply looking for a tranquil haven in the city to escape to, the Society guarantees to offer something for everyone.

The Society's 'Whisky with…' programme of events will run throughout the Festival at its two members' rooms in Edinburgh - the Society's original home, The Vaults in Leith, and its Georgian town house at 28 Queen Street, which is also home to the exquisite Dining Room restaurant. This exciting programme includes the following:

  • Whisky walking tours around Leith, which bring to life the history of the whisky trade in the area and finish with a special tasting at The Vaults.

  • The Society's esteemed chef, James Freeman, will provide an exciting insight into the art of cooking with whisky at his food demos and he will also indulge guests with a luxury four-course meal created using fresh ingredients sourced from within a 30-mile radius of Edinburgh at the 'Made in Edinburgh' dinner.

  • Tutored whisky tasting where guests can learn just what makes the Society one of a kind, and where they will have the chance to sample three of its finest single cask, single malt whiskies.

  • For music enthusiasts there will be music nights every Monday at The Vaults, with everything from jazz to folk, where guests can soak up the atmosphere and relax with a dram.

  • The Society's traditional Scottish ceilidh promises to entertain guests with a mix of storytelling, poetry, music and dancing, along with the chance to sample two of the special Festival bottlings and a light supper.

Paul Miles, managing director of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said: "This is a truly exciting time for the Society and we are thrilled with this year's programme, which offers more than ever and promises to delight our guests.

"The Festival attracts visitors from across the globe and we look forward to welcoming them, along with our current members, to the Society to sample our one of a kind experience.”

To fully experience the Society, guests will also receive a special Festival Pass when they buy a ticket to one of the Festival events, allowing one-day access to the Society’s exclusive Members’ Rooms and, of course, the widest selection of single cask, single malt whisky in the world. If guests like what they see (and taste!) and decide to become a member, then the ticket price will be subtracted from the cost of membership.

Existing members of the Society will enjoy reduced ticket prices at all the Festival events and there are also some exclusive members-only events running throughout August.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a membership organisation which offers the widest selection of single cask, single malt whiskies available. The Society unites whisky and whisky lovers across the world in a variety of engaging, informative and entertaining environments to encourage the appreciation of the finest malts.

For more information about the Festival programme and to buy tickets, please call The Scotch Malt Whisky Society on 0131 555 2929 (Monday - Friday, 9 am - 4.45 pm) or visit www.smws.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

21 July
2008

More women join whisky club

A quarter of new memberships at Edinburgh's Scotch Malt Whisky Society are women

Since the first homemade stills bubbled up their heady concoctions many centuries ago, uisge beatha - Gaelic for “water of life” - has always been viewed as the ultimate man's drink.

But the age-old image of whisky as a male-dominated affair was dealt ablow yesterday after it emerged that an unprecedented number of women are joining Scotland's premier club for whisky connoisseurs. Over the past three years, women have accounted for a quarter of all new memberships at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh - compared with just one in 10 in previous years. Female membership is now at an all-time high, with 550 women joining last year alone.

Whisky experts said yesterday that the increase was down to a new generation of female drinkers prepared to experiment with new spirits and different flavours. A series of tasting events held by the society in recent years combining whisky with food - including cheese and chocolate - have helped to appeal to women.

Celebrities such supermodel Kate Moss and radio presenter Zoe Ball have also increased the acceptability of the spirit after being photographed drinking whisky.

Anne Griffiths, venue director at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which has a total UK membership of 18,500, said yesterday: “My great-aunt used to have a whisky every day but that was a blend. Now women are enjoying malts, even the gutsy, peaty ones from Islay, which were always thought of as a man's drink.” She said that the number of new female members was above expectations and that most were in professions such as business, medicine and law.

“We have worked very hard to create the right atmosphere for women at our three venues (two in Edinburgh and one in London),” she said.

“When I first started at the society many years ago it was a predominantly male membership and when I went into tastings they were clearly waiting for a man to turn up.”

Gemma Scott, a consumer magazine editor from Glasgow, added: “For a very long time women were scared to drink whisky because it had such a masculine image. But times are changing and female drinkers are much more open to trying new things. In my opinion, a woman drinking whisky looks far sexier than a woman drinking a sparkly pink cocktail with a straw in it.”

Article Courtesy of The Times

 

The Times

19 July
2008

Grain merchant in £3m deal to take over rival’s Brechin base

Move will double trader’s storage and boost its turnover

Scotland’s biggest independent grain merchant is to take over the Scottish operations of one of its rivals in a deal worth more than £3million.

Family-owned W. N. Lindsay is buying from Swiss-based multinational commodities trader Glencore its Stracathro base, near Brechin. The acquisition – which the Press and Journal understands has taken more than a year to process – is due to be completed on August 18.

The deal almost doubles Lindsay’s grain storage from 100,000 tonnes to 170,000 and is expected to add 30% to its £65million turnover in the current financial year.

Lindsay has in conjunction with the takeover also announced a long-term deal with drinks giant Diageo to procure, dry and store a “significant” tonnage of malting barley for the firm’s whisky operations.

Lindsay managing director Andrew Stephen hailed both deals for the 144-year-old business, saying the addition of the Stracathro business gave it coverage from Inverness to the Borders, plugging the gap between its existing sites at Gladsmuir, near Tranent, in East Lothian, and at Keith.

Mr Stephen said the grain for Diageo would be used in its maltings at Burghead, Roseisle and Muir of Ord.

He added: “The acquisition of Stracathro completes W. N. Lindsay’s coverage of the main arable areas in Scotland, giving an unrivalled service to all parts of the supply chain and cements our place as Scotland’s leading independent grain merchant.

“Not only is this an exciting move for us as a company, it will provide growers in the Angus and Aberdeenshire area with a strong and stable home for quality malting barley, helping remove some of the uncertainty they have had in the last couple of years.”

Mr Stephen said the nine Glencore staff would be retained.

Director Andrew Lindsay added the intention was to grow the business at Stracathro, where he expects staff numbers to increase.

“There’s a lot more we can do from here,” he added. Lindsay currently trades grain, seeds and fertilisers.

Mr Stephen said the improved fortunes of the grain trade were behind the expansion, the biggest in Lindsay’s history. He said demand for grain was growing from its maltster and distiller customers, who include Chivas Brothers, Greencore, Highland Distillers and Simpsons.

Farmers in Angus have recently launched their own plans for a £14million grain storage facility at Glenesk, Hillside, near Montrose.

Mr Stephen acknowledged the proposal, but said Lindsay would be focusing on procuring grain for Stracathro and in enticing farmers in southern Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perthshire and Fife to supply it.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

18 July
2008

Curbs on chemicals a huge threat to food security

Leading arable specialist calls for controversial proposals to be urgently reviewed

PLANNED restrictions that could decimate the armoury of chemicals used by farmers to protect crops Europe-wide are a huge threat to future food security, one of Scotland’s leading arable specialists has said.

Keith Dawson told the Press and Journal yesterday the controversial proposals that have returned to the European Parliament for further discussion need to be urgently reviewed as all they will do is cut agricultural production and leave consumers counting the cost in higher food prices.

“These are one of the greatest ever threats to European food production and would have far more serious consequences than a tax on pesticides,” he warned at the Cereals Solutions event in Dundee, organised by the Scottish Crop Research Institute, the Scottish Agricultural College and the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR).

“In particular they would ban triazole-based products, without which you just cannot grow cereals. The impact on Scotland could be significant, particularly for the whisky industry.”

The proposals, if MEPs get their way, could lead to more than 300 of the active substances used in current crop protection products being banned as both the European Parliament and European Commission want to shift from a risk to a hazard-based regime to decide if chemicals can or cannot be used.

But Mr Dawson, SAC’s principal crops consultant and chairman of the SSCR’s cereals group, said neither institution fully understood the consequences of their actions nor the devastating impact they could have on food production and the European economy at a time when global supplies are particularly tight.

He called for them to conduct a full assessment that considers the economic, environmental and social cost of their proposals.

As it stands the parliament and the commission, through the European Council of Ministers, have both to agree the final legislation which could be radically different from the current proposals. Britain, Ireland, Poland and Hungary have already objected to the proposals as they currently stand.

Mr Dawson warned that while Europe had in the past been able to buy its way out of food supply problems the tactic might not work in future as Russia, India and China had already shown they were more than willing to pay any price for products.

He added: “This is not just about reducing food waste as the prime minister told us, this is about ensuring we are able to produce food in the first place. These proposals would not allow us to that. Europe is an important food producer globally, but all this would do is cut production and force up food prices even further.”

If an agreement to ban products is reached then the first products could be outlawed as early as 2010 to the detriment of grain, vegetable and potato production.

Mr Dawson added: “Commonsense is needed and Europe needs to wake up to the fact that the world is facing a global food supply problem.”

Scottish MEPs Struan Stevenson and Alyn Smith both raised concerns about the plans in the European Parliament yesterday with the French farm minister, Michel Barnier, the EU agriculture council president.

Mr Barnier said the answer may lie in a gradual phasing in of any restrictions so that scientists have sufficient time to develop viable alternatives. That was viewed as progress by Mr Smith.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

14 July
2008

Cling film solution to keep whisky from evaporating out of barrels

WHISKY experts have come up with a way to save the angel's share escaping from their barrels - wrapping them in cling film.

At least two per cent of each cask evaporates through the oak after the distilling process. The industry say it goes "to the angels".

But drinks giants Diageo have shown that using plastic wrap to cover each barrel could stop it - and save them gallons of whisky.

The company - makers of malts such as Talisker, Lagavulin and Glenkinchie as well as a number of popular blends - could increase their profits by millions each year.

The angel's share costs a fortune but distillers won't change the cask because of the flavour the oak gives their product.

The cling film results are said to have "astounded" scientists at the distilleries. It is not thought to affect the taste of the whisky.

A Diageo spokesman said: "At this stage, the technologies under trial are not proven and we are continuing our research."

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

11 July
2008

Whisky bar of the year

THE TAYCHREGGAN Hotel in Broughty Ferry has been named the Diageo Classic Malts Whisky Bar of the Year at this year's Scottish Licensed Trade Awards.

The West Ferry Hotel was up against some stiff competition, facing the Gleneagles Hotel, Drumnadrochit's Fiddlers and The Anderson in Fortrose.

The Awards judges described The Taychreggan as having an excellent range of whiskies as well as recognising that all staff had been put through organised whisky training.

Guests benefit by the hotel's knowledgeable staff as they can learn about whisky from every one behind the bar.

Owner Mark Barton is said to have a real passion for whisky and as a result he is involved in promoting cratur to a wider audience.

The Taychreggar Hotel and Restaurant was presented its award at a glamorous award ceremony, held on Monday at The Thistle Hotel in Glasgow.

The ceremony was attended by over 500 guests who enjoyed comedian Jason Wood as the awards presenter.

Article Courtesy of Guide and Gazette

 

Guide and Gazette

08 July
2008

Whisky group to push for exports deal at trade talks

Association in call to tackle protectionism and reduce tariffs to a reasonable level

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said yesterday it was looking to events in Geneva, Switzerland, this month as an opportunity for further growth in new markets.

Pascal Lamy, head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has asked ministers from governments worldwide to meet on July 21 to secure a breakthrough on the framework of a trade deal.

The SWA, buoyed by recent announcements of a £45million investment at Glemorangie and strong turnover growth at Edrington, said the talks were at “a pivotal moment” after seven frustrating years of stop-start negotiations.

It added: Exports are Scotch whisky’s lifeblood and trade liberalisation, with strong enforcement of WTO rules, has done much to boost distillers and ensure international consumers have the opportunity to enjoy our products.”

SWA representatives are joining a World Spirits Alliance delegation to Switzerland this week to make the case for an ambitious trade deal.

Gavin Hewitt, the SWA’s chief executive, will tomorrow address a lunch for ambassadors to the WTO and call for progress in three priority areas for spirits producers – market access, trade facilitation, and legal protection. Imported spirits continue to face high tariffs in some countries, such as India and Thailand, restricting market access.

“Any WTO deal must tackle such protectionism and look to reduce tariffs to a reasonable level,” said the SWA, adding: “Unnecessary bureaucracy also adds to costs and import complexity.”

The association also wants better legal protection for wines and spirits from specific geographic location, such as Scotch whisky and French cognac. “These products – so important to their countries of origin – bring wide economic benefits and should receive the highest protection possible from unfair competition,” said the SWA.

An ambitious trade round could be very important to Scottish distillers, the SWA said, adding that more reasonable tariffs and customs rules would support exports and boost the WTO system against rising protectionist pressures.

Meanwhile, Glenglassaugh Distillery Company (GDC) said yesterday that it had just joined the SWA.

GDC is part of Dutch investment firm The Scaent Group, which acquired Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, for £5million in March and aims to reopen the site later this year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

07 July
2008

Tesco's supermarket whisky wins top drinks prize

A SUPERMARKET malt has beaten some of the world's most famous whiskies to take top prize in the drink industry's answer to the Oscars.

Tesco's 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt was judged to taste better than heavyweight names such as Laphroaig, Glenmorangie, Bowmore and Glenkinchie at the International Wine and Spirit Competition awards.

The Tesco tipple won the Anglo Overseas Trophy for the best malt whisky up to 15 years old in the whole competition.

The judges were impressed by its "very attractive nose, ripe fruit notes and vanilla and sweet spice following".

They praised the Tesco whisky as "smooth and mellow in the mouth, with hints of Christmas cake, marzipan, marmalade and almonds".

And they added that its "good dollop of malt balances the fruit notes and its soft floral backing throughout".

All wines, spirits and liqueurs in the annual contest are blind-tasted in groups divided by variety, region and vintage.

Tesco bosses say their malt is also a winner on price. At £15.58 a bottle, it's around £10 cheaper than many of its rivals.

Simon Dunn, Tesco's senior spirits buyer, said: "Our range of own-label whiskies are made for us by well-known distillers and are extremely popular with customers.

"This award will come as a real shock to the centuries-old whisky industry, which is not noted for its keen appreciation of supermarket varieties.

"To beat world-renowned whiskies such as Laphroaig and Glenmorangie is some achievement and will hopefully help encourage all malt lovers to try our brand.

"The award underlines what our customers already know - that our own-label offerings are more than a match for the world's leading single malt Scotch whiskies."

The Scotch Whisky Association - the trade body for Scotland's distillers - refused to comment on the award.

A spokesman said: "It would not be for us to talk about the merits of one whisky over another."

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

03 July
2008

Updated whisky range from Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich has overhauled its range of multi-vintage single malts. The range, consisting of three whiskies, aims to cover the range of styles produced by the Islay distillery by combining several ages of single malt from various cask types.

The motivation for the updated range, explains MD Mark Reynier, is that “they had evolved haphazardly. We have brought them together under one umbrella, new bottlings, each with its own distinct identity and flavour profile.”

The three new whiskies created by Jim McEwan at the distillery are Rocks, Waves and Peat (RRP £24, £30 and £30, respectively). The first, which has minimal peat and French oak influence, is intended as an aperitif. Waves has a degree of peat, but is intended to exhibit “finesse and fruit”. Despite its name, Peat apparently has “average peatiness”, and is described as “plenty of peat but without the medicine”. This final element replaces Bruichladdich’s 3D range.

According to the company, the range was inspired by a quote from Remi Krug: “With a single vintage, it is God who decides on the quality. But with a multi-vintage, I am God.”

Article Courtesy of The Drinks Business

 

The Drinks Business

02 July
2008

Whisky firm Edrington coping with rocketing costs

Continued investment in premium brands giving distiller a confidence boost

Edrington Group – the firm behind whisky brands such as The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Macallan and Highland Park – delivered an upbeat outlook yesterday, despite soaring production costs.

Glasgow-based Edrington said it was facing significant cost increases for cereals, energy, transport and packaging materials.

It added that it also had to meet the challenge of ensuring that its products were being consumed and marketed responsibly.

Edrington said it was confident of shrugging off these pressures through continued investment in its brands plus innovation, good relationships with suppliers and targeting markets offering the best scope for expansion.

The comments came as the group unveiled a 9.5% increase in pre-tax profits to £75.6million for the year to March 31. The surplus for 2006-07 had come in at £68.9million.

Turnover in the latest period totalled £291.5million, compared with £278.5million last time.

Chief executive Ian Curle said: “The group’s strategy of investing in authentic premium spirits brands continues to bear fruit in what is a dynamic and growing international market.

“During the past year we have grown volume and, more importantly, the value of our key brands in an ind-ustry where there are superior growth opportunities for authentic premium spirits.”

He said premium whisky and golden rum were both showing strong growth in demand across a range of existing and developing markets, adding: “Such conditions auger well for future prospects.”

Edrington took a majority stake in rum brand Brugal earlier this year in a move to tap into a fast-growing worldwide market.

The price paid by Edrington for a holding of about 60% was believed to be more than £200million.

It was the first major move by the company to expand beyond premium whisky, with Brugal – produced in the Dominican Republic since 1888 – becoming Edrington’s fifth key brand.

Edrington also said yesterday that The Famous Grouse had consolidated its position as “one if the leading blended Scotch whiskies in the world” and increased sales in 2007-08.

The brand is being promoted heavily in international markets, where the majority of sales now take place and which are seen as having the greatest potential for sales growth.

Edrington said Cutty Sark continued to prosper in southern Europe, while sales of The Macallan grew strongly across a broad range of traditional markets and expanded further into newer markets.

The group added that its confidence in The Macallan – produced at Craigellachie, on Speyside – was clear from its multimillion-pound investment in the distillery and associated assets during the current trading year.

Edrington is building warehouses and bringing a stillhouse at The Macallan distillery – which had been mothballed in the early 1990s – back into service as part of a £40million investment.

The work, which was said yesterday to be progressing well, is expected to increase the distillery’s capacity by some 30%.

Highland Park was Edrington’s fastest-growing brand in 2007, however, with the value of sales growing by 20%.

The group said: “We have exciting plans to further develop this hidden gem.”

Details of a £750,000 investment at Highland Park’s Orkney distillery, including a £250,000 visitor centre refurbishment, were announced just last month.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

01 July
2008

Whisky industry booms as Asia cries for more

One export shows no sign of slowing down amid the credit crunch. Demand for Scotch whisky, particularly in the Far East, has grown so fast that the industry is in danger of running short of supplies.

Sales to Singapore and China have risen from £45 million five years ago to £300 million last year, and now some exporters to the area cannot find supplies; the last batch of whisky was laid down to mature before demand really took off. “It’s almost as if Scotland is running out of her water of life,” a disgruntled agent said.

The rise in exports of Scotch is good news for the big operators but tricky for smaller fry. Douglas Smith, a former manager at Gaelic Whisky, on Skye, emigrated to Australia hoping to start a whisky exporting business to South East Asia with his fiancée. They could find nobody in Scotland with stocks to sell them so that they could launch their business.

Sources in the whisky industry say that it is responding with high levels of investment in plant. The problem is getting supply levels right. Too much, and there will be a glut on the market; too little, and rival drinks could threaten the bonanza.

David Williamson, an industry spokesman, said: “Some journalists tell me we will soon be producing too much, others too little, so we have probably got it about right.”

Article Courtesy of The Times

 

The Times
June 2008 Scotch Whisky News

29 June
2008

Campbeltown set to run dry as price of making whisky gets grim

Oldest family-owned company blames rising costs, but experts say move ‘at odds’ with rest of industry

IN A move that has surprised experts across Scotland, the family-owned company that runs the nation's oldest independent distillery has decided to stop making whisky.

The Springbank and Glengyle distilleries - one of the last three remaining facilities in the once-famous whisky-making area of Campbeltown on the west coast of Scotland - stopped distilling the spirit that is used to make the malt whiskies Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn on Friday.

Owners J and A Mitchell said the rocketing cost of fuel, transport and barley had forced them into calling a halt to distillation of spirit for a period of up to two years, in the hope that the cost of the raw materials used to make whisky will eventually come down and allow the company to start distilling again.

However, Campbell Evans, of the Scottish Whisky Association, branded the decision "unusual", saying it was "at odds" with the industry trend of increasing production to meet the demands of the expanding Indian, Chinese and South American markets.

As a result of the decision, seven members of the company's 42 staff have been made redundant in a mixture of voluntary and compulsory packages. Kate Wright, the company's sales and marketing officer, said staff were "shell- shocked" by the announcement, which was made on Friday.

She said: "Most of the staff have been here for 10 to 15 years, so this was not a decision that has been taken lightly. But simply put, the costs of the raw materials we use has risen too quickly for a small company such as ourselves. I would not be surprised if other distilleries were in the same boat.

"The distillery has been in the family for 180 years, and the most important thing for us is that we continue to be an independent, family-owned company," she added.

Wright pointed towards the price of barley as an example. Barley - which is one of the three main ingredients used in making whisky - has almost trebled in price over the past three years, from around £85 a tonne in 2005 to around the £200 a tonne figure this year. The high price of oil - used to fuel the distillation process - was another crucial factor, she added.

As the Springbank malt whisky takes a minimum of seven years to mature, she said the maximum length of time the distillery could go on without producing spirit and remain commercially unaffected was two years.

In a statement, the company said supplies to the domestic market and the overseas export market, which accounts for 90% of the whisky the company produces, would continue as normal.

Evans said he was surprised by the decision. He said: "I don't think there is a big problem for small distillers. The Kilchoman farm distillery on Islay has just doubled its capacity. We are seeing unprecedented investment in the industry; £400 million is scheduled between 2007 and 2010, and that is the money we know about. This decision seems to be at odds with the direction the rest of the industry is going in."

Mark Reynier, managing director of the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, said it was an "odd decision from a very odd bunch of people".

He said: "They are not like other businesses. Maybe they decided they just could not be bothered."

Reynier said the high cost of barley and fuel had impacted on his distillery. For the past six years they had increased the amount of spirit they distil. This year they had kept the amount constant at 700,000 litres of raw spirit. Springbank is a far smaller operation, producing only 150,000 litres of spirit a year.

The Springbank distillery, with its sister operation the Glengyle distillery, which was opened in 2004, is the oldest independent family-owned distillery in Scotland.

It was founded in 1828 on the site of an illicit still owned by an Archibald Mitchell. The distillery is now owned by his great-great-grandson, Hedley G Wright.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

27 June
2008

Blackwood director quits

A FORMER chairman of the company behind plans for Shetland’s first whisky distillery has resigned to pursue other business interests.

Tony Mair, a past UK director of drink giant Diageo, joined Blackwood Distillers two years ago as executive chairman, but has been a non-executive director for the past 18 months.

Caroline Whitfield, Blackwood’s chief executive, said Mr Mair had been instrum-ental in securing a long-term licensing deal for Blavod Extreme Spirits to distribute its gin, vodka and Jago’s liqueur brands and had felt now was the right time to move on.

She said plans for the proposed distillery at Catfirth were still under review and a decision would be made in two to three months.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

25 June
2008

Ministers allay scotch whisky tour fear

Ministers have moved to allay whisky industry fears that the offer of free drams during distillery tours could be banned under an alcohol crackdown.

Bosses feared that restrictions on promotional activities could signal the end for the traditional complementary drink at the end of tours.

They warned that the prospect could be damaging to the industry and lead to a drop in visitor numbers.

But the Scottish Government insisted free tour drams would be protected.

A spokesman said: "We can be absolutely clear that changing the arrangements whereby distilleries can offer a dram to visitors during a tour is not something we are considering."

The proposed ban on promotional activities in licensed premises which encourage the purchase and consumption of alcohol off the premises was among a raft of measures put forward by the government in a bid to tackle binge-drinking culture. Our robust proposals for tackling alcohol misuse go hand-in-hand with supporting a successful Scottish drinks industry

The Scotch Whisky Association had called for urgent clarification on the issue.

A spokesman said: "The Scottish Government's confirmation that current distillery practice will be unaffected is very welcome."

Other proposals offered by the government last week included a minimum price for alcohol and raising the minimum age for buying drink in supermarkets and off-sales to 21.

The government said the proposals were aimed at tackling a problem estimated to cost Scotland £2.25bn a year.

Anti-alcohol campaigners voiced support for the measures, but retailers were opposed.

'Finalised strategy'

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "Our robust proposals for tackling alcohol misuse go hand-in-hand with supporting a successful Scottish drinks industry, including Scotch whisky, as a sector which marries economic growth with promotion of a sensible and responsible approach to drinking.

"Government doesn't have all the answers and we recognise that we need to work in partnership with health professionals, local authorities, criminal justice partners, the third sector and the alcohol industry in order to successfully deliver.

"The consultation period for the alcohol misuse strategy will run until 9 September. We will fully consider the responses and expect to publish a finalised strategy by the end of the year."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

24 June
2008

Race Round the Island with Old Pulteney

Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky is proud to be the exclusive whisky sponsor and race partner of one of the world’s largest and most famous yachting events, the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, which takes place around the Isle of Wight on 28 June.

For the third year in a row, visitors and competitors can enjoy a dram of the ‘Genuine Maritime Malt’ during the racing weekend, from Friday 27 June until Sunday 29 June. Old Pulteney will be available to sample in Cowes Yacht Haven, on the Red Funnel Ferry, in the Island Sailing Club and in various other locations during this prestigious event.

Says Iain Baxter, Senior Brand Manager for Old Pulteney: “With a record breaking number of entries this year, the highest number to date, the Round the Island Race is going from strength to strength and Old Pulteney is very proud to sponsor this fantastic event again. The racing weekend provides a great atmosphere for both competitors and spectators and we cannot wait to be part of it again. “

To celebrate its maritime heritage, Old Pulteney sponsors a series of yachting events over the course of the year, including the recent Old Pulteney IRC Scottish Championship in Inverkip, as well as the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta on 28, 29 and 30 August. Because of its coastal and maritime history, Old Pulteney is a proud supporter of maritime activity and is enjoying a rapidly increasing following amongst the sailing community as well as whisky enthusiasts.

Originating from the most northern distillery in mainland Scotland, Old Pulteney’s distinctive flavour is influenced by its coastal location and described as “tangy, dry and with a mineral-salted spiciness that evokes the rugged, windswept character of the far North”.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

24 June
2008

Fears for free dram on whisky tours

Whisky industry leaders have raised concerns that the offer of free drams during distillery tours will be banned as a result of a Scottish Government crackdown on alcohol abuse.

They argue that the prospect could be damaging to the industry and lead to a drop in visitor numbers to distilleries.

Radical proposals to tackle Scotland's binge-drinking culture were unveiled by the Scottish Government in a consultation document last week.

Article Courtesy of Hamilton Advertiser

 

Hamilton Advertiser

23 June
2008

Inver House Distillers collects 15 awards at International Wine & Spirits Competition 2008

Inver House Distillers, which recently claimed the prestigious title of ‘International Distiller of the Year’, is celebrating further success, having collected an astonishing 15 awards at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2008.

These wins follow hot on the heels of Inver House’s presentation of 13 medals at the recent Scotch Whisky Masters Awards 2008. This multitude of successes makes Inver House Distillers one of Scotland’s most prolific whisky industry award winners this year.

The International Wine & Spirits Competition is unique within the industry as it is completely independently judged, making it one of the most highly-regarded by buyers and consumers alike. Each entry is blind tasted by a panel of high-profile judges from around the world and the awards are presented for the quality of the spirit. The competition’s aim is to promote the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs.

The accolades that Inver House has been presented with include coveted Gold best in class medals; Gold medals; Silver best in class medals and Silver medals. Every single product entered by Inver House Distillers collected either a Best in Class, Gold or Silver award – demonstrating the high calibre of the spirit of each brand.

With a reputation for a fresh and innovative approach to Scotch whisky, Inver House Distillers has not only been recognised at the International Wine & Sprits Competition 2008 and the Scotch Whisky Masters, it also recently revealed a 107% increase in pre-tax profits and won ‘World’s best Scotch blended whisky’ for its rare Hankey Bannister 40-Years-Old blend at the World Whisky Awards.

The awards that Inver House Distillers was presented with at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2008 are as follows:

· Old Pulteney 17-Year-Old Gold, Best in Class

· Old Pulteney 12-Year-Old Gold medal

· Old Pulteney 21-Year-Old Silver medal

· Old Pulteney Liqueur Silver medal

· Balblair Vintage 1989 Gold, Best in Class

· Balblair Vintage 1997 Gold medal

· Balblair Vintage 1975 Silver medal

· Balblair Vintage 1986 Silver medal

· anCnoc 12-Year-Old Silver medal

· anCnoc 16-Year-Old Silver medal

· Speyburn Solera 25-Year-Old Gold, Best in Class

· Speyburn 10-Year-Old Silver, Best in Class

· Hankey Bannister 21-Year-Old Gold, best in Class

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

22 June
2008

Drought turns the whisky stills dry

Distilleries in the Western Isles are at a standstill as long spell of sunshine puts strain on the lochs

Residents of Scotland's Western Isles have been enjoying a rare few weeks of sunshine, but the prolonged dry spell is not so welcome among the whisky distillers, many of whom have been forced to halt production because of water shortages.

Half the 10 distilleries on the Isle of Islay have been hit. A layer of peat at the highest point of the island has become dehydrated, causing several burns to stop flowing. This in turn means that the lochs the distilleries draw from are not topped up and are quickly emptied.

Mark Reynier, managing director of Bruichladdich Distillery, said: 'We've had to stop production for the past 10 days. We're a small private distillery so we've been able to keep everybody occupied by getting on with routine repairs and other stuff, but for the big industrial distilleries the dry spell has probably caused a lot of problems in keeping staff busy.

'What we need is two or three days of constant drizzle. Heavy rain is no use as it just runs straight off the top into the sea, which doesn't solve the problem.

'The reason some distilleries are struggling on and some have stopped altogether is that there is a divide between north and south. Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin in the southern end draw their water from the high ground on the island, at about 450 to 480 metres, so they have a slightly more regular water supply. They haven't stopped, but have had to slow down and I was told by the manager of Lagavulin last Sunday that they have about four weeks or so to go before stopping. At the north end, ourselves, Caol Isla, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain and Kilchoman draw from lower-lying lochs, making us more susceptible to drought conditions than the others.'

The Bowmore distillery has had to suspend production for the best part of two weeks. A spokesman said: 'The little rain that's fallen this week hasn't made much difference. I think it would have to rain continuously for a week for that.'

According to the Met Office, the Western Isles have experienced their driest and warmest spring for years, resulting in a water shortage for some of Scotland's most isolated communities.

'May in particular was dry,' said Helen Chivers, a forecaster with the Met Office. 'They had 12mm of rain for the whole month, only 16 per cent of the average. On top of that, the temperature was two-and-a-half degrees above normal.'

On the Isle of Eigg, which has only had 3mm of rain in eight weeks, residents are worried about the water supply running out altogether. Sue Kirk, owner of the Isle of Eigg Shop, said: 'We could really do with a big deluge for about three days to sort it out. It's been raining here today but it's nowhere near enough.'

Eigg has no public water supply so the 67 inhabitants of the remote Hebridean island have to get their own supplies from springs which are increasingly drying up. Throughout the Western isles - including Canna, Skye and Rum - there have been reports of water shortages, but most islanders admit that the sunshine has been a welcome change.

'There's been a long dry spell, but to tell you the truth I don't think anybody is really upset about it,' said Robin Currie, an Islay councillor. 'They've been too busy enjoying the sunshine.'

However, some environmentalists are concerned. Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said: 'If climate change worsens we will increasingly see these unusual weather patterns, with some areas in Scotland experiencing droughts while others have to deal with floods.'

Article Courtesy of The Guardian

 

The Guardian

20 June
2008

The Glenmorangie Company Triumphs Again on the Global Stage

Top accolades won at the International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards

The Glenmorangie Company is celebrating again after receiving top honours at the International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards (IWSC) .

Known as the world’s most prestigious wine and spirit award ceremony (IWSC), The Glenmorangie Company won a total of 13 distinguished medals, with five entries winning the acclaimed Gold and Silver Medals for ‘Best in Class’.

The Glenmorangie Company awards for ‘Best in Class’ for 2008 are:

Gold – ‘Best in Class’

  • Glenmorangie Original -10 Years Old
  • Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban - Port cask finished

Silver – ‘Best in Class’

  • Glenmorangie Quarter Century - 25 Years Old
  • Glenmorangie Astar (recently introduced)
  • The Bailie Nicol Jarvie

Created for discerning connoisseurs of style and taste, The Glenmorangie Company also won a Gold Medal for their James Martin’s 30 Years Old whisky. An astounding seven Silver Medals were also awarded for producing unparallel and remarkable whiskies. These accolades continue to add to the company’s reputation for creating iconic brands in keeping with its heritage, pioneering spirit and pace-setting standards.

Silver Medals awarded are:

  • Glenmorangie 18 Years Old
  • Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or – Sauternes cask finished
  • Glenmorangie Lasanta – Sherry cask finished
  • Ardbeg 10 Years Old
  • Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 1990
  • Ardbeg Uigeadail
  • James Martin’s 20 Years Old

With literally over thousands of wines and spirits entered for professional blind tasting and analysis, these wins reflect the bold moves made by The Glenmorangie Company in 2008. It continues to reveal even more deliciously complex and refined single malt whiskies, which are enjoyed by new and established audiences from all over the globe. All united by their devotion to the highest quality of whisky creation.

The IWSC Awards marks out of a possible 100, with gold medals going to whiskies within the top ten percentile. Silver medals are given to spirits ranging within 80 – 89.9 and finally bronze medals are appointed to products between 75 – 79.9 marks.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie says

“Glenmorangie marries heritage and reputation with a pioneering spirit and innovation. The alchemy of whisky creation is a truly passionate business. Whilst we've always believed Glenmorangie produces outstanding whiskies, to have such high votes for us in a blind tasting is a fantastic accolade.

The Glenmorangie journey is one of rich experience and intense devotion to the art of whisky creation. It is heartening to see our energy and expertise being acknowledged worldwide.

Gaining so many Gold and Silver medals for the Glenmorangie range at such a prestigious competition is one of the most wonderful independent reflections of Glenmorangie's quality we could possibly have. Every part of the Glenmorangie range gained either a Gold or Silver medal, or the Gold Medal/Best in Class accolades for The Original and The Quinta Ruban have particularly thrilled us all .”

 The Glenmorangie Company wins in the IWSC highlight further success for the brand, which sees more exciting innovations to come in the year ahead, ready for 2009’s awards.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

19 June
2008

Home of Highland Park unveils £750k investment

Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky officially unveiled £750k of investment at its Orkney distillery including the £250k revamp of the Distillery Visitor Centre.

This significant investment responds to Orkney’s increased visitor levels and features a complete revamp of the Distillery Visitor Centre, Tasting Room and exclusive VIP Room as well as the £500k replacement of two pagoda roofs.

Patricia Retson, Highland Park Distillery Visitor Centre Manager, said: “Over the last year group visits have more than doubled which is testament to our growing number of whisky fans. The revamped Distillery Visitor Centre will give guests a truly exceptional experience as well as enabling us to facilitate a greater number of visitors.”

Island Manager for VisitOrkney, Barbara Foulkes, said: “Highland Park’s investment is a real boost for Orkney tourism which has enjoyed 15.1% growth in visitor numbers in 2007 compared with 2006*. The wide range of visitor attractions across Orkney are crucial to our tourism industry, drawing visitors from Scotland, the rest of the UK and around the world.”

The revamped Visitor Centre brings to life the distillery and its integral relationship with Orkney. A tasting bar features Orkney dry-stone walls and traditional oak reclaimed from an original Highland Park washback, previously used for the fermentation stage of making the single malt. A new cask education area highlights the vital role of the exceptional sherry oak casks used to develop the distinctive richness and multi-dimensional complexity of the whisky.

The Tasting Room will showcase a selection of Highland Park bottlings, old and new, as well as over 200 whisky books including some rare tomes of up to 200 years old such as an original copy of Alfred Barnard’s ‘The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom’, published in 1887. It is the ultimate room for Highland Park connoisseurs, with Orcadian-style interior design including hand-made Orkney furniture from local craft company Sui Generis Furniture.

The exclusive VIP Eunson Room, named after distillery founder Magnus Eunson, exudes a club room feel and features aged leather armchairs, open fireplace and wood panelling as well as a video conference facility.

Established in 1798, Highland Park is one of the oldest Scotch whisky distilleries. More important than age though, is the combination of traditional whisky-making techniques with obsessive attention to detail that have made Highland Park arguably the most respected single malt in the world.

For further information please visit www.highlandpark.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

18 June
2008

Mallya to make diet whisky and vodka, has US patent

UB Group of India has developed the technology and been granted the US patent for manufacturing diet whisky and vodka, chairman Vijay Mallya said in what he described as an example of "thinking out of the bottle'.

The flamboyant Indian entrepreneur told students at the London Business School that his Vittal Mallya Scientific Research Foundation in Bangalore has developed the technology to convert the active ingredient of an Indian fruit that helps fight obesity into a safe liquid version.

"The plant called Garcenia contains some natural substances that works on your digestive system and actually breaks down your sugar cells and fat cells," Mallya said Monday.

"It has been used in the United States health food industry for decades. But making this Garcinia soluble in liquid is a technology that we have developed and patented in the US," he added.

"So we now have a legitimate diet whisky and a legitimate diet vodka," which had been successfully tested for calories.

"We sent it to a lab to check the calorific value and we proved it," Mallya said.

Mallya said manufacturing and marketing was delayed "because of the fighting with the European Union over classification".

"All of this was developed by us in India. We do think out of the box - no, make that out of the bottle," he said during a lecture and interaction session with LBS students - an event organised by the UK India Business Council and the business school's India Business Forum.

Research by the Vittal Mallya Scientific Research Foundation has centred around a fruit from the Garcinia family, the Malabar Tamarind (biological name, Garcinia Cambogia), whose primary acid, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), can help bring about weight loss.

Garcinia fruits have been used as a common natural food flavouring agent on the Malabar coast "for ages", the foundation says on its website.

The research foundation says it has developed a unique soluble salt after extracting HCA acid from the Malabar tamarind, which not only lowers appetite but also helps control cholesterol, with no side-effects, including the 'rebound effect' which causes rapid weight gain after a weight loss.

The salt, described as a "highly soluble, off-white, free flowing, amorphous, tasteless and extremely pure calcium salt of near-neutral pH with 75 percent HCA content", is available under the name of Hydroxycitrisol.

"Due to its soluble nature, Hydroxycitrisol can be readily incorporated into beverages, chocolates and other food formulations," the research foundation adds.

Article Courtesy of Irish Sun

 

Irish Sun

17 June
2008

Haste ye back call loud and clear for Homecoming

Salmond unveils plans to host celebration of Scotland’s achievements and culture in 2009

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond yesterday unveiled ambitious plans to host the biggest celebration of Scotland’s achievements and culture next year.

Homecoming, an event aimed at enticing expatriates and lovers of the country to experience all that is great about Scotland, is being held between Burns night on January 25 and St Andrew’s Day on November 30.

It is inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of the national bard, Robert Burns, and offers a chance for Scots around the world to reconnect and engage with their heritage.

The programme of more than 100 events, at 50 locations across the country, has been organised around five main themes — Burns, whisky, golf, great Scottish minds and innovations, and culture and heritage.

Communities across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are poised to take part and a wide variety of themed events will take place, including a number of activities to mark the North-east Clan Fortnight running from the end of July next year.

Other highlights include a homecoming theme for the Word 09 literary festival in Aberdeen, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and an event on Bonny Prince Charlie and Culloden – From Battle to Exile, in Inverness. All three will be held in May.

A celebration of the Caledonian Canal, with a flotilla travelling from Fort William to Inverness, will take place in June and the first Whisky Galore festival, on Barra, and the Angus and Dundee Roots Festival, will be staged in September.

Other activities include the Cape Wrath Challenge at Durness, a running event in May, and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, at Portsoy and Banff in July.

Business organisation Forbes announced yesterday that it plans to hold its annual CEO Forum at the Gleneagles Hotel, in Perthshire, in June next year.

Mr Salmond, MSP for Gordon, said 2009 was shaping up to be a “fantastic year to invite people around the world, with either an ancestral link or affinity for Scotland, to come home”.

“I want to urge everyone in Scotland to play their part in what will be the biggest celebration of Scotland’s achievements and culture, and our ties of family and friendship around the world,” he added. “Whether by using your guid Scots tongue, writing, or sending an e-card, I hope everyone across Scotland will join the call.”

Some £5million has been allocated to the Homecoming budget over the next two years but Event Scotland plans to double it through contributions from other sources.

The Scottish Government say the investment will create a “lasting demographic and economic legacy” for the country.

Aberdeen City Council leader Kate Dean said: “The council is proud to support Homecoming and delighted to confirm that through the support of EventScotland will be able to enhance its events programme in line with the objectives of this initiative in 2009.”

Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson said: “It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm from communities and organisations that wish to get involved.”

For more information, log on to www.homecomingscotland2009.com

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

16 June
2008

Whisky leads food and drink record export sales

Asia ‘fastest growing market’

WHISKY is leading a boom in exports of British food and drink, with south-east Asia one of the fastest growing markets.

Whisky exports leapt by 84% to Singapore and 62% to Germany last year, and set a new record of £2.8billion on overall sales abroad, according to Food from Britain.

Both countries act as distribution hubs, with Singapore supplying to emerging markets in south-east Asia and Germany central to central and eastern Europe.

Overall, food and drink exports from the UK grew 9.1 % from 2006 to exceed £11billion for the first time, despite the “challenging” global economy and the resurgence of foot and mouth disease.

Growth was showing “no signs of waning” despite predictions of increasingly difficult market conditions.

Cheese exports have grown by 85% since 2000, helped by a 4.4% increase last year.

France took 21% more British cheese than in 2006, while exports to Holland increased by 20%.

Cheddar and regional cheeses like Cheshire, Wensleydale and Lancashire were proving particularly popular, especially in the US.

Head of research and consultancy Chris Brockman said US consumers were responding to traditional British methods of food production and valued the variation in tastes between cheeses.

Poland was emerging as another major market for Britain, as wages increased and more of the population turned to premium imported foods.

Gibraltar, Cyprus and Malta consumed the most British products per capita last year, thought to be driven by ex-pats and tourists wanting a taste of home.

Exports were also up by 14% to Russia, 20% to Dubai and 32% to India, where increasingly affluent populations were buying premium food.

Growth

Within the EU, new member states were showing the fastest growth. Slovakia increased imports by 112.5% to £8.5 million and Estonia took 44.9% more products to a value of £46.5million.

Meat was the fastest growing export sector, up 13% from 2006 despite foot-and-mouth.

Mr Brockman said: “In the mid-1990s beef exports had reached £600million alone.

“To lose that and still see total food and drink export performance grow in recent years shows the resilience of the industry as a whole.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

14 June
2008

Vodka overtakes whisky as Britain's favourite spirit

VODKA has nabbed whisky's crown as Britain's favourite spirit.

Figures reveal blended whiskies, such as Bell's, Teacher's and Famous Grouse, have been knocked off the top spot by the trendy tipple from makers such as Absolut and Smirnoff.

The figures are for shops, supermarkets and off-licences where whisky has been the best-selling hard stuff for generations.

But since then vodka, which has long been the most popular spirit in pubs, has become more fashionable and sales have also been buoyed by an influx of eastern Europeans to the UK.

The statistics, revealed today in the trade journal Off Licence News, show that in the year to April, sales of blended whisky were up by just one per cent to £742million.

In that time, vodka sales were up by 11 per cent to £747million. Malt whisky sales rose five per cent to £130million.

Yesterday DavidWilliamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "If you take blended and malts together, more people drink whisky than vodka.

"Whisky is still Scotland's most important export last year, with exports worth £2.82 billion."

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

11 June
2008

A rare trip into Whisky heaven

First ever live WebTV broadcast from inside a distillery

Chat date: Wednesday 18th June 2008

Chat time: 8pm

When distillers Laphroaig launched their first ever live online whisky tasting, an army of malt fans from around the world made it the largest interactive event of its kind.

From New Zealand to Sweden, New York to Sydney, thousands of you watched the live WebTV show in London and mailed in hundreds of questions to the eminent panel of distillers, connoisseurs and writers.

Now you have the chance to join in an even bigger event live from the Laphroaig distillery on the Scottish island of Islay. The distillery sits on the South coast of the island with views of both Scotland and Ireland and the show will be broadcast from inside the distillery’s original bonded warehouse number one – normally only accessible to distillery staff and customs officers.

So if you love whisky but are keen to know more about those wonderful single malts and how they are blended to taste so good we have a treat for you this evening. Master blender Robert Hicks and Distillery Manager John Campbell will host an exclusive tasting session, which includes four Laphroaig malts, the highlight being a new Quarter Cask triple wood, drawn and tasted live from a sherry cask.

They will be joined by writer Martine Nouet, Keeper of the Quaich, and if you want to know what that means you will need to join the live show to find out.

Our guests will take you through all the finer points of getting the best out of a single malt whisky, from the colour, weight and nose to the all important taste and finish. How much water, if any, should you add to your glass? What do the aromas tell you about the whisky? Which flavours and textures should you be expecting as the whisky hits your palate?

Robert Hicks, Laphroaig’s Master Blender, John Campbell, Distillery Manager, and whisky writer Martine Nouet join us live online at http://www.webchats.tv/chats/FoodAndDrink/araretripintowhiskyheaven/ on Wednesday 18th June at 8pm for a live whisky tasting.

To submit questions before the chat http://www.webchats.tv/chats/FoodAndDrink/araretripintowhiskyheaven/

For more information visit http://www.Laphroaig.com/live/

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

10 June
2008

The Famous Grouse launches new breed to save rare bird

The Famous Grouse has today announced it has entered into a unique partnership with the RSPB to help save one of the UK’s rarest birds from extinction, the black grouse, by donating money to conservation work from the sales of its new whisky.

The Black Grouse, is a unique blend of The Famous Grouse mixed with Islay malts to create a rich smoky, peaty taste. The Black Grouse will be appearing in pubs, clubs and bars throughout the country from July, and will also be available exclusively at Sainsbury’s from June to December before going on general release. For every bottle sold a donation of 50 pence will go directly to the RSPB to fund urgently required conservation work on up to 85,000 acres of land in Scotland, England and Wales.

Once a common sight throughout Britain’s birch, pinewoods and moorland areas, the numbers of black grouse have been declining at an alarming rate. In the 1970s there were estimated to be 25,000 pairs and this had decreased to just 5,000* by 2005. The birds are now on the UK Red List of conservation species.

Gerry O’Donnell, director of The Famous Grouse said: “With the original brand The Famous Grouse being named after Scotland’s national game bird, it is only fitting that Scotland’s No. 1 whisky is paying homage to another unique bird.

As an organisation that already supports a number of good causes and is very proud of its Scottish outdoor roots, we felt this provided a great opportunity to further conservation work whilst enjoying a great dram.”

The black grouse is one of Britain’s most strikingly beautiful game birds with an extraordinary courtship ritual, known as lekking. In spring, the male birds gather together in a group and perform a dramatic display involving them raising their tails, inflating their necks and emitting a distinctive “rookooing” call. And of course the ones that display with greatest aplomb are the ones that get the ladies.

The money raised via the sales of The Black Grouse will be invested in long term and sustainable solutions to the black grouse’s problems, including native tree planting and woodland creation, the removal of non-native trees and the restoration of boggy areas in order to create forest-edge habitat of a diverse structure and natural character.

Stuart Housden, director of the RSPB in Scotland, said: “Unless urgent conservation programmes are put in place, this bird and its remarkable natural behaviour could disappear forever from our shores.

“We are absolutely delighted that The Famous Grouse has chosen to support black grouse conservation by funding our work for protection, creation and restoration of the special natural habitats they depend on. This commitment will ensure that this spectacular bird, with its remarkable mating behaviour, will continue to enthral people and contribute to the rich natural history of the UK for many years to come.”

The Black Grouse whisky, which was originally launched in Sweden in April 2007, is already an award winning whisky, having been listed as The Best New Scotch Blended Whisky in Jim Murray’s 2008 Whisky Bible.

The Black Grouse whisky is available throughout Sainsbury’s stores from Sunday 8 June and is priced at £15.49.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

09 June
2008

Hankey Bannister Voted World’s Best Scotch Blended Whisky At World Whisky Awards

Inver House Distillers, which was recently voted International Distiller of the Year, has announced that its Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old blended Scotch whisky, has been voted the world’s best Scotch blended whisky at the World Whisky Awards.

With 200 whiskies having been tasted by the judges over three tasting rounds, Hankey Bannister was awarded this prestigious accolade by a panel of high-profile judges from around the globe. This award adds a further trophy to Airdrie-based Inver House Distillers’ collection, with the distiller having also recently announced a 107% increase in pre-tax profits.

Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old is an intricate and sophisticated blended Scotch whisky, specially selected to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Hankey Bannister partnership. This precious blend contains some of the world’s rarest and most extraordinary whiskies, such as Garnheath, Killyloch and Glen Flagler, whose distilleries are no more.

Incredibly, these whiskies had already been matured for several years by the time they were blended and then left to marry for over 35 years more. This unique and exceptional blend, which was left to mature in Spanish oak casks, had lain quietly maturing deep in warehouses until Inver House Distillers’ Master Blender, Stuart Harvey, rediscovered them forty years later.

Such is the rarity of this blend that only 1,917 crystal decanters of Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old exist, beautifully packaged in a dark brown keep-sake box with Glencairn crystal glasses. The spirit’s preciousness was recognised and appreciated by the judging panel, which comprised the best whisky journalists and retailers from around the world, as well as industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors.

Michelle Lansdowne, brand manager for Hankey Bannister at Inver House Distillers, commented: “The World Whisky Awards is one of the most high-profile and highly-regarded in the industry, so to have been presented with the title of ‘World’s best Scotch blended whisky’ really is a fantastic achievement, particularly when you consider that we were judged by a panel of senior industry representatives from around the world.

“Inver House Distillers has had a remarkable twelve months in terms of the awards we have won and this award shows what can be achieved with a real passion and enthusiasm for whisky. Hankey Bannister is unusual in that there are not many 40 year old blends available, and certainly not many of this quality.”

Hankey Bannister is currently exported to around 47 countries worldwide, with a range including an un-aged blend, blended malt, 12-Year-Old blend and 21-Year-Old blend. The spirit is favoured by whisky enthusiasts throughout the world for its distinctive rich full flavour, a result of its high malt content. Expert blending of the finest individual malt and grain whiskies available have created a unique flavour for Hankey Bannister – its 40-year-old blend, which has a natural cask strength of 43.3%, is said to have warm fragrant aromas of raisin, chocolate and citrus, which combine with spicy notes leading to an exceptionally long-lasting, smooth and full-bodied finish.

Formed in 1757 by Messrs Hankey and Bannister, the whisky has been a favourite of many a prestigious name including King George V, Sir Winston Churchill and Evelyn Waugh.

Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old is available to buy in specialist whisky shops.

Further information about the Awards and winners is available at: http://www.whiskymag.com/awards/wwa/

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

08 June
2008

Dad Robin selling off whisky signed by four Prime Ministers

A WHISKY collector is selling off bottles signed by four prime ministers.

It took Robin Hood, 51, eight years to get Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher to autograph bottles of House of Commons Scotch.

Robin, of New Galloway, Kirkcud - brightshire, said: "It has taken me all this time and a lot of travelling to get the bottles autographed.

"I don't know how much they will sell for but I hope there is a lot of interest as I am confident there isn't a collection like it in the world."

Robin is selling the collection to raise money for a charity that helps people with a rare skin condition.

His daughter Alex, 19, has epidermolysis bullosa, which makes her skin blister and scar at the slightest touch.

She also has cancer and has just months to live.

Alex and other victims are called "butterfly children" because their skin is as sensitive as an insect's wing.

The whisky will be auctioned at charity DebRA's annual Butterfly ball in Glasgow in October.

Article Courtesy of Sunday Mail

 

Sunday Mail

05 June
2008

Thieves steal Shetland’s first whisky from Surrey depot

A BATCH of Shetland’s first whisky has been stolen in a raid on a warehouse.

The 360 cases of rare Muckle Flugga vatted malt, produced by Blackwood Distillers, were being stored at the premises in Bordon, Hampshire.

Packed in cases of six bottles, the whisky was due to be shipped to various international bond holders of Blackwood.

The company had set up Shetland Angel bonds six years ago, at a price of £560 each, to raise money for the distillery.

The whisky is a blend of three different eight year old single malts from distilleries across the north of Scotland.

Once shipped from the mainland, they are then taken to the island of Unst for 18 months of maturing.

Thieves targeted the warehouse last weekend, cutting a hole in the wall and stealing £30,000 worth of the precious samples.

Each bottle had been labelled ‘Only for bond holders’ and ‘Not for re-sale’.

Blackwood chief executive Caroline Whitfield suspects the thieves stumbled upon the whisky by accident.

She said: “There were several million pounds worth of toiletries in the warehouse due to be shipped at that time.

“It is fairly certain that the burglary was targeted at the toiletries, but it had already been shipped the day before. When they got in they found the Muckle Flugga instead.

“What I have been told by police is that it probably left the country within 24 hours.”

Ms Whitfield said that bondholders would not miss out on the whisky, which had been insured.

She plans to ship more cases of Muckle Flugga, to be bottled from remaining casks, within a couple of weeks.

In an e-mail to customers, she said: “Our apologies for this additional delay which is, as literally as it can be, out of our hands.”

Article Courtesy of Shetland Today

 

Shetland Today

04 June
2008

SWA sets out green approach for whisky industry

To mark EU Green Week (3-6 June 2008), the Scotch Whisky industry will set out its environmental best practice during a major conference in Brussels today (June 4).

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is showcasing a range of initiatives aimed at protecting the environment from which industry raw materials are sourced.

In a keynote speech at the 'Sustainable Industry: From Production to Consumption' conference, the SWA will highlight initiatives such as:

• Investment in energy-saving technologies, with excess energy from whisky-making recycled to heat Scottish communities and exported back to the National Grid;
• Research into innovative techniques to re-use distillery co-products (residues from the distilling process) as an alternative renewable energy source;
• Increased use of lightweight packaging, requiring less raw material and energy to make.

Morag Garden, SWA environmental affairs manager, said: “Scotch Whisky has a strong environmental record and EU Green Week provides an opportunity to showcase industry best practice.

“Distillers are continuing to work to reduce the impacts of their operations even further and to promote long-term sustainability. An industry-wide environmental strategy is, for example, being developed which will look to set ambitious targets in areas such as energy and packaging over the coming decades.”

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

04 June
2008

Old Pulteney Prohibition Ball raises over £5260 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Last Friday (30 May 2008) saw the annual Old Pulteney Prohibition Ball being held at the Pulteney Distillery in Wick. Beating last year’s record intake, an astonishing £5265 were raised and donated to Wick’s RNLI Station. The ball took place to commemorate the repeal of prohibition in Wick and was held for the second time, after its inauguration in 2007.

In a marquee that was erected especially for the occasion in the distillery’s courtyard, and fueled with entertainment by local band KW1, a fantastic after dinner performance by Tom Morton was enjoyed by a lively crowd, who contributed greatly to the chosen charity through ticket sales and a silent auction. Fine dining, dancing, superb prizes and a fantastic atmosphere ensured a great evening for the local community.

A further highlight of the evening was the recognition of James McCaughey, a local boatbuilder and businessman, who was awarded with the Old Pulteney Maritime Achievement Award. Mr McCaughey has contributed throughout his life to Wick’s community, economy and maritime industry as a boat builder, repairer, employer and through being heavily involved in the RNLI for over 21 years. He was honoured for his lifetime achievement and was presented by Distillery Manager Malcolm Waring and the RNLI’s Head of Operations Colin Richard with a specially engraved Old Pulteney crystal decanter.

Says Malcolm Waring: “We had an absolutely terrific evening. Tom Morton was an excellent host, the band was fantastic, the dinner was delicious and all our guests thoroughly enjoyed

themselves and had a wee dram or two! I’m delighted that we were able to raise such an incredible figure for Wick’s RNLI Station and I cannot wait until next year. We have already taken table bookings for 2009!”

For ticket information and bookings please contact the Pulteney Distillery on 01955 602 7780.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

03 June
2008

Highland Park launches fourth Ambassador's cask

Highland Park is to launch it fourth Ambassador’s Cask – the most successful and fastest selling limited edition bottlings in the Orkney brand’s 210-year history.

For this fourth edition, Gerry Tosh, Global Brand Ambassador, has selected cask 413 – a beautiful example of a refill sherry hogshead - which was filled in 1979 but only bottled in the Spring of 2008. The bottling will be released in 160 70cl bottles at natural cask strength of 56.1% alcohol by volume.

This 29 year old special edition bursts with aromas of butterscotch, cherry and vanilla and finishes with Highland Park’s trademark balance of aromatic peat and heather honey sweetness.

Gerry Tosh, Global Brand Ambassador, commented: “The success of the first three Ambassador’s Casks have been astonishing with the most recent release being sold out within one month. It is further testament to the present demand for limited bottlings and of Highland Park in particular.

“And, you will not be disappointed with cask 413 – this smooth whisky is sweet and smooth initially, then the fire of the cask strength hits with a wheelbarrow full of candied fruit to make your mouth water.”

Each of the 160 70cl Highland Park Ambassador’s Cask 4 bottles (RRP £225) are sealed in a beautifully crafted wooden box.

The Ambassador’s Single Cask 4 is available at the Kirkwall distillery and also on the Highland Park website www.highlandpark.co.uk. It is anticipated that this limited edition release will be popular with whisky connoisseurs, tourists and locals.

For further information please visit www.highlandpark.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

02 June
2008

Scotland may have to adopt wine as national drink

Global warming could spell end for whisky

Scotland could be forced to change its national drink from whisky to wine if global warming continues.

Soaring temperatures will create the perfect conditions for wine production in Scotland within the next 70 years, according to experts.

But the heat could spell the end of Scotland's original tipple because rising temperatures would make whisky ingredients difficult to grow.

Professor Richard Selley, of Imperial College London, said: “In Scotland by 2080 the increase will be something like two degrees, which means you would certainly be able to produce wine.

“Of course it will not be ideal for wheat and barley so we will all be drinking Icelandic whisky.

The Great Glen, Loch Ness and the Campsie Fells could one day rival California's Napa Valley creating varieties of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and even Champagne.

The professor said the first grape production vineyard could even be open for business in the next five years.

The news was welcomed by Highland plant growers.

Norrie MacLaren, of Ard Daraich Nursery, Ardnamurchan, said: “It is hard to imagine with the summer we are having at the moment that it would not be a good thing to grow vines. The plants we sell are changing because of global warming.

“I think it would be great – we could start selling vines.”

But some custodians of the land are doubtful that wine could be produced in the Highlands. Jan Jacob Baak, estate manager at Glenfintaig, in the Great Glen, said: “Growing grapes would be a big step. Even in France if you get a bad summer you don’t get a quality wine.

“A couple of vineyards in the south of England seem to be making progress, but in the north I think we are probably miles away from that.”

Meanwhile, the whisky industry is being forced to look at its sustainability.

David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The industry relies on its local natural environment.

“We watch very carefully the impact of a whole range of environmental circumstances.

At the moment the industry is examining its environmental sustainable strategy looking forward a number of decades.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal
May 2008 Scotch Whisky News

30 May
2008

Ruling says India's Peter Scot whisky need not be renamed

A 20-year courtroom battle over whether a whisky brewed in Bangalore, India, qualifies as a “Scot” has ended in defeat for those who said och, never.

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the makers of Peter Scot, one of the subcontinent’s most popular tipples, need not rename the product following a complaint from the Scotch Whisky Distillers Association (SWDA). The Edinburgh-based body first alleged in 1987 that the name misleadingly gives the impression that the India-brewed liquor has some sort of Scottish connection.

The judgement, which can not be appealed, is likely to be all the more galling for Scotch purists as India is ramping up its own efforts to protect indigenous products that have geographically significant names.

Last year the country registered 31 terms as non-infringable “geographical indications” (GI) under global trade rules — as many as it had logged in the preceding four years combined. GI status, which often allows goods to command premium prices, has been granted by the World Trade Organisation to products ranging from Darjeeling tea to Gujrat Pashminas and Mysore silk.

It is the GI scheme that prevents cheap sparkling wine from declaring itself to be champagne and forbids spam being marketed as parma ham. It also stops Peter Scot whisky from being called “Scotch”.

However, there are concerns that several countries are still allowing regional designations to be abused and some industries have been accused of passing off adulterated goods as expensive and sought-after niche varieties.

For instance, trade figures suggest that almost four times as much “Darjeeling tea” was sold last year than was produced in the north Indian region that gives the variety its name. It has been claimed that cheap tealeaves are smuggled by mule from Nepal and mixed with genuine Darjeeling. The blend is then sold as pure Darjeeling tea.

Other countries have been accused of similar lapses. France recently increased the number of plots of land where grapes may be grown to produce champagne, to fulfill surging world demand. Critics said the move undermined the credibility of a term that the country has defended fiercely for years — in part by blocking its use by British vintners.

The SWDA said yesterday that it was disappointed at a legal loss that may also induce a financial hangover. India is the world’s largest consumer of whisky, but just 1 per cent of the estimated billion litres of the spirit downed by the subcontinent every year is produced outside the country. Foreign firms are keen to secure any advantage they can to push their products in the fast-growing market.

Indian companies are fighting hard to maintain their dominance and have been backed up by stiff government import duties -- of 150 per cent -- on overseas drams. Khoday India, one of India’s largest spirits producers, started making Peter Scot in 1968 and registered the trademark in 1974. It said the SWDA’s case was baseless because it only made its complaint against the brand 13 years later.

The wrangle has fed the long-standing feud between Scotland’s distillers and their rivals on the subcontinent. In April, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) threatened to ask for trade sanctions against India if the country does not cut its draconian system of import tariffs and give foreign companies greater access to its seven billion pounds a year alcohol market.

The threat was criticised by Vijay Mallya, the billionaire head of UB Group, India’s largest spirits producer. He accused the SWA of being “paranoid” about India and gave warning that the body’s “heavy handed” approach could jeopardise Scottish distilleries’ prospects in the country.

Mr Mallya, who bought Whyte & Mackay, the Scottish distiller, for £595 million in 2006, controls about 60 per cent of the Indian whisky market. It is thought that he plans to start bottling Whyte & Mackay in India in the next few months.

Geographical limitations

— Under EU rules, “Newcastle Brown Ale” could only be brewed in Newcastle upon Tyne. When the brewery decided in 2004 to move to Gateshead it had to apply to have the geographical restriction revoked.

— Stilton cheese can only be produced in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire. The village of Stilton is now in Cambridgeshire, so Stilton cheese cannot be produced there (though traditionally it was not, anyway).

— Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort and Camembert de Normandie can only be named as such if they come from the designated region. By contrast, Cheddar can be made anywhere. The term is considered generic – partly because Cheddar, the place, could never hope to keep up with world demand for Cheddar, the cheese.

— Sales of wine from Champagne – a tiny village in Switzerland – plummeted by 70 per cent after makers there were forbidden to use the term

— France recently increased the number of plots of land where grapes may be used to make Champagne – a move that increased land prices by as much as 5 billion pounds.

Article Courtesy of The Times

 

The Times

29 May
2008

New whisky to help save endangered bird

A NEW whisky that will help save a rare breed of bird from the threat of extinction is to be launched.

Glasgow's Edrington Group, who own the Famous Grouse and the Macallan, are launching The Black Grouse in the UK this summer.

It combines blended whisky with that of more expensive malts and the company hope it will be a big hit with dram lovers.

And 50p from the sale of every bottle will go to a conservation campaign to save its feathered namesake, the black grouse.

The company joined forces with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to finance a scheme to help protect the endangered species.

The Black Grouse will be available from next month.

Lee Walker, brand manager at distributors Maxxium UK, said: "Environmentalism is increasingly becoming a touchstone issue for consumers, and the Black Grouse's partnership with the RSPB offers a simple way to help make a difference and secure the future of this iconic bird.

"The full-bodied taste of the Black Grouse is designed to appeal to experienced whisky drinkers who are looking to take their enjoyment of blended whisky to the next level.

"It's a dark and mellow whisky that combines the smoothness of the Famous Grouse with the smokiness of an Islay malt."

In his Whisky Bible 2008, Jim Murray voted Black Grouse "the best new blended Scotch whisky".

Black grouse are found across most of Scotland, in upland areas of Wales and the Pennines - but they are under threat of extinction.

Stuart Housden, director of the RSPB in Scotland, added: "We a re delighted that the Famous Grouse is supporting black grouse conservation by funding our work for protection and the restoration of habitats."

Article Courtesy of Daily Record

 

Daily Record

28 May
2008

Famous Grouse launches limited edition “Famous Dad”

Want a gift for your dad this Father's Day that doesn't consist of socks or slippers? Look no further.

In celebration of Father’s Day, The Famous Grouse, distributed by Maxxium UK, will be introducing limited edition bottles labelled The Famous Dad for a short period, the perfect treat for Dads on their special day.

The special label will still feature the iconic Grouse and familiar red font but The Famous Dad will ensure it stands out from the crowd.

Father’s Day is the one day dads can officially relax and put their feet up, and The Famous Grouse wanted to mark the occasion with something distinctive. What better way to say ‘thank you’ and to treat fathers’ than with the perfect gift, a bottle of The Famous Dad.

Jen McLaren, Maxxium UK’s assistant brand manger for The Famous Grouse, said: “This is an exciting initiative for Scotland’s Favourite whisky. To celebrate the fact that dads should be seen as famous to their families every day, The Famous Dad is a perfect personalised gift to make any dad feel extra special this year.”

The Famous Dad will be available from the beginning of June for a limited time only.

It will be available to buy in Asda, Booker, Makro and Botterills and will be sold at standard retail price.

The Famous Dad will be available alongside the much-loved The Famous Grouse.

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail

 

Talking Retail

23 May
2008

Commodity prices blow to whisky growth plans

The rising price of global of commodities could hamper the growth plans of Scotland's lucrative whisky industry and send the price of a dram soaring, distillers warned yesterday.

While consumers are unlikely to feel the impact immediately, because of the length of the maturation process, producers are already feeling the pinch from fast-rising international grain, fuel and glass costs.

Whisky, once distilled, must mature for several years. While a cheap bottle of blended Scotch, which must be matured for at least three years, sells for as little as £10 in supermarkets, specialist single malts are often matured for 10 years or more and can fetch upwards of £200 a bottle.

Campbell Evans, a spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "In the past year, I think grain prices have risen by something like 100%. We've seen fuel rise by 50% to 60% and we've seen glass rise 10% to 20%.

"So there will be an impact on companies in terms of what they're buying in, but in terms of the product coming out into the retail market, the impact will be many years down the track."

The SWA also said the price of wood for casks and of copper, which is used for vats, was also causing major concern in the industry.

Diageo, the world's biggest alcoholic drinks group which makes Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness stout, warned last week that its costs for the financial year to June 2008 would rise by about £90m mainly because of increases in energy and grain costs.

Experts are also warning that the pace of expansion plans could be curtailed, because as prices continue to rise margins will be squeezed, and those expected to be hit the heaviest are the growing number of smaller distillers in Scotland.

Asked how much he expected the price of a bottle to rise, one industry insider, who asked not to be named, said: "Knowing our customers, they will expect us to absorb the extra costs."

Doug Ross, a co-founder and director at fledgling, Perthshire-based Tullibardine distillery, said: "We don't have the ability to absorb the extra costs the way the bigger distilleries can.

"Smaller whisky companies like us rely on cashflow. We are hurting already and I fear there is more fear to come."

The biggest commodity price rises that have impacted on the whisky industry in recent months have occurred in European natural gas, grains such as wheat, barley and corn, and crude oil.

Rising global demand, particularly in Asia, the weakening US dollar and volatility in the asset market, have all conspired to push up prices in global commodities markets.

Meanwhile, whisky exports generated a record £2.8bn for the United Kingdom in 2007, up from £2.5bn in 2006, according to the SWA.

The sale of Scotch has soared in recent years on surging demand from areas such as China, India, Russia and parts of South America, and the industry has reacted with multi-million-pound investments in new distilleries. Some 90% of Scotch whisky is exported.

The industry remains optimistic about its prospects, in spite of the surge in commodity prices.

Evans added: "Given the fact that the industry has announced investment of something like £400m over the next three years, we are projecting enormous growth going forward all over the globe."

Meanwhile, another industry insider said: "Like the rest of the UK industry, the Scotch whisky sector is not immune from cost pressures, such as rising prices for cereals, fuel and glass. About 90% of Scotch whisky is sold overseas and rising commodity prices will take time to reach consumers because of production timescales. Companies will review their prices as and when appropriate in light of these cost pressures, and prices are likely to rise over a period of time."

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

23 May
2008

Inver House Distillers toasts 13 awards at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2008

Inver House Distillers, which recently won the prestigious title of ‘International Distiller of the Year’, is celebrating further success, having picked up no fewer than 13 awards at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2008.

These prestigious accolades, which include several gold, silver and a coveted ‘Masters’ Award for their range of single malts, were presented at a glittering awards ceremony on 21 May, adding yet more trophies to the Airdrie-based company’s growing collection – not least ‘International Distiller of the Year’, which was won despite impressive competition from exceptional companies throughout the world.

Entries to the Scotch Whisky Awards are blind-tasted by a panel of prestigious judges, including Spirits Business editor Patience Gould. The accolades presented to Inver House Distillers’ malts comprised eight awards for the quality of the whiskies’ tastes and five awards for the high standard of the design and packaging.

With a reputation for a fresh and innovative approach to Scotch whisky, Inver House Distillers has not only been recognised at the Scotch Whisky Masters, it has also recently revealed a 107% increase in pre-tax profits and won ‘World’s best Scotch blended whisky’ for its rare Hankey Bannister 40-Years-Old blend at the World Whisky Awards.

The awards that Inver House Distillers was presented with at the Scotch Whisky Masters 2008 are as follows:
• Old Pulteney 21-Years-Old (‘Master Award’ for Highlands & Islands whiskies up to 25 years old)
• Old Pulteney 12-Years-Old (‘Gold Award’ for Highlands & Islands whiskies up to 12 years old)
• Balblair 1989 (‘Gold Award’ for Highlands & Islands whiskies up to 25 years old)
• Balblair 1975 (‘Gold Award’ for Highlands & Islands whiskies over 25 years old)
• Speyburn 12-Years-old (‘Gold Award’ for Speyside whiskies up to 12 years old)
• Speyburn 25-Years-old Solera (‘Gold Award’ for Speyside whiskies up to 25 years old)
• Old Pulteney 17-Years-Old (‘Silver Award’ for Highlands & Islands whiskies up to 18 years old)
• Balblair 1997 (‘Silver Award’ for Highlands & Islands whiskies up to 12 years old)
• Balblair 1997, 1989 and 1975 (‘Gold Awards’, Design & Packaging Awards)
• anCnoc 12-Years-Old and 16-Years-Old Highland Single Malts (‘Silver Awards’, Design & Packaging Awards)

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

22 May
2008

Whisky stout is a true paradox

A TINY Scots brewery has developed a whisky-tinged stout that ranks among the world’s most expensive beers.

Makers BrewDog say the Paradox 1968 Islay Cask is matured in a Bowmore whisky barrel for a year, “infusing the stout with the essence and aroma” of whisky.

Two hundred bottles of the limited-edition stout are being released at £40 for 330ml.

Over half of the batch has already been pre-ordered by in-the-know beer connoisseurs from around the world.

BrewDog has been producing Paradox since the brewery launched in 2007 and the special stout has been released to mark their first birthday.

The Bowmore whisky first matured in the 1968 barrel sold for an impressive £1,500. Aberdeenshire-based BrewDog is run by lifelong friends James Watt and Martin Dickie, both 25. Managing director James said: “This beer totally rocks, it is completely unique and a world first on many levels.

“I can’t wait to raise a glass of this special batch of Paradox to toast BrewDog’s first birthday.

Article Courtesy of Daily and Sunday Express

 

Daily and Sunday Express

20 May
2008

Cheers! Hall wins revamp grant

Village gets £9,000 from drinks giant for makeover

A MORAY village hall is to be upgraded after it got a £9,000 grant from drinks giant Diageo.

The cash was awarded to Roseisle Hall as part of a series of projects the company is doing in the local community.

Earlier this month it was revealed that the new £40million Roseisle malt whisky distillery near Burghead is scheduled to be completed later this year.

Sarah Fenning-Mills, chairwoman of Roseisle and District Village Hall committee, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. It’s what we applied for but we never thought we would get the full amount.

“We’ve never received any grants like this before. This will be the first major sum for the hall in about 15 years.”

Works to the hall will include extensive replacement of windows that were installed in the 1950s, helping to reduce heating costs and improve ventilation.

The project will also involve repair work to walls and window surrounds and redecorating the main hall.

Mike Jappy, Roseisle Distillery project director, said Diageo was delighted to be making a contribution towards the upgrade of the building.

He said: “We have been based in this area for 40 years and throughout the company’s long history here the support of local people has been greatly valued.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

19 May
2008

German twin-town visitors on whisky trail

Lossiemouth host families welcome 50 guests in Moray for cultural trip

VISITORS from the German town of Hersbruck experienced a part of Moray’s famous whisky trail yesterday with a trip to Glen Grant Distillery at Rothes.

The group of 50 guests, ranging in age from seven to 84, were on a sightseeing tour as part of a twin-town arrangement with Lossiemouth that was set up more than 35 years ago.

Lossiemouth Hersbruck Twin Town Association vice-chairwoman Barbara Steele said: “We take turns, it was their turn to come over here this year. Next year, we are hoping to go over there.

“The visits let us get to know how other people live and make friends with new people and learn about their culture.”

Petra Hofman, who has visited Moray several times, said: “I like the people here, and of course the landscapes, the distilleries and the interesting places to see. It’s a good opportunity to make friends. That is, of course, what it is all about, meeting with old friends and making new ones.”

The group will spend the remainder of their five-day trip visiting Inverness and Culloden Battlefield, and spending time with their host families in Lossiemouth.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

15 May
2008

The Famous Grouse triumphs at marketing excellence awards

The Famous Grouse has scooped the top award for Promotional Excellence at this year’s Scottish Marketing Excellence Awards, held in Edinburgh on Friday (9th May), beating off stiff competition from National Galleries of Scotland, Real Radio & The Sun, and Visit Scotland.

The Famous Grouse received the award for its “Famously Successful Personal Touch” innovation, which allows consumers to personalise both the front and back labels of The Famous Grouse bottles. The brand has seen worldwide success for this innovation, which bucked the trend for price promotion and truly captured the imagination of consumers, retailers and international markets and the media, driving over £600,000 of sales.

Gerry O’Donnell, director of The Famous Grouse brand, said: “To win this award is a great recognition for all our staff. As Scotland’s number one whisky we are always striving for innovation and to be recognised as the best in Scotland is a fantastic accolade.”

The Marketing Excellence Awards in Scotland have been developed to recognise outstanding marketing and to promote best practice. There are a total of 24 awards across three main categories and the awards are reviewed by a panel of judges who are all selected from the industry for their independence and expertise in specific marketing disciplines.

The Famous Grouse has won a number of prestigious awards in recent years including the Sponsorship award for The Famous Grouse Rugby Activation for Maxxium UK in 2007, Marketing Magazines’ Grand Prix award and a BAFTA for it’s interactive show, at The Famous Grouse Experience, as well as five star Visit Scotland accreditation.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

 

Press Release

14 May
2008

Whisky company toasts fifth-generation chairman

A fifth-generation member of the Grant-Gordon distillery dynasty has been appointed non-executive chairman of Scotland-based William Grant & Sons Ltd. Peter Gordon, who is the great great-grandson of founder William Grant, is taking over from Charles Gordon, who will fulfil the newly created role of life president.

Paying tribute to his uncle, Peter said: "Charles has led the company as chairman over the last five years with a leadership style full of remarkable energy, passion and humour. As a consequence, our brands have developed and prospered significantly.

"Having first become a director of the company in 1953, Charles has an unrivalled and invaluable depth of knowledge of the Scotch whisky industry and the world's spirits markets. As our life president, Charles will have the opportunity to continue contributing to the overall development of the company."

William Grant & Sons was founded in 1886 when William Grant built the Glenfiddich Distillery with his nine children. A year later, on Christmas day, the first Glenfiddich whiskey was produced. With help of his brother, John, and his son-in-law, Charles Gordon, William was able to export his product all over the world, and expand his company to include new brands.

Today, the company's whiskey products are sold in 180 countries with Glenfiddich being known as "the world's favourite single malt". The company is still fully-owned by William's direct descendants who are involved in the running of the businesses.

Article Courtesy of Families in Business

 

Families in Business

13 May
2008

Plans for Shetland whisky distillery still progressing

Spirits remain high at Blackwood, says boss, despite subsidiary’s credit woes

A subsidiary of the company behind plans for Shetland’s first whisky distillery has gone into administration, it emerged yesterday.

Caroline Whitfield, the chief executive of parent Blackwood Distillers Holdings (BDH) said, however, that the whisky project would still go ahead.

Blackwood revealed yesterday that administrators were appointed for its Shetland Spirit Company (SSC) subsidiary – the business behind Blackwood’s gin, vodka and vodka-based liqueur Jago’s – on May 2.

Ms Whitfield said there was no impact on any other part of the group, adding that the administration was the result of one creditor of the subsidiary losing patience as negotiations went on to secure new sales, distribution and licensing agreements for SSC’s range.

SSC employed two people, one of whom has gone to trade partner Blavod Extreme Spirits. The other now has a new role within Lerwick-based Blackwood.

Ms Whitfield said the group’s plans for the whisky distillery at Catfirth, near South Nesting, were progressing and that details of a new funding package would be announced within months.

A statement announcing that SSC was in administration said that the whisky development had been put on hold while negotiations continued in relation to Blackwood’s gin brand. It added: “A further update on this will follow shortly.”

Blackwood said it had entered into an exclusive sales and distribution arrangement with Alternative Investment Market-listed Blavod Extreme Spirits and that SSC’s administrators were negotiating a long-term licensing agreement for Blackwood’s gin, vodka and Jago’s. It added: “This deal will lead to stronger performance from the brands than could have been realised by Blackwood with its limited financial and people resources.”

Ms Whitfield said she hoped the announcement would help to satisfy the group’s shareholders and creditors, adding: “Blackwood Distillers is dedicated to ensure that the business we started in Shetland will flourish long term and the board is working hard to ensure that we overcome the current difficulties in the most effective way.”

In the 12 months to the end of April 2006 – the last year for which accounts are available – BDH recorded pre-tax losses of £2.438million. This was after losses of £2.165million in 2004-05.

The 2006-07 accounts, which should have been filed by February 29, are listed as overdue by Companies House.

Blackwood has been focusing on building a profitable white-spirit business to fund its long-term investment into whisky. It had initially aimed to open the new distillery by the end of 2004, but the project has been hit by planning and other delays.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

09 May
2008

Scottish Leader Whisky sees 42% sales increase

There has been a 42% jump in sales volume for Scotch Leader Whisky over the last 12-month period, new figures show.

The company's latest results (January 07 – January 08) have shown the brand has specifically increased its presence in the Scottish on-trade sector.

It is now the third biggest-selling whisky in he Scottish on-trade and the fourth biggest overall in the UK, thanks in part to a successful advertising campaign for three high profile Scottish football clubs.

The company recently signed a deal with Celtic, Heart of Midlothian and Rangers Football Clubs, which was accompanied by a new advertising campaign in April depicting the whisky's Deanston distillery and its staff members.

Marco Di Ciacca, Scottish Leader brand manager, said: “The UK whisky trade is a tough environment at the moment and, following the latest Budget, it's certainly not going to get any easier.

“However, we remain very positive and still believe there is tremendous scope for further volume gains.”

“We are one of the few brands investing in UK activity.” Di Ciacca concluded.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

08 May
2008

Whisky attraction gets revamp

The Scotch Whisky Experience, the visitor attraction situated on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, is to undergo a £2 million expansion.

The revamp is likely to include a £1 million overhaul of the existing barrel ride, an indoor audio-guided ride that leads visitors through 300 years of whisky making, with smells and sound effects to demonstrate how Scotland's national drink is made.

The ride forms part of the Whisky Tour, which will also be re-developed to include more interactive exhibits and an expanded audio tour commentary, which will be available in 15 languages.

Other plans incorporate a new vault-style room, which will showcase the largest whisky collection in the world. London-based drinks company Diageo is currently finalising the purchase of the 3,384 bottle collection, owned by Brazilian collector Claive Vidiz. It will include a rare Bells decanter, which was released to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lastly, it has been announced that the first floor will see the addition of a traditional whisky bar and a contemporary whisky cocktail bar to maximise the area's panoramic views across the city.

Construction is expected to begin in October and the attraction is likely to re-open in March 2009.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

07 May
2008

Balvenie marks David’s 45th year with a new malt

Valued employee becomes the world’s longest-serving maltmaster

A NEW single malt Scotch whisky has been launched to celebrate the dedication of a Moray distillery employee, who is the world’s longest-serving maltmaster.

Dufftown-based Balvenie Distillery marked 63-year-old David Stewart’s 45th year in the industry with The Balvenie Signature, a new hand-crafted 12-year-old single malt.

It is considered to be Mr Stewart’s signature creation and is a combination of 12-year-old single malt Scotch whisky matured in three cask types.

Mr Stewart said: “It has given me great pleasure to create a signature whisky as part of the Balvenie range.

“Maturing and marrying the finest single malt Scotch whisky has been my passion for over 45 years and it’s an honour to mark the moment with an addition to the Balvenie family.”

To celebrate the occasion, the company is commissioning an exhibition of works handcrafted in Britain by businesses and individuals including Barbours, Scottish silversmith Marion Kane, and Suffolk woodcarver Paul Jewby. The exhibition will be launched in the autumn.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

05 May
2008

Hopes for new visitor record at whisky festival

VISITOR figures for this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival are expected to outstrip last year’s record after visitors flocked to Moray at the weekend.

Celebrations will conclude later today following five days of more than 200 events including whisky tasting, distillery tours and exhibitions.

Festival organisers catered for families as well as whisky enthusiasts with face painting and games at Benromach family fun day yesterday afternoon, and Rothes’ annual gala moved from its usual June slot to begin on Saturday.

Last year the festival attracted about 16,000 visitors and generated £600,000 for the local economy.

Official visitor figures for this year’s event are not available yet but event co-ordinator Ros Lewis said that online bookings for festival events were a pretty good indicator.

She said: “I would say it’s busier than last year. We’ve invested in market research again this year and we’ve got people going round with clipboards and there are questionnaires as well, so that’ll give us an idea.

“Bookings for festival events this year are up so that’s always a good sign. The majority of events are booked online so we get a pretty good idea of what’s working and what’s not working.”

More than 340 attended the festival opening dinner at Glen Grant Distillery in Rothes on Thursday.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was due to attend and deliver the keynote speech, but was forced to pull out due to illness.

Local MSP Richard Lochhead stepped in to address the audience and announce the winners of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards, who were chosen by members of the public.

Events lined up for the final day of celebrations today include tours to Dufftown, to one of the youngest distilleries Glenallachie near Aberlour, Glenfarclas, and Glen Moray distilleries, and there will be expeditions to the Braes of Glenlivet to take part in the Whisky Smugglers’ Experience.

The festival concludes tonight with The Dreg’s Party at The Whisky Shop in Dufftown, where visitors can sample the last of the festival’s produce from the waters of Speyside.

The winners of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards were:

12 years old and under — The Balvenie.

10 years — Founders Reserve.

13 to 20 years old — The Glenlivet.

16 Years — Nàdurra.

21 years old plus — The Balvenie

21 years — Port Wood.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

02 May
2008

Toast to new visitor centre at distillery

Five-star speyside attraction opens as whisky festival gets under way

A NEW £500,000 visitor centre at one of Speyside’s biggest distilleries opened its doors yesterday.

Glen Grant Distillery’s new attraction, at its Forres base, is the third visitor centre to be built onsite.

Visit-Scotland chief executive Philip Riddle said: “Whisky trails fulfil a very important market in Scottish tourism, particularly in terms of our international visitors, and I’m confident that investment such as this world-class visitor centre will not only add to the trail experience in Moray but also improve and help the tourism industry realise its ambitious growth tar-get.”

Distillery owners Gruppo Campari spent the money over two years converting the building into a five-star visitor attraction.

The site was initially used as a coach house and stables between 1887 and 1931, and later as accommodation for distillery employees and their families.

The next stage of development at the distillery will see the former visitor centre converted into a coffee shop.

The opening of the visitor centre was timed to coincide with the start of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival yesterday.

First Minister Alex Salmond was forced to pull out of last night’s opening festival dinner at the due to illness.

A stomach bug caused Mr Salmond to cancel all his engagements, including the dinner event at Glen Grant Distillery at Rothes, where he had been due to deliver the keynote speech to 300 guests.

Mr Salmond was also due to announce the winners of the annual 2008 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards, which were judged by the public earlier in the day.

Festival event co-ordinator Ros Lewis said: “It’s very disappointing that he had to pull out but it can’t be helped.

“Hopefully he will be able to attend another year.

“We were fully booked up with guests by the end of February, before it was announced that Mr Salmond would be attending, so that is encouraging.”

The opening dinner marked the beginning of the 9th annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, when guests are served dishes made by the winner of the Spirit of Speyside Chef of the Year competition. This year’s title was won by Addy Daggert, chef of the Muckrach Lodge Hotel and Restaurant at Dulnain Bridge.

Each dish is matched with one of Speyside’s malt whiskies.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

01 May
2008

Exports value soars to £2.8bn as global demand increases

Golden news for whisky sales

Soaring global demand for Scotch whisky has sent the total value of annual sales rocketing to a record £2.8billion, new figures showed yesterday.

The Scotch Whisky Association industry body said the value of exports last year was 14% higher than in 2006, with the equivalent of more than 1billion bottles of Scotland’s national drink being shipped overseas.

Growth was seen for both blended and malt whiskies, with the US leading the way in export sales.

Total sales of blended Scotch in overseas markets broke the £2billion barrier for the first time, increasing 15% from 2006, while demand for malts sent their global sales up 11% to £454million.

Sales of all brands to North America increased by 5.5% to £482million, with good performances also being seen in Africa, Asia, central America and South America.

Exports to European Union markets leapt by 27% to £1.1billion, with Germany, Spain and Greece showing particularly strong growth.

SWA chairman Paul Walsh said: “This record export performance, generating £90 every second for the UK balance of trade, underscores just how important Scotch whisky is to our economy.

“This is all the more impressive given the economic difficulties encountered in certain markets during the second half of 2007 and demonstrates that Scotch whisky’s international appeal can mitigate against individual market or regional fluctuations.”

Mr Walsh added: “Distillers continue to watch market developments carefully, but the trends remain positive.”

Singapore became Scotch whisky’s fourth-largest export market by value last year, with total sales to the country surging 84% to £158.1million.

Much of that whisky was bound for China, where drinkers have acquired a taste for Scotch mixed with green tea.

Soaring global demand for Scotland’s national drink has led to a number of distilleries either being expanded or going back into full-scale production.

Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, is to go back into production later this year after being mothballed since 1986.

Its re-opening will create up to 20 jobs and follows its acquisition from Edrington Group by a Dutch invest-ment consortium, Scaent Group, for £5million in March.

Edrington is building warehouses and bringing a stillhouse at The Macallan distillery on Speyside, mothballed in the early 1990s, back into service in a £40million investment.

Chivas Brothers is re-opening its mothballed Braeval Distillery and extending its Glenlivet production plant, while drinks giant Diageo is currently building a £40million whisky plant which is to be Scotland’s first major distillery for more than three decades at Roseisle in Moray.

Last year, Bacardi announced it was pouring more than £120million into expanding its Scotch business, and there are long-running plans from Blackwood Distillers Holdings to build Shetland’s first whisky distillery.

Just yesterday, Enterprise Minister Jim Mather revealed that whisky production at a disused distillery in Dumfries and Galloway was to be revived for the first time in 90 years.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

01 May
2008

Traffic chaos as tanker topples over spilling whisky on road

Traffic was severely disrupted in the west end of Glasgow last night after a heavy goods vehicle carrying 15,000 litres of whisky in dozens of casks crashed shortly after leaving the Clyde Tunnel.

The east-bound carriageway of the Clydeside Expressway was closed for several hours after the vehicle toppled over as it left a slip-road at the Broomhill-Whiteinch interchange at Partick just after 6.30pm.

Three fire appliances, an ambulance and several police vehicles attended the scene. A spokesman for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said foam was used to treat some spillage of whisky.

The tanker driver was treated for a head injury before being taken by ambulance to the city's Southern General Hospital. His injury was not believed to be life-threatening.

The whisky casks were being transported by a private haulage firm on behalf of Chivas Bros from its site in Dalmuir to Mulben in Speyside.

As the lorry lost its balance, the spirit that it was carrying flooded across the road, leaving firefighters the task of mopping it up.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald
April 2008 Scotch Whisky News

Apr 30
2008

'Record high' for whisky exports

Exports of Scotch whisky reached record levels last year, according to figures from an industry body.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the value of exports reached a new high of £2.8bn, earning £90 every second for the UK balance of trade.

The value of exports to India rose by 36% to £33m, while exports to the European Union went up by 27%.

The SWA said export volume was also up, with the equivalent of 1,135 million bottles of Scotch whisky exported.

SWA chairman, Paul Walsh, said the performance "underscores just how important Scotch Whisky is to our economy."

He added: "This is all the more impressive given the economic difficulties encountered in certain markets during the second half of 2007."

Top ten export markets in 2007 by value

  • USA £419.2m
  • Spain £307.5m
  • France £294.2m
  • Singapore £158.1m
  • South Korea £139.3m
  • Greece £103.5m
  • Germany £96.3m
  • South Africa £90.9m
  • Taiwan £81.8m
  • Portugal £48.3m

The SWA figures are derived from HM Revenue and Customs data and are based on individual company declarations of the export value and volume of shipments.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

Apr 26
2008

Och no! Japanese whisky voted the best

Like English wine, it has suffered from the taint of inauthenticity and has been the butt of condescending jokes. Now Japanese whisky has finally scotched all criticism by being voted the best in the world, ahead of its Highland rivals.

Yoichi 20 years old, distilled on the shores of the Sea of Japan, has become the first variety produced outside Scotland to win the coveted single malt award in an international competition run by Whisky Magazine, the main industry publication.

The whisky, distilled near the city of Sapporo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, beat dozens of other varieties, including last year’s winner, Talisker 18 years old, produced on the Isle of Skye.

Suntory Hibiki, the brand advertised by the washed-up actor played by Bill Murray in the film Lost in Translation, scooped the award for the world’s best blended whisky. The historic double for Japanese whiskies has provoked consternation in Scotland, where whisky is as integral to a certain strand of national identity as bagpipes, haggis and the kilt.

Yoichi 20 years old, which sells for £150 a bottle, was praised by the judges for its “amazing mix of big smoke and sweet blackcurrant”, “explosive aroma” and “big, long and sweet finish”.

The decision to give the top prize to Yoichi followed a blind tasting of more than 200 of the world’s finest varieties by a panel of 16 of the world’s leading whisky experts.

The judges said Japanese distillers had succeeded in producing top Scotch thanks to the variable climate in Japan, which assists maturation and creates a purer whisky with a heightened aroma.

Traditional distilling apparatus such as coal-fired pot stills, used widely in Japan but rarely seen in Scotland, was also praised for producing a superior dram.

“Japanese whiskies performed magnificently and they are really starting to make waves,” said Rob Allanson, editor of Whisky Magazine.

Nikka, the company that produces Yoichi, and Suntory, the biggest spirits company in Japan, are making inroads into the British whisky market.

Tetsuji Hisamitsu, chief blender at the Yoichi distillery, said he was “very moved” by the award.

Article Courtesy of The Times

 

The Times

Apr 24
2008

Award-winning whisky firm has profitable year

Inver House Distillers’ earnings hit £3.798m after sales surge more than 50%

Inver House Distillers, whose key single malt whisky brands include Old Pulteney, Balblair, Speyburn and anCnoc, released results for 2007 yesterday which show pre-tax profits more than doubled.

The results also show a 52% increase in turnover, confirming the distiller – recently named International Distiller of the Year – continued to grow strongly throughout 2007.

Inver House Distillers, which has headquarters near Airdrie and five distilleries (Pulteney, Balblair, Speyburn, Knockdhu and Balmenach), distributes products in 85 countries worldwide.

Last September it won the Icons of Whisky Scottish Distiller of the Year Award, beating competition from Glenmorangie, Bowmore and William Grant and Sons. This then allowed Inver House to be considered for the International Distiller of the Year title, which it won over seven other global finalists.

The significant marketing investment that Inver House has put behind its brands has also been pivotal in its recent growth. Marketing investment in its core single malt portfolio has been increased by 15%, with investment behind the malt portfolio now amounting to nearly 30% of the revenue from single malt sales.

Inver House managing director Graham Stevenson said: “Our 2007 results show continued positive growth, with a very significant upwards shift in pre-tax profits from 2006. This success has been driven in part by ongoing expansion into growing international markets, as well as continued brand extensions and the marketing support that we have put behind our key malt whisky products.

“We are both determined and focused within our key markets. For example, our Speyburn brand is now the number six single malt whisky in the US, which is the world’s largest market.

“Our blended whisky brands have also performed well. We fully expect to continue this growth trajectory in 2008, driven by ambitious plans to further develop our overseas markets, both in Europe and worldwide.”

The firm reported pre-tax profits of £3.798million for 2007, up from £1.828million the year before. Turnover was £57.824million against £38.054million in 2006.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Apr 23
2008

Case of the missing whisky rumbles on

The FBI and the US Customs and Borders Protection Unit are still probing the whereabouts of $240,000 (£120,000) of whisky posted missing after leaving Glasgow on its way to Los Angeles.

Ten months after the 31 cases of a 32-year-old cask of Highland Park Single Cask whisky, a Budget-day favourite of former Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont, went astray its intended recipients are still in dispute with a major airline as to where the consignment has gone.

Beverly Hills-based spirits distributor Saybrex International says the 186 bottles travelled safely from the Edrington Group's HQ to a bonded warehouse at Glasgow Airport and on to Edinburgh for the Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta and HM Customs are adamant the goods left Scotland.

But somewhere between the tarmac at Edinburgh Airport, Atlanta and the connecting flight to LA the "phantom cask" has gone missing.

Despite having had the prepaid tax refunded to him, Saybrex chief Ari Bussel insists no agency had confirmation from Delta that the shipment has been lost.

He said: "This single cask was either left behind while in Delta's custody and control or was stolen while in Delta's possession.

"If the theft was done without knowledge of the true nature and value of the goods, someone may be enjoying a very unique toast, without even realising it. If, on the other hand, the goods were stolen because of it being a rare, very high-value single-cask bottling, the bottles may one day appear in the marketplace, either sold to specialty retailers or offered on the web."

A Delta spokesman said: "We are investigating the details of this incident and working with the customer to reach a resolution."

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

Apr 22
2008

Mallya challenges Scotch whisky purists

Experimenting with flavours and natural additives may help Scotch whisky to attract younger consumers, United Spirits boss Dr Vijay Mallya says.

Scotch whisky producers must be more innovative if they are to compete with other spirits for younger consumers’ money, Mallya told last week’s World Whiskies Conference in Glasgow.

“I'm not suggesting radical changes, but maybe natural additives could be used to make it more exciting for this young target market,” said the Indian billionaire, who last year bought Whyte & Mackay for almost £600m.

“There is a trend towards different-tasting products and Scotch is losing out to categories such as vodka, growing at 30 per cent, and wines, growing at 50 per cent.”

Commenting on India, viewed as a promising emerging market for Scotch, Mallya said there were 500m people under 25 years old.

“This exceeds the entire population of Europe or the US. Therefore these are the people we should be targeting - the young and upwardly mobile young Indians.”

Many conference guests dismissed the idea of putting additives in Scotch.

But some agreed that Scotch “is not an easy drink for young people to accept”. Others suggested whisky could be promoted to younger drinkers using cocktails, also containing natural flavours such as apple and ginger.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International

 

Drinks International

Apr 20
2008

Meet the Indian bling king of Scotch whisky industry

Flamboyant Indian Playboy Stirs Things Up With Whisky's Old Guard

HE flew into Scotland by private jet from New York, dripping in diamonds and designer bling and caused a conference of stuffy whisky buffs to choke on their drams.

Then Indian billionaire Dr Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant new owner of Whyte & Mackay whisky, triumphantly got back on his Airbus 319 and flew to Bombay to catch a cricket match.

"When you've spent $111million on the team you want to see their opening game," the 52-year-old told the Sunday Mail, as if he was off to get a minibus to the local sports ground.

"I would fly myself back - I often fly my own plane - but it's nine-and-a-half hours and I'd rather sleep."

He means on his kingsize bed with the full-width seatbelt that goes right across his sleeping body so the stewardesses do not ever have to wake him up.

Dr Mallya to his staff - and VJ to only his closest pals - has rattled more than a few ice cubes in the tartan-and-slippers world of Scotch whisky since his controversial £595million takeover of one of our most historic brands last May.

And when he paid a whistle-stop visit to Glasgow last week, the man who calls himself the Indian Richard Branson proved he has no intention of being a low-profile boss after a year in charge.

He has diamond studs the size of £1 coins in his ears, jewel-encrusted gold rings, a dazzling watch on one wrist and a bracelet carrying the inch-high diamond monogram, VJM, on the other. Even the legs of his specs have diamonds.

Mallya's enormous business empire has made him one of the richest men in the world - with a fortune estimated at £6billion - and he sees no need to be modest about it.

Sipping on a rare 40-year-old Whyte & Mackay blend, at £499 a bottle, he said: "They've called me the 'King of Good Times' for years.

"First I was known as a playboy. Then, as the business became more and more successful they thought they had better give me some credit, so spoke of what they consider to be my flamboyance.

"I can't help it if someone thinks that's a big deal but I just live the way I live and do the things I like to do. I don't buy things or wear particular things to impress people. I'm just being myself.

"I work hard and I play hard - that's my mantra. I spend my own money and if others are jealous and want to comment on it, too bad."

Playing hard means enjoying his racehorses, super-yachts, any one of 26 homes, planes, a helicopter and a breathtaking art collection including works by Picasso, Renoir and Turner.

He owns two football clubs in India, a cricket club and has just bought a racing team, Force India Formula One.

He said: "My mother told me that the first word I ever uttered was car, not mum or dad. Racing is a passion."

And then there's his Scottish castle, Keillour Castle in Perthshire.

He said: "I bought the castle 20 years ago. I have a wonderful time there and I still go up as often as I can.

"I bought in the east of Scotland because I was told that for every mile west you go, you get an inch more rain.

"My Indian friends love going to the whisky trail when they visit and my home is equidistant from Gleneagles and St Andrews so the golf is good."

And all the while his business interests keep making money. His Indiabased UB Group includes best-selling Indian brand Kingfisher beer and United Spirits, the third largest spirits business in the world.

His Kingfisher Airlines, launched just three years ago, now boasts 82 jets and is the Indian market leader.

In typical Mallya style, he handpicks every air hostess he hires.

He said: "Glamour is my middle name, according to the media. But glamour is part and parcel of showbiz, which is necessary when you build brands as part of a lifestyle."

So he travels the world, seamlessly mixing business with pleasure. His wife Rekha is in San Francisco with their daughters Leana, 14, and Tanya, 12.

At first he traditionalists at the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) were not chuffed by Mallya's invasion.

But his control of the massive whisky market in India - where Scotch sales increased by 37 per cent last year - has forced his critics to listen.

He said: "I told the World Whiskies Conference that we need to concentrate on making whisky far more trendy and appealing to the younger generation.

"Scotch is regarded as a middle-aged drink. We need to give it more universal appeal. That's what we're doing with our brands, making them more contemporary and putting fun into it.

"The SWA were not very friendly towards me initially but I think they are realising it's better to do business with me than to be antagonistic towards me.

"Scottish people in general have been very friendly.

"I see no problem with an Indian owning a Scotch company. It's been well received in India. People are proud."

Mallya grew up in Bangalore in south India and was groomed from childhood to take over the family drinks empire.

But he had earned a reputation as a playboy by the time his father Vittal died suddenly of a heart attack in 1983, leaving him to take control aged just 26.

He said: "I was sick of everyone calling me a rich kid who would blow his dad's money. I bought a paint company in England and made Û70million when I sold it eight years later.

"I told my mum, 'I'm going to buy a yacht, I'm going to buy a plane, I'm going to buy some cars and don't you ever say that I blew my father's money because I made it myself.'"

The company his dad left shifted 2.8 million cases of spirits every year.

Last year, UB Spirits division sold 75 million cases. Mallya's son Sidhartha, 21, will have big shoes to fill.

At his top-floor office in Whyte & Mackay's Glasgow HQ, Mallya calls for another dram before agreeing to finally see the business associate who has been waiting six hours for a meeting.

"My favourite whisky depends on my mood," he said, taking a drink from a 1973 Dalmore, at £399 a bottle.

"But my father used to drink a malt called Isle of Jura. I remember hearing the name 40 years ago. It was his favourite whisky and now it's part of the Whyte & Mackay business. We've come full circle. I hope he would be proud."

Rise and rise of drinks billionaire

Vijay Mallya was born in 1955 in Bangalore and educated at Calcutta University.

He took control of his father's company, United Breweries Group, in 1983.

Forbes list of world billionaires ranks him as the 962nd richest person in the world.

He throws extravagant parties on his Indian Empress yacht, formerly owned by Liz Taylor.

He has set up a hospital, school and research centre in his home town of Bangalore.

The first Indian to own a Formula One team, he will launch the Indian Grand Prix in 2010.

'The Scotch Whisky Association were not very friendly initially..but they are realising it's better to do business with me than to be antagonistic towards me'

Article Courtesy of Sunday Mail

 

Sunday Mail

Apr 16
2008

Scotch Whisky 'unaffected' by global credit crunch

Scotch Whisky Association set to reveal “impressive export growth for Scotch Whisky in the coming months, Paul Walsh said.

In his first major speech as the chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association, Diageo chief Paul Walsh told delegates at the World Whiskies Conference: “At the moment we are not seeing any major reaction in our markets to developments in the banking sector.

“When industry figures for 2007 are announced, I would expect them to reveal continued impressive export growth for Scotch Whisky, despite the well documented credit crunch of the second half of the year and the early part of 2008.”

He warned the whisky industry, however, not to get complacent as consumers may have had a “delayed reaction” reacting to events. "We cannot rule that out," he said.

“My own feeling is that the significant markets in which we operate are no longer as tightly wired to events in the United States as once they were.

“I've also said before that premium spirit drinks are an 'affordable luxury' for consumers and the trends at present appear to bear this out.

“It also perhaps demonstrates that the international spread of Scotch whisky with exports in nearly two hundred markets also helps to mitigate against individual market or regional fluctuations.”

Walsh said the SWA estimates that over £400million capital investment was announced in 2007 on new distilling, bottling and warehousing capacity which is scheduled to come on-stream over the next three years

Scotch exports rose 4 to nearly £2.5billion in 2007, despite ongoing disputes over import tariffs in several emerging markets.

However, the industry continues to face some 450 barriers to trade in its markets around the world including from undue restrictions on marketing and promotions.

Walsh said the SWA is currently seeking to secure better legal protection for Scotch whisky in China, Russia and other emerging markets.

It is also hopeful of securing a positive outcome at the World Trade Organisation Doha trade talks.

He also warned India that it would return to the WTO to secure fair market share access in line with international trade rules if it failed to provide a level playing field at state level.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

Apr 16
2008

SWA head Paul Walsh urges Scotch whisky industry to go 'green'

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) is urging the industry to embrace social responsibility and not to “tick boxes”

Speaking at the World Whiskies Conference in Glasgow this week, Paul Walsh, chair of the SWA, said: "Investors are looking for companies to be successful and profitable but to do so in a sustainable way."

They want companies to "drive long-term value for them and mitigate risk,” he said.

“In my view an astute modern business should not treat responsible behaviour as a tick-box process or a marketing exercise. Rather it is a driver of long-term growth – an essential component for a company's all round success.

“It makes strong business sense by driving efficiencies and of course it allows us to engage with consumers who increasingly and rightly scrutinise a company's green credentials,” he said.

Walsh said the impact of the a world of “finite” resources was already pushing companies to go green.

“Cereal costs have doubled, energy and other input costs are increasing and we face cost pressures in relation to glass, casks and packaging. Copper prices have spiralled due to increased demand from China,” he said.

The SWA is due to release its environmental and sustainable review of the industry with certain targets it wants its members to meet, in a “few months” time.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

Apr 15
2008

Walsh to make inaugural whisky speech

Paul Walsh, chief executive officer of Diageo, will make his first ever speech as chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) later today (April 15).

Talking at this week's World Whiskies Conference, which is being held in Glasgow, his speech will focus on fair access to export markets, CSR and promoting sustainability in the industry.

He will announce: “There is tremendous optimism across the industry at present, with a range of trends pointing towards future sustainable growth and a renaissance for Scotch Whisky internationally.

“The exciting opportunity for the industry is that growth is being seen in markets all across the world, from Russia to Vietnam, China to South Africa.”

Walsh will also voice his support for the controversial government proposals for Scotch Whisky regulation and labeling, which he believes “will grow consumer understanding of the products worldwide”.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

Apr 11
2008

Whisky industry split over 'blended malts'

The whisky industry has been split by a row over a new classification that critics claim will "dumb down" the product and threaten the future of Scotland's most famous export.

One distiller said yesterday that the move could lead to distillery closures and undermine the credibility of the country's renowned single malts.

The row has been caused by the Scotch Whisky Association's plans to introduce a "blended malt" category to describe Scotch made of malts from different distilleries.

This would replace the traditional term vatted malt, and, according to critics, will confuse consumers by combining the description of the two main types of Scotch - blended whisky and single malt whisky.

Around 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing the move, and some in the industry warn of a scenario where whisky follows the route of sherry and cognac, becoming homogenised and dominated by a few brands.

However, the SWA insisted the move was supported by the majority of the industry and that research proved the change would not confuse consumers.

According to Mark Reynier, of Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, the new category is designed to support the interests of the drinks giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard, which dominate the industry.

Blends, made from malt and grain whisky, are characterised by large volumes with poor profit margins, while single malts, associated with one distillery, are highly profitable but the stock is limited.

Mr Reynier fears that the big firms will exploit the new category because they can produce it in bigger volumes at the potential expense of single malts.

He added that consumers could be confused by labelling into thinking they were getting a single malt from a specific distillery and find it was "just an inferior malt whisky cocktail".

Jim Murray, author of Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, said the SWA was in danger of making the biggest mistake seen in the industry for 100 years. Speaking from America yesterday, he said the new category was causing confusion around the world.

He added: "We are now in a situation where we are using the word 'blend' with 'malt'. A group of faceless office bods have declared that a blend can be 100 per cent malt whisky and people around the world haven't got a bloody clue. It is boom time for the industry but this is totally confusing and it has to be stopped."

John Glaser, of the specialist Scotch whisky maker Compass Box, said the move was bad for business and has drawn up a petition to present to the Government. The proposal from the SWA is part of a raft of regulations - including popular moves to protect whisky regions and target couterfeiters - that have been passed to Defra.

They are expected to become law this summer in a move that will enshrine the definitions of Scotch.

The choice of a definitive term follows a row five years ago after Diageo produced a blended version of its Cardhu single malt, with a similar label, and called it pure malt.

This was an attempt to cope with increased demand, but it caused uproar and was opposed by the William Grant group before the changes were withdrawn.

Mr Reynier said: "Having failed to bulldoze it through, Diageo said they would be back and now the SWA, dominated by Diageo and Pernod Ricard, are changing the laws to allow the same thing to occur legally. This suits their own commercial needs at the expense of Scotland's heritage. It will have far-reaching implications for Scotch whisky, its credibility and the future shape of the industry and survival of distilleries."

But the dire predictions were dismissed as "nonsense" by the SWA, which said the vast majority of the industry favoured the move and only a "vocal" small minority was against it.

David Williamson, for the association, said the blended malt term was chosen after lengthy discussion and was the only description that accurately described the product.

He also dismissed claims that a blended malt would be allowed to carry a distillery name or to look like an existing single malt.

He added: "Consumers understand that 'blending' means mixing and blending is generally understood as meaning more than one.

"A number of companies have, of course, already changed their labels to use the description Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and, encouragingly, there is no evidence to indicate any consumer confusion or resistance to the description.

"Any legislation introduced in the UK must of course also comply with EU law and under European legislation any combination of malt whiskies is defined as a blend.

"At the same time, the term vatted malt has almost solely been used within the trade and it is significant that hardly any labels at all have ever featured that description.

"Again, it was agreed the term would not be understood by the vast majority of consumers worldwide."

Article Courtesy of The Telegraph

 

The Telegraph

Apr 08
2008

Scotch whisky enjoys renaissance

The noise is deafening at Diageo PLC's Abercrombie coppersmiths as skilled workers hammer away, molding 14 large bell-shaped stills destined for Scotland's first new whisky distillery in more than three decades.

A few miles down the road at Carsebridge, coopers are teaching the backbreaking traditional art of making oak casks to the first batch of apprentices in years as the company ramps up production to meet increasing demand from emerging markets such as China and India.

Clever marketing by Scotch distillers has encouraged a growing middle class in both those countries to use the prestige and heritage of the drink to reflect their newly affluent status. There is also a renewed appetite for the higher quality single-malt whisky from mature markets such as the United States.

Overseas sales of Scotch whisky rose 4 percent to an all-time high of 2.5 billion pounds in 2006, the latest available figures - equal to a whopping 25 percent of Britain's entire food and drink exports.

Industry experts say that strong growth continued through 2007 and into 2008, reversing a downturn in the drink's popularity at the end of the last century when its reputation as a tipple for the older gent saw it lose ground to white spirits like vodka and gin.

"Suddenly whisky is cool again," said Charles Allen, global brand director for Scotch whisky at Diageo, the maker of the world's two top brands by sales, Johnnie Walker and J&B.

Diageo is so sure that demand will continue to grow that it has unveiled plans to build a 40-million-pound distillery at Roseisle in northeast Scotland, part of a 100-million-pound expansion program that will see roughly 80 million pounds spent on expanding capacity in distilling, with the remainder dedicated to packaging and warehousing.

The whisky stills - 4.5-meter-high kettles that separate the alcohol from the fermenting mix of water and malted barley - being put together at Abercrombie will be moved into place later this year and the first production from Roseisle is slated for early next year.

A total of 500 million pounds of capital expenditure has been invested across the industry for 2008-09, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

That funding is spread across Scotland, which has more than 60 old stone distilleries, such as Diageo's 200-year-old Blair Athol stillhouse in the town of Pitlochry, dotted across its Highlands and rolling southern hills.

As domestic sales of Scotch whisky stagnate, 90 percent is now exported with state-of-the-art bottling plants feeding the product directly overseas from the eastern Scotland port of Grangemouth.

Emerging markets

While there is continued growth in traditional markets such as the US and Europe, emerging markets such as China and India are generating the most buzz, said David Williamson, the spokesman for the association.

"It is certainly advantageous that in two of the world's largest and fastest growing economies, whisky consumption is either a well-established tradition - India _ or a marker of sophistication - China," said Jason Holway, an independent analyst at Zenith International.

"An aspiration to 'trading up' and drinking scotch whisky in each culture should bode well for the future of the industry," he added.

Scotch Whisky sales in China have jumped from just 1 million pounds in 2001 to US$1.1 billion in 2006, aided by the east Asian country's decision to cut its spirits tariff to just 10 percent from 65 percent after it joined the World Trade Organization in late 2001.

Exports to India, where tariffs remain relatively high at 150 percent but well below their previous levels of up to 550 percent, were valued at 24 million pounds in 2006, the most recent figures available.

Diageo's Johnnie Walker, the longtime market leader in the US and the world's No 1 brand by sales, is the clear winner so far thanks to the company's strong marketing push in China to sell the tipple as the world's No 1 party drink.

Sales of Johnnie Walker grew by 14 percent to more than 15 million cases last year, worth a total of US$1 billion.

Edrington Group Ltd., the maker of Famous Grouse and Macallan, is putting its faith in the growing popularity of single malt whiskies, investing millions of pounds to restart production at a dormant stillhouse that will increase output of Macallan single malt by more than 30 percent to more than 8 million liters per year.

"We are seeing some fantastic growth in Regal 25, a luxury blend that sells for around US$300 a bottle, while Diageo introduced its Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V, which sells for US$500.

To classify for the prestigious label of Scotch, whisky must made at a distillery in Scotland and matured in an oak cask for at least three years.

That means an expensive and long startup process for new entrants like the tiny Kilchoman Distillery on Islay, an island off the west coast of the Scottish mainland.

Managing director Anthony Wills says the distillery's single malt, due for first release in June 2009, will be launched as a niche product aimed at the mature US, Japanese and European markets.

"The idea is to release small amounts on the market to create a limited edition product," he said.

Article Courtesy of People's Daily

 

People's Daily

Apr 07
2008

Court victory for Scottish whisky

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has welcomed a Canadian Federal Court decision to refuse to register the 'Glen Breton' trademark, for a single malt whiskey produced in Canada.

The SWA had objected to the trademark arguing that use of the word 'Glen', which is widely used on Scotch Whisky, for whiskey produced in Canada, was confusing and misleading to consumers.

Evidence filed by the SWA included over thirty instances of 'Glen Breton' being mis-described in Canada as 'Scotch Whisky', with examples of confusion found in retail outlets, newspaper articles, pricelists, menus and websites.

The Canadian Federal Court found that “the trade is confused” by the trademark, that ' Glen Breton' was often listed in price lists and menus as “ single malt scotch” and that “the ultimate consumer who thought he or she was ordering a new Scottish single malt would never know that
something else was served”.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

Apr 03
2008

Glenfiddich awards CRM to Kitcatt Nohremail

Glenfiddich, the William Grant & Sons-owned whisky brand, has handed its £2m direct marketing account to Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw.

The appointment was made following a pitch which saw Partners Andrews Aldridge and Wunderman knocked out, leaving Kitcatt Nohr and WWAV Edinburgh in a final shoot-out. The pitch was handled by Glenfiddich’s in-house team.

The agency’s first task will be to develop a global customer relationship management (CRM) programme. The project will involve integrated media, with a heavy emphasis on digital elements.

In January 2007, Glenfiddich appointed Claydon Heeley to create a global customer relationship management programme. It is understood that Claydon Heeley was not invited to pitch for the new account.

Glenfiddich has also worked with Presky Maves.

Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw’s customer relationship management campaign will focus on encouraging customers to try the whisky, and engendering loyalty.

Glenfiddich has historically used its marketing to overturn the negative reputation many customers have of the brand, that it is a ‘starter whisky’.

Article Courtesy of Precision Marketing

 

Precision Marketing

Apr 03
2008

Poor end to year for Scotland’s drink industry

Finance secretary says global economic downturn may lie behind export dip

Scottish export sales fell towards the end of last year, according to official figures released yesterday.

Finance secretary John Swinney said the global economic downturn may lie behind the decrease.

He also took another swipe at Treasury plans for a whisky tax increase, with the drink industry a major casualty in the final quarter of 2007, according to the manufactured export sales estimates.

Despite a 2% drop in real terms in Scotland over these three months, there was an overall rise of 3% in 2007.

The drink sector saw a plunge of 8.1% over the three months. There were also falls in electrical and instrument engineering (2.2%), mechanical engineering (8.7%), contributing to an overall drop of 3.6% in engineering exports.

Over the year, engineering and drink were the main industries contributing to the annual growth in manufactured export sales with annual growth of 3.5% and 4.5% respectively. Chemicals and refined petroleum also grew, by 12.4%, over the last quarter of 2007 and growth was also seen in other manufacturing (6.8%), food and tobacco (3.2%) and wood, paper, publishing and printing (2.1%).

Mr Swinney said: “Although short-term trends like this are always likely to be volatile, the decrease in exports may point to the downturn in global economic conditions which began to take effect in the latter half of 2007.”

He said the cut in business rates and streamlined enterprise networks would mean more support for businesses, but added: “A dip in drink-industry exports – which returned to levels closer to trend after recent fluctuations – is one reason why the figures are down for the final quarter of 2007.

“That makes the chancellor’s decision to impose punitive tax rises on the whisky industry in particular even more frustrating. It gives licence to international competitors to raise tariffs on Scotch whisky at a time when crucial industries such as this need our support.”

CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan said: “The dip in fortunes in the final quarter highlights the fragility of the recovery in Scotland's export performance.”

A Scotland Office spokesman said Westminster would continue to support exporters, added that 90% of whisky was sold abroad. He said: “Not only will an increase in internal UK duty have no effect on these sales, but the government has recognised the importance of protecting this export success and is already working to legislate to protect those overseas markets.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Apr 02
2008

Firm hopes to toast ‘full-time profits’ at revamped distillery

The company responsible for rejuvenating the Tullibardine whisky distillery more than halved its losses in 2007 - leading to Doug Ross, a co-founder and director at the fledgling Perthshire business, saying it will push into "full-time" profit from next month.

"This has all been driven by the increased levels of demand for whisky in world markets, and we're catching the wave," Ross told The Herald yesterday.

"Since September, the distillery has increased production from two million litres a year to 2.7 million litres a year and has subsequently been distilling 24/7."

Tullibardine, based in the Perthshire village of Blackford, said it had recorded a loss of £318,000 for the year to the end of May, compared with £660,000 the year before.

Ross said: "We're working through a classic business start-up model - three years of losses and then trade profitably in the fourth year."

He added that sales of Tullibardine malt whisky, now available in 30 global markets, were particularly strong in Europe and Taiwan, and that US sales were also growing.

The company also recently launched its John Black range of blended malts in several export markets, and it plans a launch in UK later this year.

Tullibardine had been mothballed for a decade until it was rescued by a four-man consortium of entrepreneurs, including Ross, in 2003.

Founders Ross and Michael Beamish came up with the plan to buy the distillery in 1999 after meeting on a golf course, and later brought in Glasgow accountants Alastair Russell and Alan Williamson for their business acumen.

Backed by Barclays Bank, the quartet acquired Tullibardine for an undisclosed sum from Jim Beam Brands, now Whyte & Mackay, which had decommissioned the place in 1993 because of overcapacity.

Their plans for Tullibardine included a £10m combined whisky-retail tourism complex on the grounds of the old distillery, just off the A9.

The site, which boasts a flagship outlet of Baxters foods, was later offloaded to property developer Kenmore.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald
March 2008 Scotch Whisky News

Mar 30
2008

Pernod Ricard Buys Maker of Absolut

French liquor group Pernod Ricard SA is buying Vin & Sprit, the maker of Absolut vodka, for 55 billion kronor ($9.24 billion), the Swedish government said Monday.

The deal ends months of speculation over who would take over the state-owned liquor group, which is being sold by the government as part of a privatization effort.

"With the acquisition of V&S, Pernod Ricard becomes the world's co-leader in the wine and spirit industry," the French company said in a statement.

"Absolut, the world's premiere brand of premium vodka with some 11 million 9-liter boxes in 2007 is an iconic brand whose importance goes beyond the world of wines and spirits," the statement said.

The Swedish government said the French company, behind brands such as Chivas whisky and Mumm champagne, intends to keep Vin & Sprit based in Sweden.

It said the deal includes the whole company, except for Vin & Sprit's 10 percent share in U.S. spirits company Beam Global Spirits & Wine, which would be sold under a previous agreement with Beam shareholders.

"Pernod Ricard submitted an offer that on an overall assessment is the most attractive," the government said in a statement. "Pernod Ricard will be an excellent home for V&S. The board of V&S has expressed that they see significant industrial logic in the transaction."

The deal is to be completed during the summer.

Vin & Sprit was put up for sale last year as part of Sweden's broader plan to sell state assets to pay off the country's debt.

With its range of flavors from peach to blackcurrant, Absolut is the premium brand in Vin & Sprit's product range, which also includes Cruzan rum, Plymouth gin, a handful of Scandinavian aquavits and bitters and hundreds of wines.

Absolut is believed to represent roughly half of the company's sales of 10.35 billion kronor ($1.48 billion) in 2006.

As a result of the deal, Pernod Ricard said it would end its distribution agreement with another vodka brand, Stolichnaya.

Article Courtesy of The Associated Press

 

The Associated Press

Mar 27
2008

Tips for tipping a glass to WhiskyFest

Every spring when Malt Advocate Magazine hosts WhiskyFest Chicago, distillery managers and reps, connoisseurs and collectors from across the country and around the world travel here.

For this, the eighth such WhiskyFest, they'll gather April 4 at Hyatt Regency Chicago.

(For more information about WhiskyFest, tickets or a listing of speakers, etc., go to www.maltadvocate.com).

Can't make the April 4 event? No problem. There are enough whisky-related events around town to keep you busy, from a Kilted Pub Crawl sponsored by the Illinois St. Andrew Society to a couple Whiskies of the World seminars (at Delilah's and Binny's Beverage Depot) and a Whisky 101 at Sam's Wines & Spirits.

Each event offers opportunities to rub elbows with industry representatives, taste products, or introduce friends to whisky. In fact, Binny's South Loop Whiskies of the World event expects many of the exhibitors from WhiskyFest to be on hand and it will give attendees a chance to taste a wide array of whiskies for a modest fee.

"You have all the rock stars [of the whisky world] in a casual, conversational atmosphere." says Brett Pontoni of Binny's.

When trying to decide which events to attend, consider:

• Do I want to sample different types of whisky, or focus primarily on Scotch, bourbon or Irish whiskies?

• Am I expecting a full pairing meal, an event with substantial food, or a quick tasting with light food?

• How much time and money am I willing to commit to my whisky education?

• And, remember to plan which whiskies to taste in order of lightest to heaviest/peatiest so as not burn out your palate.

Article Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

 

Chicago Tribune

Mar 22
2008

Spirited demand for malt grain

Booming whisky sales mean distillers are desperate to source stocks

A huge increase in the demand for grain by maltsters and distillers is being predicted.

Ian Keith, of merchants Frontier and chairman of the Agricultural Industries Confederation grain committee in Scotland, believes wheat purchases could increase by as much as 30% from the current 600,000 tonnes within three years.

He also forecasts malting barley consumption growing from 675,000 tonnes annually to as much as 750,000 tonnes.

The huge increases are the result of the boom in Scotch whisky sales and the worldwide growth in demand for white spirits such as gin and vodka.

Mr Keith said: “Distillers are all desperate to lay down stocks. Distilleries are going flat out."

While Scottish farmers should be able to supply the trade's requirements, Mr Keith said the lack of malting capacity may mean increased quantities of malted product being shipped into Scotland in the short term.

This follows the closure over the last seven years of maltings at Carnoustie, Kirkcaldy and Kirkliston because of the unprofitable nature of the business ahead of what has been an unexpected global demand surge that has seen profitability return.

The improved margins have already prompted investments in extra malt capacity at Buckie and Berwick. Diageo is also adding drier capacity at Roseisle, near Forres, to improve that facility's output.

Upwards of 100,000 tonnes of malting barley and malt has already been shipped into Scotland from Denmark. The downturn in demand for malt for beer production has also prompted English maltsters to switch supplies to the distillers.

They, however, appear to be purchasing Scottish grain as return loads to malt deliveries into Scotland.

The expectation for this year's harvest is for 16million tonnes, the highest since 2002 and the result of considerably more acres than normal being brought into grain production in the wake of prices more than doubling. The spring barley area in Scotland is expected to record a minimum 10% increase.

Mr Keith said Britain would be more than able to utilise the crop if it is realised as a new starch-making plant in Manchester required 15,000 tonnes of wheat a week. Planned biofuel developments at Hull and Teesside also needed supplies.

But there was a warning from Mr Keith that the availability of distillers’ dark grains, traditionally used in animal feeds, may become limited as a consortium of distillers are planning a new £24million heat and power plant at Rothes which will remove 650 tonnes of product a week from the market.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 21
2008

Scots spirit brands going from strength to strength

Drink giant Diageo sees no sign of a slowdown in worldwide demand for whisky

SOME of Scotland’s best known whisky brands are in a period of strong and sustained growth, according to bosses at alcoholic drink company Diageo.

Charles Allen, the group’s whisky portfolio global brand director, said there was no sign of any slowdown of soaring worldwide demand for Scotland’s national drink.

Flagship brands such as Johnnie Walker and J&B are leading the march for Diageo, he added.

Strong brand identities, clever marketing and the reputation of the products themselves are creating millions of new whisky drinkers around the world.

Johnnie Walker, a long-time market leader in the US, is winning over multitudes of new fans globally. Sales of the brand grew by 14% to more than 15million cases last year, worth a total £1billion, reinforcing its position as the world’s top selling Scotch.

Meanwhile, hip young Chinese are driving forward sales of J&B amid a strong marketing push to sell the brand as the world’s number one party drink. Spey Royal is leading Diageo’s expansion in Thailand, while a growing number of Latin American drinkers are acquiring a taste for Buchanan’s.

Rival drink group Pernod Ricard is seeing the same pattern of demand for its flagship brands, including Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s.

Mr Allen said Diageo had even seen a return to sales growth in Europe after a spell of decline, although he added that the UK was still a challenging market.

He said: “Suddenly whisky is cool again,” he said, adding he was still bullish about prospects in the UK despite it being a mature market.

Diageo is one of a number of whisky makers expanding their operations to meet global demand.

Bryan Donaghey, managing director for Diageo in Scotland, said the company was on course for first production from its £40million new distillery at Roseisle, near Elgin, early next year.

Roseisle is the first major new-build distillery north of the border in more than three decades.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 19
2008

Whisky industry says Darling sending out wrong tax message

SWA says it is time for the UK duty system to be overhauled

The whisky industry said yesterday that tax increases announced in last week’s Budget were already making the battle against foreign tax discrimination much harder.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said feedback from its member companies and overseas markets since last Wednesday had been one of concern that last week’s tax increases may undermine local efforts to secure fairer access to international markets.

Chancellor Alistair Darling upset the industry with the news that tax on Scotland’s national drink was going up by 59p per bottle, with more above-inflation increases to follow in subsequent years.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said yesterday the tax on whisky in the UK was now heading towards being the second highest in the European Union, behind Sweden, and one of the highest in the world.

He said: “The Budget decision will result in a 30%-plus tax rise by 2013. Not only does it abandon what had been important moves towards a fairer UK alcohol tax regime, but it entrenches and worsens existing discrimination against Scotch for the foreseeable future.”

The chief executive said whisky represented 12% of total Scottish exports (excluding oil and gas) and two-thirds of food and drink exports.

Whisky exports contribute £78 a second to the balance of trade and support more than 40,000 jobs across many Scottish communities.

Mr Hewitt said whisky was one of the few Scottish exports well placed to benefit from a rapidly globalising world; a product that cannot be outsourced, which must be made in Scotland, and which is considered a premium item by aspiring Indian, Chinese and Russian consumers.

He added: “We should be nurturing and promoting the competitiveness of such a successful industry. The UK tax environment is important to that process.”

The chief executive said the SWA regularly worked with the UK Government to tackle trade barriers that hold exports back. He said: “Last year’s duty reform in India was only possible through the close working of industry and government. New legislation this year will also help to protect Scotch whisky from unfair practices overseas. Such support is vital.”

Mr Hewitt said the Budget announcement had sent out a potentially damaging signal to export markets that large tax increases on whisky were justifiable and that discrimination was acceptable.

He added: “ If it is okay for the home government to do it, the argument goes, why shouldn’t we, especially if it helps to unfairly protect domestic producers from competition.

“And this is not just a hypothetical risk. It is something we regularly encounter.

“The SWA is currently tackling tax discrimination in some 40 countries, from Colombia to the Philippines.

“That work got much harder last Wednesday. The calls we have received from foreign journalists over the last seven days underscores how closely the UK Budget was being watched. Tax discrimination at home sends out the wrong message internationally. It is time for the UK duty system to be overhauled: all drinks should be taxed on the same basis according to alcohol content.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 18
2008

Distilleries get together on £24m heat and power plant

Ambitious project would produce electricity from whisky by-products

Ambitious plans for a £24million biomass heat and power plant at Rothes in Moray have been unveiled by a consortium of whisky companies.

The Combination of Rothes Distillers (Cord) and Helius Energy plc are behind the proposal, which would see distillery co-products used to produce power.

If planning permission is granted, the plant would be the first in the world to use draff and pot ale as biomass fuel instead of wood.

Draff is the remnants of grain after fermentation, while pot ale is a high-protein residue from a still.

Burning these, the plant would be capable of generating 7.2 megawatts of electricity, most of it exported to the national grid.

Estimates suggest that using the distillery co-products would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 46,642 tonnes compared to a coal-fired station.

A community heating scheme is being explored to encourage local take-up of the power.

The conversion of pot ale into an organic fertiliser for use by local farmers on crops such as barley would also be carried out.

The plant would be built within the existing Cord dark-grains processing facility at Rothes, which currently converts distillery co-products into animal feed.

If approved, the new operation would take over from the animal feed production and staffing levels are envisaged to remain the same.

Construction of the new plant would take between 18 and 24 months.

Cord’s general manager, Frank Burns, said all the stakeholders backed the “exciting vision”.

He said: “It has major benefits for the malt distilling industry on Speyside, will improve the long-term sustainability of Cord and help to meet local and national targets for renewable energy.

“It will also assist the Scotch whisky industry to sustain its future growth plans. From the work we have carried out, the concept appears very positive from an environmental, technical, and commercial perspective.”

A detailed feasibility study has been completed and Cord and Helius Energy have already conducted trials at the Rothes site that confirmed the use of draff as a long-term reliable fuel.

Mr Burns said planning proposals had been accompanied by a range of independent studies probing the potential effects of the project in the local area.

He said the scope of the studies had been agreed with planners, and demonstrated that the project would not have a significant adverse impact on the locality.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said it was a project that could “catapult Moray to the forefront of renewable technology”.

“There is also a clear knock-on effect from investment like this supporting other local industries and jobs,” he said.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 17
2008

Salmond to take centre stage as whisky is hailed

More than 300 expected at festival

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond is to deliver the keynote speech at the launch night of this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

More than 300 guests will attend the event, to be held at the Glen Grant Distillery at Rothes on May 1.

Festival organisers have described the announcement as a “great boost” for this year’s event.

Event co-ordinator Ros Lewis said: “We are delighted and it’s a great boost to the festival. The dinner had actually sold out before the announcement was even made. We sold over 300 tickets, and I think that shows everybody is getting behind the festival.

“I think there are three things that the festival and the dinner combines, whisky, tourism and food.

“The dishes from our winning chef from the chef competition will be served at the dinner, which had to include some local produce from the Speyside area.

“All of these are things that the first minister is interested in for Scotland as a whole, and they all come together nicely at the dinner.”

Organisers also confirmed that chief executive of VisitScotland, Philip Riddle, would attend the dinner.

Mr Salmond will also announce the winners of the annual 2008 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards, which will be judged by members of the public.

Last year, the five-day festival attracted about 16,000 people into Speyside and Moray, generating almost £600,000 for the local economy.

Information on all festival events and activities can be found at www.spiritofspeyside.com

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 14
2008

Treasury denies figures show whisky tax sham

Economists say ‘excise rise likely to reduce consumer demand’

The Treasury last night flatly denied claims that figures from Chancellor Alistair Darling’s own department proved his tax increase on whisky was a sham.

Officials rejected the idea that their forecasts in Budget documents showed the 55p increase in the duty on a bottle of spirits – adding 59p to the price of whisky – would not net an extra penny in revenue.

A spokesman said tables showing receipts remaining at £2.3billion had been rounded down, masking their “cautious” internal forecast that the rise would net up to £100million a year.

Treasury sources were shocked at the ferocity of the industry’s reaction after consultations suggested that it accepted it had benefited from a 10-year tax freeze.

They said revenue would rise £400million this year and £500million next year, and spirits alone would provide 20% of the cash Mr Darling needed to take 250,000 children out of poverty.

Aberdeen South Labour MP Anne Begg said alcohol was cheaper than ever and had become a worse social scourge than illegal drugs.

Aberdeen North Labour MP Frank Doran said: “Customers will have to pay 59p more for a bottle of Scotch, but the point is not just the revenue. In my view it was necessary for health reasons.”

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt said economists said an excise rise was likely to reduce demand and tax receipts.

“We believe a 9% tax rise in 2008, plus large tax rises every year to 2013, will have just such an effect.”

Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson said: “Alistair Darling’s raid on Scotch whisky represents the biggest tax hike for a generation.”

Gordon Liberal Democrat MP Malcolm Bruce pointed to the jobs that would be created by new distilleries planned for Huntly and Buckie and said the risk of damaging the market was “obviously unwelcome”.

Tory Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor said it meant the tax burden on whisky would be 75% of the price.

A business leader warned yesterday that the extra 4p on a pint of beer will hit local pubs rather than tackle the UK’s binge-drinking crisis.

John Wright, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said more needed to be done to stop shops and pubs going out of business.

And First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday told MSPs that Wednesday’s Budget would damage Scotland’s economy.

He hit out at proposed increases in fuel and whisky duty, taking a swipe at Labour leader Wendy Alexander over the latter measure.

“The UK Budget not only failed to mention Scotland once but managed to damage our economic interests,” he said during first minister’s questions yesterday.

“Oil revenues are propping up the UK finances to the tune of £56,000million expected over the next six years,” he added.

Orkney Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur called on Mr Salmond to consider making representations about a lower fuel duty for remote and island areas.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 13
2008

Darling defends whisky duty rise

The chancellor has defended the decision to raise duty on spirits, including whisky, for the first time in more than a decade.
Alistair Darling said the rise would help pay for measures to help children, families on low incomes and pensioners.

Distillers have attacked his "punitive" duty increase, which will add at least 59p to the cost of a bottle of whisky due to its higher alcohol content.

The chancellor has argued that a rise in domestic duty will not harm exports.

The Scottish Whisky Association said the rise, the biggest since 1991, means the UK Government has abandoned moves to a fairer alcohol tax policy.

But speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, the chancellor said very few sectors had enjoyed a 10-year duty freeze.

"I think the Scotch whisky industry is very important to Scotland, " he said.

"What is also important to Scotland is making sure that we get children out of poverty, that we help elderly people."

'Cash cow'

Mr Darling said the rise in duty on all alcohol had allowed him to increase child benefit, help families on lower incomes and increase winter fuel payment for pensioners.

Also speaking on the Good Morning Scotland programme, Finance Secretary John Swinney accused the chancellor of using Scotch whisky as a "cash cow" to raise funds.

Mr Swinney welcomed some of the increases in duty on alcohol which are aimed at tackling binge drinking.

But he said: "It's not whisky that is driving the binge drinking problem in our society, it's cheap cider, it's cheap beer.

"It's not the root of the problem we have and we now have the whisky industry at a real competitive disadvantage."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

Mar 12
2008

'No reason' for whisky duty rise

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said there is "no good reason" for a rise in duty, ahead of Chancellor Alistair Darling's first budget.

The industry is bracing itself for what could be the first rise on duty on spirits in 10 years, with reports it could increase by 30p a bottle.

The SWA said it should remain frozen to help towards a fairer alcohol system.

It is argued whisky continues to face a disadvantage in the UK, with a higher tax than wine and beer.

SWA spokesman David Williamson said: "Duty stability is supporting whisky industry competitiveness."

Mr Williamson said distillers were looking to invest to meet growing international demand, so would be keeping a keen eye on Wednesday's announcement.

He said: "The government has recognised the benefits of a fairer alcohol duty system in recent years and we see no good reason for that policy to change in 2008.

"The international evidence is clear that calls for higher duties to tackle alcohol misuse are simplistic and misplaced.

"We agree with the Treasury's long-held view that duty rises are not the way to tackle complex social issues around irresponsible drinking."

Article Courtesy of BBCi

 

BBCi

Mar 11
2008

Cutty Sark whisky in web advertising hike

Whisky brand Cutty Sark is rolling out a global digital marketing strategy that includes the launch of a branded web portal and online ad campaigns in key international markets.

The brand, which is owned by Berry Bros & Rudd, has briefed Contented to create a global e-marketing platform to help it compete with rivals including Jameson and Johnnie Walker. Cutty Sark wants to give the web a central role in its drive to establish a fresh brand identity. It is trying to move from being viewed as a traditional Scotch whisky brand to a 'nightclub' drink.

The global website, which will launch in May, will act as the hub of an integrated campaign intended to drive consumers online to interact with the brand via a range of lifestyle content that can be shared and personalised. The site will also feature product information and a detailed history of Cutty Sark.

Initially, Berry Brothers & Rudd plans to support the launch with a heavyweight online ad campaign and search-engine marketing activity aimed at affluent men aged between 25 and 55.

Contented is part of Eden State, the group created by the merger of Contented and planning agency Rise Communications. Cutty Sark appointed Rise to work on its communications strategy across international markets in August 2006.

Irish whiskey brand Jameson sponsors the recently revamped community website World's Best Bars. The site was reworked by Beechwood to include more user reviews, a cocktail mixer menu and a mapping facility to help travellers find good bars when abroad.

Article Courtesy of Brand Republic

 

Brand Republic

Mar 10
2008

Grant's whisky puts Teachers in its sights

Spirits company First Drinks Brands has set is itself the ambitious target of making Grant's Family Reserve the number-three blended whisky in the UK by 2012, behind Bell's and The Famous Grouse but ahead of Teacher's Highland Cream.

Around £3.8m is being invested behind the family-owned Grant's Family Reserve in the UK in 2008, including new-look packaging that still retains the brand's familiar triangular-shaped bottle and press and poster advertising using the theme of “Try a different angle”.

Total UK sales of the brand are around 500,000 cases a year.

According to First Drinks Brands, its blended whisky brand enjoyed a bumper Christmas with sales up 20%, while nearest rival Teacher's declined by 8%.

The Checkout Nielsen survey into the biggest alcoholic drinks brands, published last summer, put the take-home value of Teachers at £60m and Grant's Family Reserve, which has been the number-four blend for many years, at £44m.

Chris Mason, managing director at First Drinks Brands, said Grant's was enjoying a “tremendous first quarter” in 2008.

But, he said, the brand would not be on UK TV screens this year.

The new-look packaging is currently moving through the supply chain and it should be on-shelf within a couple of weeks.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

Mar 09
2008

Fears whisky could be hit with first duty rise in a decade

Fears were yesterday growing in the whisky-producing heartland of Scotland that the country’s national drink could be hit with its first duty increase in a decade.

Speyside businesses said they were bracing themselves for Alistair Darling’s Budget announcement on Wednesday amid speculation that he would ignore pleas not to raise the tax on the spirit.

Billy Walker, owner of the BenRiach Distillery near Elgin, said it would be a “monumental error of judgment”.

He said the industry was striving to get other markets to equalise tax and any duty rise would send out the wrong signal.

Michael Urquhart, joint managing director of Elgin-based malt whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail, said other countries take their lead from the UK.

He said: “Foreign countries look at how we tax whisky and the problem is that then they think that they should tax it heavily in their country. That makes it expensive in comparison to other spirits.”

Soaring demand for Scotch whisky around the world has led to mothballed distilleries in the north and north-east restarting production.

Widespread expansion is under way, and drinks giant Diageo is developing Scotland’s first major distillery in more than three decades at Roseisle.

Moray SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said a duty increase could dent growth.

He said: “At a time when the whisky industry is gaining confidence to invest in new distilleries and jobs in Moray, it could potentially pull the rug from beneath the industry’s feet if the UK Government and Gordon Brown were to launch a raid to help plug their financial hole.”

But a spokesman for Scottish Labour said the SNP was in a muddle, after Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, said last month he would like to increase the tax on alcohol in the fight against Scotland’s binge-drinking culture.

Mark Braidwood, who owns the Mash Tun Whisky Bar at Aberlour with his wife Karen, said he feared a rise would have a detrimental effect on trade.

A spokesman for the Scottish Whisky Association said it did not want to speculate on what might be in the chancellor’s statement.

But he said: “If what we are talking about is a duty rise to raise revenue, that would be counter-productive because the duty on Scots whisky, as treasury economists have agreed in the past, is already at, or indeed maybe above, its maximisation point.

“Any increase would actually lead to lower duty revenues for the exchequer.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 07
2008

Arran moves to Malcolm Cowen

Leading brand developer, Malcolm Cowen, has been appointed as UK agent for award-winning Whisky producer, The Isle of Arran Distillery. Previously distributed by Cellar Trends, The Isle of Arran Distillery has appointed Malcolm Cowen to develop sales in key retail and on-trade channels. Malcolm Cowen will be responsible for building the profile of selected lines in the range, including: The Arran Malt 10 Year Old; The Arran Malt Wood Finish Series; The Arran Malt Single Cask Series; Lochranza Blend, Robert Burns Malt and Blend and Arran Gold Malt Whisky Cream Liqueur, with RRPs ranging from £13.99 to £39.99.

The Isle of Arran Distillery is one of the last remaining independent distilleries in Scotland. Based in the village of Lochranza on the Isle of Arran, which lies off the West coast of Scotland, the Distillery was opened in 1995 and remains the only Distillery on the island. Twelve different locations on Arran were tested before it was discovered that the water source at Lochranza was amongst the purest in Scotland. The Distillery only uses traditional methods, with wooden washbacks and bespoke copper stills, and unlike most other whisky companies, neither uses peat nor relies on caramel as a colouring agent. Arran Single Malts are also non-chill filtered to ensure that the natural flavour elements remain in the spirit and the original character is retained to ensure “the true spirit of nature”.

David John, sales director, commented: “we are delighted to be representing the Isle of Arran Distillery portfolio; the individuality and breadth of the range gives us a great opportunity to develop sales within this dynamic sector. The use of traditional methods and a non interventionist approach give these whiskies a really strong selling point for enthusiasts and connoisseurs.”

Article Courtesy of Isle of Arran

 

Isle of Arran

Mar 05
2008

Dram of whisky to be 'water of life' forcontaminated land

It is one of Scotland's biggest exports and its name translates as the "water of life".

Now an Aberdeen innovation, using a by-product of whisky production, will help clean up contaminated industrial land across the UK and probably the world.

The by-product is being used to clean contaminated ground and waste water in a pioneering technique potentially worth millions to be unveiled by Aberdeen University today.

With an estimated 330,000 contaminated sites in the UK, the innovative technology holds huge potential for the clean-up of industrial areas, which costs an estimated £1.2billion every year in this country alone.

The by-product used for the "Dram" - Device for the Remediation and Attenuation of Multiple pollutants - cannot be named for commercially sensitive reasons.

Researchers described it as an entirely natural, sustainable and organic substance that is formed early on in the distillation process.

Dram development trials conducted on the west coast of Scotland have shown a 99% success rate.

Placed in contaminated ground and left to break down polluting substances, it is the first technology able to remove multiple products such as metal contaminants and pesticides from groundwater simultaneously.

The trailblazing Dram is far quicker and more cost-effective than current clean-up techniques.

The university researchers involved - Dr Graeme Paton, Professor Ken Killham and Dr Leigh Cassidy - are considering forming a joint venture to make it commercial.

Supported by more than £300,000 of Scottish Enterprise funding, they have been researching the technology for four years.

Dr Paton, a leading soil toxicologist, said it could have global importance. "The clean-up of contaminated groundwater is an absolutely massive global market. The technology has the potential to put Scotland at the forefront for remediation technologies."

The new technology, using materials donated by Speyside Distillery Glenfiddich, is to be launched by the university at its "Innovate with Aberdeen - Frontiers of Excellence" event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh today.

Further projects to be discussed include remote intelligent sensors which could help the elderly and vulnerable live independently.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 05
2008

Balvenie craftsmen asked to select firm's Vintage cask

More than two centuries of combined experience was put to use when craftsmen at a Speyside distillery were asked to select its vintage cask.

Staff at the Balvenie Distillery, Dufftown, said they were honoured to have jointly chosen this year's limited release vintage malt.

The selection team comprised warehouseman Eric Stephen, cooper Richard Anderson, maltman George Garrick, mashman Bill Duncan, and coppersmith Dennis McBain.

They jointly nosed and tasted a number of samples, which were all drawn from casks which had lain undisturbed for more than 30 years.

After deliberation, the team selected cask numbers 6568 and 6570 for bottling later this year.

They were laid down in 1976, and were singled out for their honey notes and rich, fruity, vanilla sweetness.

The combined yield is expected to be 460 bottles of The Balvenie 1976 vintage, each fetching about £400.

Mr McBain said: "Selecting a vintage cask is an honour, and a great responsibility.

"It's not something that distillery craftsmen usually get to do - put all our combined whisky knowledge to the test in this way."

Balvenie malt master David Stewart said he believed the craftsmen had selected an "exceptional single malt".

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 05
2008

Go-ahead for distillery's expansion

Plans to turn the Whyte and Mackay distillery in Easter Ross into the biggest whisky plant in Scotland moved a step closer yesterday with the granting of outline planning permission for 17 new warehouses on the site.

The additional warehousing at the Invergordon distillery is expected to cost about £15million and will create five to 10 jobs.

And consent for the development was granted despite objections from neighbouring householders that it would result in the loss of trees, including oaks up to 120 years old.

When Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, who is chairman of United Spirits, bought the plant last May for £595million, he said he planned to increase production of whisky there from 40million litres to 80million a year.

The company then submitted a planning application for the additional warehousing at Golf View Terrace.

But Charles Coston, who lives at nearby Inverbreakie farmhouse, said the proposal would result in the loss of an area of trees, which is zoned as amenity woodland on the local plan.

He yesterday told a hearing at the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross planning and review committee meeting at Tain that the trees that would be lost included oak trees up to 120 years old, and that he was keen to see significant replanting to compensate for them.

Mr Coston also requested that the council's forestry officer be involved in any final landscaping plan.

A further objection was received from David Wilson, of Inverbreakie Farm Lodge, who was concerned about the effects of the development on his own business.

However, the application was supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Invergordon Community Council did not object.

Whyte and Mackay production manager Ian Mackie said they needed more storage space because their business had changed from a three to four-year-old blend to a 10 to 12-year-old blend.

He added that trees could not be planted close to the warehouses as they created a fire hazard and could cause security problems because they provided hiding places for intruders.

But he said they were quite happy to compensate by planting trees on other parts of the site.

Martin Rattray, who is one of the local members, said he was pleased that most of the objectors' concerns had been addressed.

He said: "Invergordon Distillery is a key part of the town, and it's nice to see we're getting something to make it more sustainable."

Outline planning permission was granted subject to conditions, including the retention of some of the existing trees and the planting of new trees.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 04
2008

Soaring sales prompts distillery expansion plans

Soaring demand for Scotch whisky around the world has prompted another major distiller to announce expansion plans, this time on Speyside.

Chivas Brothers said last week it was reopening its mothballed Braeval Distillery and extending its Glenlivet production plant.

It is the latest move by a whisky maker to secure extra production capacity as Scotch continues to find new friends around the globe.

Diageo unveiled plans last year to develop Scotland's first major distillery for over three decades in an attempt to capitalise on the growth.

Work started recently on the £40million plant at Roseisle in Moray - part of a total £100million investment in whisky by Diageo.

International drinks giant Bacardi announced in August last year it was pouring over £120million into expanding its Scotch whisky business.

Edrington Group, meanwhile, is bringing a stillhouse at The Macallan distillery on Speyside - mothballed in the early 90s - back into service in a £5million investment.

And a consortium involving a Latvian investor is reportedly poised to buy Edrington's Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, with a view to bringing it back into production.

Blackwood Distillers Holdings is behind long-running plans to build Shetland's first whisky distillery.

Chivas Brothers said it had started discussions over its plans for Glenlivet Distillery.

It is hoped construction at the plant could start later this year.

Braeval Distillery, near Tomintoul, is due to reopen in July having been silent since 2002. It will supply spirit for Chivas's blended whiskies.

Paris-based company Pernod, whose whisky brands include Chivas Regal, Ballantine's and The Glenlivet, said sales growth was strongest in China, India and Russia.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Mar 03
2008

Distillery to make whisky again

Production at a 133-year-old Scottish distillery will restart for the first time since 1986.

The Glenglassaugh distillery, built in 1875, was a contributor to Famous Grouse, Laing's and Cutty Sark blends.

It is expected the reopening of the distillery in the village of Portsoy on the Moray coast, will result in the creation of up to 20 jobs.

It comes after a Dutch investment house, Scaent, agreed a £5m acquisition of the business from Edrington Group.

Massive potential

Stuart Nickerson, the firm's new managing director and Scottish whisky expert, said: "Start-up funding will cover running costs for the first year - we estimate it will take six or seven months to bring the distillery back to full working order.

"Glenglassaugh has the capacity to make one million litres of whisky a year and has high-growth potential. The product will appeal to malt collectors, those on high-disposable incomes and target markets include Eastern Europe."

Jonas Garbaravicius, Scaent group executive vice president, said the company recognised that the Glenglassaugh distillery had massive potential and was a perfect opportunity to bring an historic Scottish business back to life for future generations to enjoy.

The deal has also been backed with £2m start-up funding from Barclays commercial department.

Production will start by the end of the year.

Article Courtesy of BBC News

 

BBC News
February 2008 Scotch Whisky News

Feb 29
2008

Inver House Distillers: 'International Distiller of the Year'

Airdrie-based Company Named Global Icon of Whisky

Inver House Distillers, proud producer of some of Scotland's most exciting and fastest growing malts, was named as 'International Distiller of the Year' at a glittering ceremony in London last night (Thursday 28th February). The Airdrie-based company beat off impressive competition from exceptional companies throughout the world, including Japan, Ireland, Canada, India and Sweden and the USA.

Inver House, who in the last year has globally re-launched their Balblair Single Malt as a super-premium 'vintage', reached the final of the ‘Icons of Whisky’ event by first beating off competition in Scotland from Glenmorangie, Bowmore and William Grant & Sons, before claiming whisky’s highest accolade over seven other global finalists. The industry-voted award is designed to highlight the company who has ‘shown the most commitment to the development of whisky at all levels’ and is highly sought after.

Announced on the eve of Whisky Live! London, the Icons of Whisky dinner was created to celebrate the people and places behind the greatest whiskies in the world. The event’s international judging panel recognised Inver House for bringing 'dynamic, inspirational and dedicated passion’ to the world of whisky.

"It has to be said that given the extremely global nature of the awards, to make it to the shortlists, never mind win our International Final is a tremendous honour. In all categories there was some serious competition,” said one of the judges, Rob Allanson, Editor of Paragraph Publishing. “Inver House pioneers a creative approach to whisky and we believe that their team brings genuine passion and fresh thinking to all they do. They’ve made a very bold statement in recent times and every person on our panel strongly backed their win."

Karen Walker, Marketing Manager of Inver House collected the award alongside her team:
"We are utterly thrilled. Previously, when we won Best Scottish Distiller we were amazed but to be named as ‘International Distiller of the Year’ is absolutely mind-blowing. We are very proud of the work that we have achieved over the last year and are devoted to the success of whisky world-wide. Winning the award that every distiller covets is a dream.”

A key reason for Inver House’s win was their commitment to ‘shaking off the old fashioned Scottish image of whisky and replacing it with a modern contemporary approach without losing the heritage at its core’. Highlights include:

• Balblair Single Malt Whisky was relaunched at the turn of the year as a super premium, contemporary whisky brand, focused on international modern luxury markets, including France and Japan. Distinguished by its use of vintages (it is chosen by optimum 'year', in a similar way to wine), Balblair has been building a network of other outward-looking, likeminded brands including Canongate Books, Mackintosh Rainwear, Timorous Beasties and the artist, JoLoMo in an effort to shift traditional stereotypes of Scotland both in the UK and abroad.

• Old Pulteney Single Malt, also known as 'The Genuine Maritime Malt', embarked on its first international sponsorship by supporting renowned sailing sportsman 68-year old, Sir Robin Knox Johnston during his participation in the 'ultimate solo challenge' – the Velux 5 Oceans Round the World yacht race.

• Hankey Bannister, one of the company’s bestselling blend brands, also received recognition by winning ‘Best Scotch Blended Whisky’ for its super-premium, limited edition 40 year-old blend. Hankey Bannister is currently exported to around 47 countries worldwide, being particularly well established in travel retail, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Australasia, and Eastern Europe.

• Other Inver House brands performing well both in the UK and internationally include: anCnoc Single Malt Whisky, Heather Cream liqueur and Speyburn Single Malt amongst many others.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

Feb 27
2008

SNP accused of double standards on alcohol tax

The Scottish Government was accused of double standards on alcohol taxation last night - but its fight to have the duty on whisky cut was backed by Moray whisky firms.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said he would like to increase the tax on alcohol as part of the fight against Scotland's binge-drinking culture.

But Finance Secretary John Swinney has been lobbying Westminster to cut the duty on whisky.

Labour accused the SNP of being in a muddle over its alcohol policy - and called on the government to put out a unified message.

But the government hit back, saying there was a big difference between discounted drinks that contribute to binge drinking, and promoting economic growth by seeking a fair tax treatment for one of Scotland's most important exports.

Elgin-based whisky bottler Gordon and McPhail argued that, while it endorsed a responsible approach to alcohol, malt whisky was not generally drunk irresponsibly and was not a part of binge-drinking culture.

Labour justice spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said the apparent conflict within the Scottish Cabinet begged the question who was in charge of alcohol policy.

"On one hand the justice minister wants to talk tough, while his finance colleague completely undermines him," she said.

"The SNP are in a muddle on this policy."

She added: "Picking fights with Westminster is not the way forward and smacks of a government completely confused on the way forward."

But the Scottish Government insisted its policies were coherent, not confused.

A spokeswoman said: "There is a world of difference between the deep discounting of lagers and other forms of alcohol that can make it cheaper than water, thereby contributing to Scotland's binge-drinking culture, and seeking fair tax treatment domestically and internationally for one of Scotland's premium exports.

"Differentiating between these two circumstances is entirely sensible.

"We are trying to get to a place where Scotland can have a responsible relationship with alcohol."

Michael Urquhart, joint managing director of Gordon and Macphail, said: "We would certainly endorse the responsible consumption of alcohol."

But he added: "Whisky is pretty heavily taxed as it is. In the market that we deal in it is consumed by a responsible group of people because of the fact the price is higher."

Scotch Whisky Association spokesman Campbell Evans said: "Spirits taxation in the UK is one of the highest in the world and the third highest in the EU.

"We are calling for a freeze on taxation in this year's Budget.

"If this is about alcohol tax then it should be taxed according to alcohol content and every drink should be treated the same."

A pub measure of whisky was taxed at about 27.5p while the tax on other drinks was closer to 20p, he said.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 26
2008

Drammies award Scotch whisky’s finest

See which Scotch whisky brands are celebrating after this year’s consumer awards, the Drammies.

A mixture of regular names such as Highland Park, Ardbeg and Laphroaig scooped several top prizes. But lesser known producers also made a strong stand, including Bruichladdich, described by one voter as the ‘indie rockers’ of Scotch and which won distiller of the year with 49 per cent of votes in its category. Glenfarclas won most underrated whisky with 52 per cent of votes.

It is the second year that Kevin Erskine, founder of www.thescotchblog.com, has run the Drammies.

He said: “The Drammies were created to be, above all, a ‘People's Choice’ award and to try to disregard the influence that the industry has over the spirits writers and periodicals that generally grant the awards that get touted.”

The competition briefly ran into controversy earlier this year after Diageo employees were caught casting multiple votes for their own products. Diageo apologised publicly, blaming the incident on an “over-exuberant” US brand manager.

Click here to see the full results.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International

 

Drinks International

Feb 23
2008

Residents protest at distillery plan

An Indian billionaire is forging ahead with his efforts to double production at an Easter Ross distillery that he bought last year for £595million.

But people living near the Whyte and Mackay distillery at Invergordon are concerned that his plans to build more warehouses would result in the loss of established trees which provide a buffer for their homes.

When Vijay Mallya, who is chairman of United Spirits, bought the distillery last May, he said he planned to increase production of whisky there from 40million litres to 80million a year, making it the biggest whisky plant in Scotland.

And Whyte and Mackay has submitted an application for outline planning permission for additional warehousing at the plant at Golf View Terrace, supported by an indicative plan showing 17 new warehouses.

But a neighbour, who did not want to be named, pointed out that the proposal would result in the loss of an area of trees, which is zoned as amenity woodland on the Local Plan.

He said they understood the need for the distillery to expand, and had not objected sooner because they believed there would be significant planting around the outside of the site to compensate for the trees that would be lost, which, he said, included oak trees up to 120 years old.

"However, the plans have been amended and now show considerably less tree planting than we expected.

"This area is zoned as amenity woodland and we feel Highland Council should enforce its own policy," said the man, who is now objecting to the planning application.

Maxine Smith, one of the council's Cromarty Firth members, said she was pleased the distillery was expanding.

"We also need to take account of the effects this has on others and it is not of benefit to the public to lose an amenity area. We need to find safeguards for the householders at the two properties that border the distillery site, as well as finding a way to allow the distillery what it needs in terms of warehouse space," said the SNP councillor.

Highland Council planner Dorothy Stott said the 17 warehouses shown were just an indicative figure, and said conditions could be applied to any consent granted requiring the retention or replanting of trees. The application is to be considered at the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross planning and review committee meeting on March 4.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 22
2008

Get sampling at Whisky Live

Whisky Live

29 February & 1 March, Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster, prices from £26 day ticket, £16 half-day, £47 two-day ticket, www.whiskylive.com

The Royal Horticultural Halls throw open their doors for an international celebration of whisky from 29 February.

Strictly for connoisseurs, the event began in Tokyo in 2000 and now takes place in 12 countries around the world.

The London show will feature a variety of themed events running at regular intervals throughout the two days.

Among the liquid-based entertainment on offer will be masterclasses from expert distillers and a blending competition, where presumably there must be some rules concerning what can and can't be mixed.

In addition, there will even be an interestingly titled 'Whisky Lounge', where visitors can relax and take valuable time out from the pressures of all that sampling.

Visitors to the event get food and drink vouchers included in the ticket price.

Article Courtesy of This is London

 

This is London

Feb 21
2008

Whisky bosses hopeful of tax freeze

Scotch industry bosses left the Treasury last night hopeful that Chancellor Alistair Darling will continue the 10-year freeze on duty on spirits maintained by predecessor Gordon Brown.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt met Exchequer Secretary Angela Eagle to press the case for leaving the duty as it is for the 11th year running in Mr Darling's March Budget.

He warned her the industry is facing rising input and energy costs and said past duty stability had boosted competitiveness and helped distillers to invest heavily in their operations and supply chain, exploit international marketing opportunities and benefit the economy.

Afterwards, an association spokesman said: "We had a very warm reception and the minister was well briefed on the importance of the industry. We certainly see no reason for any change in the government's policy of maintaining the freeze."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 20
2008

Cheers! Whisky galore brings big investment

DRINKS giants Diageo has announced plans to add 200 new jobs in a £120million expansion of its whisky operations to meet demand from emerging markets such as India and Russia.

It will be the biggest investment in the firm for 20 years. The new jobs will most likely be created in Fife and Glasgow.

Diageo has a bottling plant in Kilmarnock and is the world’s biggest alcoholic drinks manufacturer.

It has been boosted by a massive increase in sales of Johnnie Walker which has helped rake in profits of almost £8million a day.

Article Courtesy of IC Ayrshire

 

IC Ayrshire

Feb 20
2008

Scottish whisky makers show spirit in fight for duty freeze

Senior members of the Scottish whisky industry will hold showdown talks with the Government today in which they will demand a freeze on spirits duty.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, will lead calls for the Government to continue its freeze on the duty or risk damaging the health of the whisky industry in the face of a consumer downturn and spiralling raw material costs.

Today's meeting will be the first time industry insiders have met with Exchequer Secretary Angela Eagle, who was appointed last July.

The Government has taken a soft approach to the spirits industry, freezing excise duty for the last 10 years.

However, with the backlash against binge drinking and alcohol misuse growing, it might feel under pressure to execute at least a token duty increase.

The Exchequer Secretary is also likely to point to burgeoning demand for Scotch from the developing world which saw exports hit a new record in 2007, as well as new legislation, to be introduced this year, which will protect the industry.

Despite those advances, Campbell Evans, director of government and consumer affairs at the industry body, said: "The industry is under pressure. We want to be clear about the economic contribution the industry makes.

"The UK market for Scotch remains fragile."

Whisky distillers have faced soaring costs this year with cereal, glass, fuel, packaging and cask costs all spiralling.

The SWA says excise duty on a typical bottle of blended Scotch whisky already accounts for 71.5pc of the retail price.

The whisky industry claims to support 2pc of all jobs in Scotland, with annual export earnings of more than £2.5bn.

Article Courtesy of The Telegraph

 

The Telegraph

Feb 19
2008

SWA backs partnership

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather met representatives of the alcohol industry yesterday to identify how the Scottish Government can work with the industry to achieve sustainable economic growth.

Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "We work closely with the Scottish Government on issues ranging from tackling alcohol misuse to international promotion.

"Building on that, a key theme today was the importance of joined-up thinking in relation to the drinks sector.

"A national food policy is being developed, yet there is currently not equivalent strategy to promote the much larger alcoholic drinks sector; an industry vital to our economy. Today was a good opportunity to consider what more can be done and we welcomed the minister's support."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 17
2008

Whisky leads Diageo to 7% sales increase

Soaring demand for Johnnie Walker whisky and a resurgence in Guinness helped drinks giant Diageo post a 7% sales increase and confidently predict it is on track for a 9% annual organic operating profit growth for the year.

Diageo's prime brands, Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Captain Morgan rum, all delivered double-digit net sales growth for the company in the six months to December 31, while Guinness, which had been struggling, saw sales up 6%. The black stuff even returned to growth in the ailing British and Irish markets.

Investors responded positively, sending Diageo shares up 4.55% to close at 1081p, a rise of 47p.

In all, Scotch whisky helped deliver 33% of the company's net sales growth and was particularly important in helping drive sales in emerging markets.

In its international division, which covers many emerging markets and posted organic net sales growth of 16%, brands such as Buchanan's, Bell's, Old Parr and Johnnie Walker Black Label comprised nearly half of sales.

Sales of Buchanan's soared 14% in Venezuela and Mexico, in part due to price rises.

This fed through to sales among Hispanics in the United States, where Buchanan's sales were up 31%. Overall, Scotch whisky net sales increased 18% in North America.

Johnnie Walker sales grew 16% in the international division fuelled by Mexico and the Middle East. Johnnie Walker also led the way among the newly affluent Chinese middle class, and overall in the Asia Pacific region Scotch whisky sales were up 50%. Bell's did well in South Africa.

In Europe, Scotch sales rose 55% over the same period in 2006. Whisky also comprised some 15% of Diageo's business in Africa and delivered a quarter of the company's growth in the region.

In all, Scotch whisky comprised a quarter of Diageo's global sales.

Its chief executive Paul Walsh, recently appointed chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association trade group, said: "We are the leader in a category that is enjoying a renaissance."

One of the surprises at Diageo was a resurgence in sales of Guinness which gained 6% worldwide. Such had been its lacklustre performance in recent years there had been rumours that Diageo would seek to sell the brand.

However, a poor summer in the United Kingdom, which stayed the usual switch to cider and lager, combined with a boost in marketing, sent UK sales up 3%.

This was its first positive sales performance in the UK since 2005 and it was achieved in a beer market which declined 5% overall.

Diageo also succeeded in driving sales of Guinness in Africa, outside its core market of Nigeria. African sales of the Irish stout were up 13%, helped by branding exercises such as sponsorship of the African Nations Cup in Ghana.

But Diageo faced some headwinds that could still drag on its performance in the second half of its financial year.

It lost its import licence for Korea in the summer and is now required to go via a distributor. It does not yet know if a new import licence application submitted on December 26 will be approved.

It has also been hit by disruptions to the transfer of some of India's busiest airport duty free shops from state ownership. This has resulted in a halving of sales of Johnnie Walker.

These events combined to reduce organic net sales growth in the Asia Pacific region to just 1%.

But Walsh is confident the company is well positioned for any global economic downturn. "I do not think we are immune but you have to recognise we sell affordable indulgences. It is not like buying a new car."

He also cast doubt on the impact of the credit crunch on people who have never heard of monoline insurers.

"For an awful number of consumers life goes on as normal," he said.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

Feb 15
2008

Green for go for multi million pound distillery

MORAY'S £40 million green distillery will use the ultimate in recycling technology in a bid to be fossil fuel neutral, says project director Mike Jappy.

Construction work on the distillery at Roseisle, a flagship development for whisky firm Diageo, is progressing well and is on course for production to start next January.

The distillery, the first to be built in Scotland in over 30 years, will produce up to 10 million litres of spirit each year.

That will make it the largest distillery operation in the Diageo network of 27 distilleries and two grain distilleries.

The largest producer is currently Dufftown Distillery which produces six million litres a year.

The spirit created at Roseisle will go towards blending and particularly the increasingly popular Johnnie Walker and Bell's brands which are spearheading Diageo's worldwide export push.

Mr Jappy said Diageo has chosen to make an environmental statement with the building of the distillery at Roseisle.

"We could have knocked £10 million off the price if we had just done a conventional kind of build but the whole point of what we are trying to do is make as green a distillery as we can," he said.

By-products from the spirit-making process will be used to generate power for the distillery, with up to 66% of its energy needs coming from renewable sources, reducing drastically the use of oil.

The draff left over after the malt has been mashed would normally to produce animal feeds, however, this will instead be used to fire the distillery boilers.

The pot ale left after the first phase in the distillation process would also normally go towards animal feed, however, that will be put through a three stage process which will produce clean water which the company will re-use for steeping purposes at nearby Burghead Maltings.

Another by-product from the distilling process is hot water, hundreds of gallons of it, and this will be fed through radiators at the adjacent maltings to produce hot air to dry the malt.

Building the distillery next to the maltings also cuts down on lorry journeys in transporting malt to the distillery.

A glass wall design will afford people a unique view of the stillhouse in operation.

The development is a first for the whisky industry and is set to create 25 new full-time jobs, the bulk of them at the distillery but also some support staff at Diageo's headquarters in Elgin.

There are no plans to produce a single malt from the distillery, which has yet to be named, and it will be at the heart of an expansion in the growing blended market, particularly in countries like India and China.

The main contractor is Inverness-based ROK construction and the project is also generating a lot of work for local sub-contractors.

Construction is due to be completed by the end of this year, with the commissioning process beginning in January and the distillery in full production by the Spring.

MORAY'S £40 million green distillery will use the ultimate in recycling technology in a bid to be fossil fuel neutral, says project director Mike Jappy.

Construction work on the distillery at Roseisle, a flagship development for whisky firm Diageo, is progressing well and is on course for production to start next January.

The distillery, the first to be built in Scotland in over 30 years, will produce up to 10 million litres of spirit each year.

That will make it the largest distillery operation in the Diageo network of 27 distilleries and two grain distilleries.

The largest producer is currently Dufftown Distillery which produces six million litres a year.

The spirit created at Roseisle will go towards blending and particularly the increasingly popular Johnnie Walker and Bell's brands which are spearheading Diageo's worldwide export push.

Mr Jappy said Diageo has chosen to make an environmental statement with the building of the distillery at Roseisle.

"We could have knocked £10 million off the price if we had just done a conventional kind of build but the whole point of what we are trying to do is make as green a distillery as we can," he said.

By-products from the spirit-making process will be used to generate power for the distillery, with up to 66% of its energy needs coming from renewable sources, reducing drastically the use of oil.

The draff left over after the malt has been mashed would normally to produce animal feeds, however, this will instead be used to fire the distillery boilers.

The pot ale left after the first phase in the distillation process would also normally go towards animal feed; however, that will be put through a three stage process which will produce clean water which the company will re-use for steeping purposes at nearby Burghead Maltings.

Another by-product from the distilling process is hot water, hundreds of gallons of it, and this will be fed through radiators at the adjacent maltings to produce hot air to dry the malt.

Building the distillery next to the maltings also cuts down on lorry journeys in transporting malt to the distillery.

A glass wall design will afford people a unique view of the stillhouse in operation.

The development is a first for the whisky industry and is set to create 25 new full-time jobs, the bulk of them at the distillery, but also some support staff at Diageo's headquarters in Elgin.

There are no plans to produce a single malt from the distillery, which has yet to be named, and it will be at the heart of an expansion in the growing blended market, particularly in countries like India and China.

The main contractor is Inverness-based ROK construction and the project is also generating a lot of work for local sub-contractors.

Construction is due to be completed by the end of this year, with the commissioning process beginning in January and the distillery in full production by the spring.

Article Courtesy of The Northern Scot

 

The Northern Scot

Feb 13
2008

Whyte & Mackay’s huge Scotch stocks help tide over shortage

Huge stockpile of bulk Scotch inventories has helped United Spirits owned Whyte & Mackay to tide over a severe shortfall of Scotch whisky globally, which has led to a steep increase in its price.

Scotch whisky prices have been rising over a period of time because of supply constraint and increase in raw material costs. But a spokesperson for United Spirits told Business Line that for Whyte & Mackay, the Scotch inventories of about 115 million litres has turned out to be valuable. Whyte & Mackay is one of the largest bulk Scotch producers in the world.

Global demand growing

A United Spirits’ spokesperson said that Whyte & Mackay is poised to take on any intermediate shortfalls with its huge inventories of bulk Scotch. “At a time when global demand for Scotch whisky is showing strong growth and prices are increasing rapidly, Whyte & Mackay’s bulk scotch inventories of 115 million litres are not only very valuable but allow United Spirits the opportunity to meet their own growing requirements for their brands in India,” the spokesperson said.

Article Courtesy of Sify

 

Sify

Feb 12
2008

Dram poured as deveron salmon season opens

Drops of locally-distilled whisky were sprinkled on a north-east river yesterday to bless it before the start of the salmon season.

The Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Trust organised the blessing, which took place at Hill of Haugh, Huntly.

Project officer with the trust Robin Vasey said members had high hopes for the coming season.

The blessing was given by former trust chairman Professor David MacKay who used Glendronach whisky from a distillery based near Huntly.

Mr Vasey said: "It's traditional to have a ceremony to bless the water on the opening day of the season. It's our first time but we're about the fifth most productive river in Scotland.

"We felt it was time to put ourselves on the map," he said.

The trust, established in 2001, administers fishing in the Deveron catchment area and tries to boost numbers. Mr Vasey said one way was by running a hatchery which produced around 250,000 salmon and sea trout eggs every year.

He said they also encouraged people to catch and release fish caught early in the season when numbers were lower.

He added he hoped this season would be as good as the last. "We had about 4,000 caught which is 1,000 more than the 10-year average. But last summer was wet and when we've got water we get good fishing," he said.

The River Spey also opened for salmon season yesterday. The season has already begun at the Dee and Don rivers.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 11
2008

Diageo ‘Windsor’ Unveils New Anti-Forgery System

Diageo has launched the new ``Windsor’’ whiskies equipped with a newly developed anti-counterfeit system on top of previous authorization methods such as the serial number and hologram, according to the company Monday.

Called the ``Checker’’ system, the latest technology allows consumers to tell whether a Windsor whisky is real or fake through a small, bar-shaped weight, which once they twist and open the cap, is separated and falls into the bottle.

Diageo said that the patent technology, developed jointly by British, South Korean and Italian researchers since 2002, is applied to its new ``Windsor 17’’ and ``Windsor 12’’ whiskies.

Diageo, the world’s largest alcoholic drinks company, is famous for such noted spirits as Dimple and Johnnie Walker.

Article Courtesy of The Korea Times

 

The Korea Times

Feb 9
2008

Diageo's focus set to pay off

Drinks giant Diageo is expected to post a strong set of interims results on Thursday as its focus on spirits and premium brands continues to pay off.

Its latest deal - to buy a 50% stake in "super-premium" vodka brand Ketel One - signals that it is pushing further into this market. And for good reason, given the continuing decline in the UK beer market.

Diageo said it was seeing 20% growth a year in its existing premium brands, Smirnoff and Ciroc, while spirits, such as its Johnnie Walker whisky are also selling well. But with around 36% of annual earnings coming from the US, the market will be watching keenly for any impact of the US economic slowdown. The UK is forecast to remain a tough market, with the smoking ban thought to be curbing sales.

Yet the strength seen in Eastern Europe and Russia may help offset any UK weakness, while international markets are still thought to be robust. Scotch is selling well in Latin America, while beer is taking off in Africa, according to Charles Stanley stockbrokers. Analysts at the group are pencilling in operating profits to be up 5% at £1.36 billion for the six months to the end of December and the group is expected to reiterate aims for 9% growth by the year-end.

Household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser should please the City with strong full-year figures on Wednesday after solid progress across its range of brands.

The company - maker of products such as Cillit Bang cleaner and Harpic - upped year-on-year sales growth forecasts to around 9% in October. Consensus forecasts for the Slough-based business put underlying profits 13% higher at £1.19 billion on revenues of around £5.3 billion.

While results are likely to reflect a slight slowdown in the final three months of 2007, analysts remain convinced by the defensive resilience of the company, whose shares have held up better than most during the stock market turmoil of last year.

Transport group Go-Ahead endured a rough ride in January amid the annual outcry over huge fare hikes on its Southern and Southeastern train franchises.

Southeastern - which the Newcastle-based firm runs in tandem with French company Keolis - saw peak fares rise by an average 6.8%. This is more than three times the Government's official measure of inflation - currently standing at 2.1% - and Go-Ahead's interim results on Friday could add more fuel to the flames.

Underlying profits for the six months to December are expected to come in around 14% higher at £63 million, with half-year revenues reaching £1 billion. The figures will also include a first contribution from its London Midland rail franchise, which includes West Midlands regional services and the Birmingham to Liverpool route.

Article Courtesy of The Press Association

 

The Press Association

Feb 8
2008

Distillers call for action on alcohol abuse

Whisky bosses yesterday called on distillers and others in the industry to tackle binge drinking.

The Scottish Whisky Association highlighted the steps its members had taken to stem the scourge of alcohol misuse and urged others to follow suit.

Chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "Members have put in place a far-reaching code of practice on marketing and promotion, and are rolling out new labelling to raise alcohol-unit awareness."

Speaking at an event at the Scottish Parliament, he also welcomed recent figures that showed fewer Scots were drinking to excess.

"More must be done to reach the minority who continue to drink irresponsibly," Mr Hewitt said.

The Scotland's Futures Forum at Holyrood examined a range of initiatives aimed at tackling alcohol misuse.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 7
2008

Diageo decides to go Dutch

Drink giant Diageo ditched its interest in iconic Swedish vodka brand Absolut yesterday after agreeing a deal for a 50% stake in Dutch premium vodka Ketel One.

Diageo - whose leading brands include Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka - pulled out of the auction to buy Absolut, which was put up for sale by the Swedish government last month.

Diageo has instead paid £460million to form a joint venture with Ketel One's owners, the Nolet family.

Diageo, which also makes Ciroc vodka, said it had been in talks with the family for some time ahead of yesterday's deal.

Ketel One was described as a better strategic fit for Diageo, with significant growth opportunities.

Chief executive Paul Walsh added: "This transaction is strategically important for us, giving us an interest in an outstanding high-quality brand and fantastic potential for global growth in the super-premium vodka segment."

The Nolets, who have been distilling vodka for more than 310 years, have the option to sell their 50% stake in the business to Diageo in four or five years.

Ketel One sells 1.9million cases a year, 95% of which are in the North American market. Diageo aims to further expand the brand's reach outside the US, focusing on Europe, Latin American and Asia-Pacific.

In the UK, Diageo has been making a concerted push into the spirit market to offset declining beer sales. It has also been seeking to concentrate further on super-premium vodka, boosting worldwide sales of Smirnoff and Ciroc by more than 20% a year.

Diageo, which employs 4,500 people in Scotland, is understood to have been one of four groups pitching for Absolut.

The remaining suitors are thought to include French group Pernod Ricard, US-based Fortune Brands and privately owned Bacardi.

Diageo had acknowledged there would be regulatory hurdles to overcome in any bid for Absolut, but stressed yesterday this was not the reason behind its move to back out of the auction.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 7
2008

Whisky producer broadens global portfolio with premium rum deal

Whisky maker Edrington Group aims to tap into a fast growing worldwide market after taking a majority stake in rum brand Brugal.

It is understood the price paid by Edrington - the firm behind The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Macallan and Highland Park - for a holding of just over 60% was in excess of £200million.

The deal, 40% funded by Lloyds TSB Scotland, represents Edrington's second largest acquisition after the £601million paid in partnership with William Grant for Highland Distillers in 1999.

It is also the first major move by Edrington to expand beyond premium whisky, with Brugal - produced in the Dominican Republic since 1888 - becoming its fifth key brand.

Ian Curle, the Scottish firm's chief executive, said: "We are hugely impressed with the growth of the Brugal brand and are excited by its prospects.

"We announced some time ago our objective to increase international growth and stated that as well as developing our core brands we also intend to target opportunities outside the Scotch whisky category.

"Brugal is a high growth brand in a dynamic category and we intend to fulfil its significant potential."

Brugal is one of the world's leading golden rum brands, with sales of about 5million cases a year.

It will continue to be produced in the Dominican Republic under the supervision of the Brugal family, who will remain as shareholders and have an active role in managing the Brugal Company and brand.

George Arzeno Brugal, who is staying on as president of the company, said: "We think this new alliance, combining the heritage and skills of Brugal Company in the premium-rum sector with the international premium-brand marketing and distribution strength of Edrington, will bring significant benefits to the brand and to both partners."

Edrington will look to build upon Brugal's strong growth in markets such as Spain, America, Russia and Italy.

The Glasgow-based group said yesterday that it would also be reviewing further opportunities in markets where the brand "has not yet established a strong footprint".

Edrington stressed that it was still committed to whisky and would continue to support and grow its Scottish brands.

A spokesman for the company said: "This acquisition complements our Scotch whisky portfolio and exposes the group to new growth opportunities."

Meanwhile, it is understood that a deal involving Edrington's Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, could be completed this month.

A consortium involving a Latvian investor has reportedly been engaged in talks with Edrington since last summer.

It is believed the consortium aims to bring the distillery, which has been mothballed since 1986, back into production.

Edrington confirmed last month that it had received approaches, which may or may not lead to a formal offer for Glenglassaugh.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Feb 6
2008

The Glenmorangie Paul A Young Whisky Truffles

The Perfect Valentine's Gift for the Man you Love

Glenmorangie whisky has teamed up with Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, to create exquisite whisky truffles using rare beans from the Caribbean and the rare Glenmorangie Quarter Century.

Paul A Young created these exclusive whisky truffles to compliment the Glenmorangie Quarter Century, one of the rarest and most complex whiskies in the world.

The chocolates are all individually hand made, using the rare 66% Trinitario bean from the Caribbean, hand painted in gold and gold leaf. The result is a wonderfully decadent truffle to match the style and exquisite finesse of the aged whisky.

Includes: - 8 Bespoke Paul A Young Chocolates, hand-crafted to be paired uniquely with Quarter Century.

http://www.paulayoung.co.uk

Article Courtesy of Bolsamania

 

Bolsamania

Feb 03
2008

10% price rise on booze calls for stiff drink

But health campaigners welcome predicted hike.

The price of wine and spirits is predicted to go up by five times the rate of inflation in the next year.

The rises will dismay consumers, although health campaigners last night hoped that they might bring Britain's binge drinking problem under control.

The dismal forecast is contained in a report by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which represents retailers selling alcohol. It estimates that prices per bottle will rise by up to 10%, almost five times the official rate of inflation, which stands at 2.1%.

Those who enjoy a middle of the range bottle of wine can expect to see prices go up by about 50p a bottle.

The increase will be a major shock to consumers in the wake of real-terms falls in prices in recent years. Since 1999, prices of wines and spirits have gone up by 21.5% while inflation in general has risen by 32.6%.

Factors contributing to the price rises include:

&149 Droughts and bad grape harvests in Australia, France and South America, more than doubling wholesale prices in Australia and Chile and increasing French wine prices by up to 30%;

&149 Rising energy costs, including the 50% increase in oil prices affecting transport and the cost of glass manufacture;

&149 The cost of tin and aluminium going up by 90% in the past three years, with paper rising by 40%, increasing the price of packaging;

&149 Green energy policies increasing the price of molasses – a key ingredient of rum – by 50% in the past three years because of the demand for ethanol to power cars as an alternative to oil;

• Grain prices increasing by as much as 130% since 2005, affecting the price of imported whiskies such as bourbon.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "I'm afraid we are going to see the costs passed on to consumers. There is simply no more margin to cut. At a time of economic slowdown, there is simply no good news for consumers."

Campbell Evans, the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, warned: "Rising costs of transport and raw materials will affect whisky prices."

Drinkers are already bracing themselves for hard times and planning strategies for how to deal with the price rises.

Roddy Martine, a writer on whisky and a self-confessed bon viveur, said: "It is a pity because with all the grim economic news around at least you'd think you could seek comfort in a drink, and even that will be too expensive."

Dr Tim Palmer, the president of the Inverness Wine Appreciation Society, said: "My response to this would be to start buying it now for consumption later and buying it by the case from independent sellers. Another idea is to look for wines from the more unusual locations, which might not be as affected by high shipping costs as New World wines: for example Georgia, Lebanon and Turkey."

Health campaigners gave the increase a cautious welcome, but called for supermarkets to scrap bulk-buy discount deals on drink.

Tom Wood, the chairman of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, said: "I think that overall it is good news. The World Health Organisation cites price as one of the factors in controlling unhealthy consumption of alcohol. We now have a situation where alcohol is half the price in real terms that it was 30 years ago and that's just not clever."

A spokeswoman for Alcohol Concern Scotland added: "We are concerned that the larger supermarkets will be able to absorb these price rises through their buying power and ability to discount. We are very concerned about the number of 'three for the price of two' offers, and the effect that is having on alcohol consumption."

In recent weeks, ministers have pledged to tackle Scotland's drinking culture as a cause of violence and health problems.

Last night a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "As a nation we are drinking too much. We need to change and challenge the so-called bevvy culture that is affecting Scotland."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Scotland on Sunday
January 2008 Scotch Whisky News

Jan 31
2008

USL aims to double Scotch market share

United Spirits, the flagship company of Vijay Mallya-owned UB Group, has decided to launch a slew of Whyte & Mackay (W&M) brands.

United Spirits (USL) acquired the Scotch whisky maker last year. The company expects the brands to double its share in the Indian scotch market in the next two years to 24 per cent.

The company, which has already launched two scotch brands from W&M, will now come out with vodka brand Vladivar and liqueur brand Glavya.

The Indian scotch whiskey market is growing at an annual rate of 40 per cent.

W&M is the fourth largest scotch whiskey player in the world after Diageo, Pernod Ricard and William Grant. USL would use its distribution strength to penetrate other emerging markets like China and Russia as well.

Vijay Rekhi, president of the spirits division of the UB group, said, “With the launch of W&M’s scotch brands in India, USL would have brands at various price points in the segment.”

The 10 year old (yo) Isle of Jura is priced at Rs 2,500-3,000 per bottle, while Dalmore (13 yo) carries a price tag of Rs 2,750-3,100. While Jura and The Dalmore are being imported from W&M’s distilleries in Scotland, Mackinlay would be bottled in India.

The W&M acquisition has complemented not just the the front-end of USL’s business through its big brands but the back-end as well.

“Many of W&M scotches are used in blends of USL’s own India-made brands,” added Rekhi. Currently, the company sells nearly 50,000 cases of scotch a year.

The opening of the organised retail sector is expected to drive volumes. “A leader cannot be a niche player. We will focus not just on scotch but work at building a comprehensive product range in spirits even in terms of cognacs or tequila. In fact, we are on the look out for possible candidates for acquisitions in these areas,” Rekhi said.

Article Courtesy of BBC News

 

Business Standard

Jan 30
2008

Speyside whiskies in contest

The cream of Speyside whiskies are to be picked after a tasting at the Scottish Parliament.

The first round of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards 2008 saw six finalists chosen in the three categories.

The six were chosen from 40 entrants by the 10 judges in a blind tasting session.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead and Evening Express chief political reporter David Maddox were among the 10 judges.

The winning whiskies will be named at the Spirit of Speyside Festival in May.

Ann Miller, one of the directors of the festival, said. "The results of the first round reflect the rich and rewarding tastes of malt whiskies from Speyside."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 29
2008

Blair's whisky cures tooth pain

A bottle of House of Commons whisky signed by Tony Blair and intended for a charity auction was accidentally opened and used as a toothache cure.
Roger and Jackie Reed from Ash, Somerset, were staying with friends when Mr Reed woke with toothache.

He took a swig from the bottle but later discovered he had broken the seal on the bottle intended for auction.

In a panic the Reeds contacted their MP David Heath who managed to get a new bottle signed by Gordon Brown.

'Friendship saved'

The Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome said: "I knew that Mrs Reed's story was too good to have been made-up and it did bring a smile to my face and that of my staff.

"Now that Tony Blair is no longer an MP, it was impossible to get him to sign a replacement. The next best thing, however, was to get the current prime minister to sign one."

Mrs Reed said she and her husband were "mortified" by what had happened.

"We're just so grateful that David was able to get Gordon Brown to sign a bottle. He may just have saved a 35-year old friendship".

Article Courtesy of BBC News

 

BBC News

Jan 29
2008

anCnoc Single Malt Scotch Whisky Turns 'Sweet Sixteen'

anCnoc Single Malt Scotch Whisky is delighted to announce the launch of its 16 Year Old, which will be available in its key international markets from later this month.

Hand-selected by Master Distiller Stuart Harvey, the 16 Year Old line extension is the latest addition to the anCnoc family, which also includes the award-winning 12 Year Old, a limited edition 1993 Vintage as well as its limited edition 30 Year Old. Bottles of the hotly-anticipated dram have been released to be sold in specially selected counties worldwide, with a RRP of £39.99.

An unchill filtered, non-coloured single malt scotch whisky, anCnoc 16 Year Old is bottled in its most natural form, giving it a superior quality and mouth feel. Unlike its former bottlings, the 16 year old is the only anCnoc available which has been wholly matured in American oak casks. Previous releases have been finished in Spanish sherry barrels and it is this point of difference which makes the 16 year so distinct, creating superb citrus notes which are resultant of the contact between the Knockdhu new make spirit with the vanilla and toffee from the cask. The aroma is full bodied with bursts of citrus fruit, and fragrant vanilla .Its complex flavour is light and zesty with a hint of spice, warming up to what can only be described as ‘stick to your teeth toffee’.

anCnoc Brand Manager, Elaine Mitchell commented: “This is a really exciting addition to the range. Our 16 year old is quite different to anything else that we’ve produced previously and the initial feedback we’ve received from connoisseurs who have tried it is very encouraging.”

As a keen supporter of the arts – from photography or theatre, to literature – anCnoc’s presentation is just as modern as its outlook and is a light, clean, accessible malt.

Article Courtesy of Inver House Distillers

 

Inver House Distillers

Jan 29
2008

Here's johnnie - back in one piece after hair-raising escapade

Customers at an Inverness pub were yesterday toasting the health and long life of their bar mascot, a full-size model of the Johnnie Walker whisky character.

For Johnnie will soon be back on the terrace of the Castle Tavern after being reunited with his head, ripped off after the model was snatched from the premises during opening hours 11 days ago.

Most of Johnnie was quickly discovered lying in a nearby car park. But he was minus his top-hatted head.

This prompted Castle Tavern owner George MacLean to put up a reward of a case of Johnnie Walker whisky for anyone with information leading to its recovery.

At the weekend he was contacted by Gilby Crook, 27, who found the head lying in his garden at 10 Kingsmills Road, about a mile from the bar.

Mr MacLean said: "I will have to find someone who can stick the head back on the shoulders and then Johnnie will be back in pride of place to greet my customers.

"I am quite attached to him - more so than he was to his head - because I had him made specially by pub designer Andy Thornton at Elland in Yorkshire for about £1,000. Gilby will not be empty handed.

"I think a passerby, probably drunk, grabbed the mannequin and legged it. I know that even if one of my customers took it for a joke, they wouldn't damage it."

Mr Crook, who has just stopped working for his father Ralph's hair salon and is going offshore for a few years, said: "I find a lot of random items in the garden after the weekend but this was the strangest yet. I thought someone must have a vendetta against me because it was a bit like the horse's head in The Godfather film."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 28
2008

Thai import rules move welcomed by SWA

The Scotch Whisky Association has welcomed moves to encourage Thailand to bring its import rules into line with international standards.

Since September 2006, Thai officials have systematically rejected product values declared by importers and calculated figures for tariff and tax purposes according to an arbitrary, standard margin.

The European Union has now sought the intervention of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

SWA international affairs manager Martin Bell said: "WTO rules clearly set out how Thai customs should assess imported spirits for tariff and tax purposes.

"Officials have, however, failed to justify the implementation of a regime which is unfairly acting as a barrier to the import of Scotch whisky and other spirit drinks, ultimately restricting consumer choice in Thailand."

The association said the Thai system was penalising Scotch whisky distillers, either by artificially increasing import tariffs or forcing importers to lodge large bank guarantees pending resolution of any disputes.

"It is estimated that EU spirits importers have lodged over £9million of these guarantees to cover potential liabilities," the SWA added.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 26
2008

Newcomer for Auld Reekie family

Multi-award-winning Aberdeenshire whisky merchant Duncan Taylor has launched Auld Reekie 10-year-old.

Joining its older brother, Auld Reekie 12-year-old, the Islay malt is light straw in colour and the nose is smoky, revealing lime marmalade and gingerbread aromas with wood smoke and a gentle medicinal note.

The body is an explosion of peat smoke with a silky smooth, honeyed sweetness, while the palate is long and luscious, delivering dry ashiness offset by juicy fruits and ginger spice.

Euan Shand, managing director at Duncan Taylor, said: "Auld Reekie 12-year-old was a phenomenal success, winning gold in both The Scottish Field Whisky Challenge and Whisky Magazine's Independent Bottlers Challenge. The demand for robust Islay malts is strong and Auld Reekie 10-year-old delivers a seriously smoky character.

"It is complex, intense and challenging, yet balanced with a fruity elegance. We are confident that this younger whisky will achieve acclaim in whisky circles."

Bottled at 46%, Auld Reekie 10-year-old is presented in a bespoke 70cl bottle and presentation tube. It is available from all good wine and spirits outlets with a recommended price of £27.99.

Described by Whisky Magazine as "a jewel in the crown of Scottish whisky", Duncan Taylor has one of the largest collections of rare Scottish whiskies.

Using the finest casks available, adopting rigorous cask husbandry and creating ideal warehouse conditions has resulted in a host of awards for Duncan Taylor over the last 12 months, including Supreme Award from International Wine & Spirit (IWSC) in addition to three best in class, two gold, one silver and one bronze award from the IWSC judges. The company was also awarded First Class at The Scottish Field Whisky Challenge 2007.

Duncan Taylor whiskies are available from leading independent whisky shops. To check for stockists, log on to www.duncantaylor.com

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 25
2008

Pernod top brands’ sales soar

Chivas Brothers owner Pernod Ricard reported a stronger-than-expected rise in sales yesterday and said profits would be higher than anticipated, after seeing soaring demand for established brands like Ballantine's in emerging markets.

The company announced a 9.1% rise in underlying sales in its second quarter, the three months to December 31, and said it was now aiming for full-year like-for-like growth in operating profit of about 12% compared to its previous estimate of 10%.

The main driver of its growth was its 15 strategic brands which grew 7% in volume and 13% in value in the first six months of the year. Within this, spirit sales were up 11% with whiskies performing strongly, including an 18% rise in sales of The Glenlivet, 16% in Chivas Regal and 12% for Ballantine's.

The company is finding particular success in targeting emerging markets, where sales grew 25%. The emerging markets of Asia, eastern Europe and Latin-America accounted for almost 30% of its sales in the first half of its financial year and contributed nearly two thirds of group growth.

In Asia, organic growth was up 13%, with Chivas Regal, Ballantine's and brandy Martell contributing two-thirds of this.

Europe, excluding France but including Russia, saw organic growth of 9%. The company hailed the "spectacular development" of sales in central and eastern Europe, which rose 39%, accounting for 60% of the growth in sales on the continent.

The company said that its work on establishing key brands in the region, including Ballantine's, had paid off as they benefited from general market growth.

Patrick Ricard, chairman and chief executive of the group, said: "I could describe this first half-year as historic, given the outstanding sales dynamism."

The announcement sent its shares up 10.68% to 70.76 (53p).

Pernod is also seeing particularly strong sales among premium spirits such as Chivas Regal 12, 17 and 30-year-old whisky, which saw organic growth of 17%.

Overall, sales of Ballantine's were up 8% by volume and 12% in organic growth sales terms.

It said that Ballantine's Finest had seen good sales in the traditional markets in Western Europe with increased shipments to Spain and a 5% rise in sales in France.

The more superior brands of Ballantine's saw strong growth in Asia, the firm said, primarily down to sales in China, South Korea, Taiwan and via duty-free stores in the region. Sales of the 12-year-old were up 25% and the 30-year-old up 21%.

The Glenlivet saw a 15% rise in volume and sales were up 18%. Pernod Ricard said that the brand continued to do well in the US but also had very strong growth in Asia, primarily due to Taiwan and duty-free sales. It also had double-digit growth in Europe due to sales in the UK, France and Germany and, again, through duty-free.

Chivas Brothers employs 1600 staff across 31 sites in Scotland.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

 

The Herald

Jan 24
2008

Mallya named ambassador for Indian whisky industry

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman of the United Breweries Group, has been announced as an ambassador for the Indian whisky industry in 2007.

The Icons of Whisky regional event was held at the ITC Maurya in New Delhi – all winners will go through to the global icons ceremony to be held in London on February 28 2008.

Since 2001, the event has been held in Scotland and the US but last year it expanded its reach with awards in Canada, Ireland, Japan and now India.

Damian Riley-Smith, Paragraph Publishing MD, said: “I congratulate the winners in the inaugural India Icons of whisky Awards. They represent the extraordinary enthusiasm and excellence in the business across the region that undoubtedly reflects India's passion and growing market for good Whisky."

Other winners on the evening included Pernod Ricard India – taking home distiller of the year - and the Bombay High in Mumbai, which won whisky bar of India 2007.

Article Courtesy of Harpers

 

Harpers

Jan 24
2008

Go for the burn with whisky galore

Dave Broom, Britain's leading authority on Scotch whisky, does not take a meek "me no like" for an answer.

"To people who come to one of my tastings and say they don't like whisky, I say give me 20 minutes."

Claiming a 90% success rate, the editor of The Scotch Whisky Review, who "drinks a dram every other day", adds: "Many people don't realise that there are lighter, softer, sweeter whiskies, that are amenable, gentle and subtle in character."

Whisky is shaking off its old-man-with-pipe image, as younger people, and women, open up to its many possibilities.

Trying is all very well, but what do you ask for at the bar without embarrassing yourself? And how do you know if you'll like it?

Dave and drink manufacturer Diageo have charted the confusing world of whisky on a handy map. First-time explorers can see, at a glance, what a bottle might taste like, what other brands are similar, or what to try instead if you absolutely hate it.

The Single Malt Whisky Flavour Map was put together by Dave and one of the master blenders at Diageo, but plots whiskies by other manufacturers, too, to give the complete landscape. It looks at single malts only, which are more complex and varied in flavour than less-sophisticated blends.

Take note: Whenever Dave says "whisky", he means "single malt whisky".

"We weren't looking at what whisky was better than another, but at the different flavours. So we came up with a smoky/delicate and rich/light scale.

"It's such a simple concept that when we were testing the map with consumers who had never tasted whisky before, they immediately got the idea and could identify where different brands should go."

Map in hand, you'll be able to navigate the shelves with ease. "It was about trying to find new terms, a new language to describe the flavours, so we could really bring people in," says Dave.

It may have taken more than 20 minutes, but I'm sold on the surprisingly smoky, yet light and refreshing Laphroaig.

This Burns night, arm yourself with the flavour map and set off on a whisky discovery tour of your own.

If you're new to whisky, or convinced you don't like it, the map will show you a safe place to start. Download your copy and pick up tips on how to use it. Check back for updates as more whiskies will be added.

Dave recommends starting with brands just below the horizontal line and just either side of the vertical, such as Clynelish or Glen Elgin.

If you find something too smoky, move down a little. If you like the idea of smokiness, reach for the top of the chart.

This depends on what flavour you go for: they're not all designed for late-night sipping by the fire.

"One of these lighter whiskies, in the bottom left quadrant on the map, would be great as an aperitif," says Dave.

"Above the line and to the right are bigger, heavier, smoky flavours that are great after a meal.

"In the bottom right, you've got complex robust flavours that are best enjoyed after dinner. Smokier whiskies are great with seafood; a drop with oysters is sublime."

Dave says: "I would always add a few drops of water. It knocks the alcohol down so it doesn't give that burn, which is what puts a lot of people off whisky. But do as you will with it.

"Some whiskies are great in cocktails; others you can stick in the freezer."

Dave makes it clear that whisky is not a delicacy, despite what some snooty connoisseurs might think. In fact, anyone who raises an eyebrow when you ask for a lemonade mixer needs "educating".

The Single Malt Whisky Flavour Map is available to download from www.malts.com

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 22
2008

Johnnie Walker dummy decapitated

The discovery of a headless life-size mannequin of 19th Century whisky magnate Johnnie Walker has sparked a police probe.

The smartly dressed dummy was stolen from the Castle Tavern in Inverness, where it had greeted regulars at the front door for the last year.

It was found - minus the head - in a nearby Masonic Lodge car park.

Pub owner George MacLean has now offered a case of whisky to anyone who can help catch the culprit.

Mr MacLean joked: "It started as a missing person inquiry, but is now a murder investigation."

The fibreglass dummy, dressed in top hat and tails, was stolen at about midnight on Friday.

The alarm was raised when a group of regulars who had finished a shift at a local restaurant arrived and, in the style of Jack Nicholson in The Shining movie, shouted: "Where's Johnnie?"

Mr MacLean said: "He was there one minute, and gone the next. It must have been a passer-by, probably drunk, as it wasn't any of our regulars.

"Even if one of them took him as a joke, they wouldn't vandalise him. They know how much Johnnie means to the pub. He is part of the furniture.

"Whoever it was probably woke up the next morning with a stinking hangover and found a head in their bed.

"I'm offering a case of Johnnie Walker whisky to anyone who comes forward with information leading to the return of the head. I'm putting a price on his head."

Widely distributed

A Northern Constabulary spokesman confirmed: "We are investigating the matter."

The original John "Johnnie" Walker started to sell whisky in his Ayrshire grocer's shop in 1820.

But it was only after his death in 1857 that the whisky took off, thanks to his son and grandson, both named Alexander.

It is now the most widely distributed brand of Scotch in the world with yearly sales of over 120m bottles, with its emblem of a striding Johnnie Walker becoming famous across the globe.

Article Courtesy of BBC News

 

BBC News

Jan 22
2008

My 10am tots are medicinal, says whisky-swilling Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone yesterday made the extraordinary admission that he drinks whisky at 10 o'clock in the morning while answering questions in public.

The former Labour MP, who is now London mayor, excused his habit by claiming it was a tonic for bronchitis.

Mr Livingstone's disclosure about his early-morning drinking came after a TV documentary team snatched a sample of the liquid he drank while being quizzed by members of the assembly.

Scientific analysis showed it was 47 per cent alcohol.

The controversial politician has spent weeks trying to discredit the Channel 4 report and, at the eleventh hour, attempted to get the highly-critical Dispatches programme about his mayoral tenure banned.

In the end, it was screened on Monday evening.

Mr Livingstone was forced to admit he was indeed drinking alcohol in the film. But he insisted he used it "as an anaesthetic" in winter months to help his chest problems.

Speaking at a press conference, the mayor compared his drinking to the Parliamentary tradition of the chancellor of the exchequer sipping a whisky as he delivers his annual Budget.

"I tend to suffer from mild bronchitis through much of the winter," he said.

"If I have to talk for two and a half hours and through the mindnumbing tedium of questioning my members of the assembly you will hear my voice start to go.

"At that point I will pick up that tumbler of whisky and I have a sip. It then stops. The only way I can get through talking for two and a half hours with a severe cough or bronchitis is to use alcohol as an anaesthetic."

Referring to Winston Churchill's love of alcohol, he added: "I don't think I have ever reached Winston Churchill's level and as it didn't impair him in the destruction of the greatest evil facing humanity, it won't impede with my continuing to lead Londoners."

Last night Conservative London Assembly member Richard Barnes hit back, saying: "Funny, but this so-called mild bronchitis that strikes in winter never seems to be cured in May, June or July either."

The British Lung Foundation said there was no scientific proof that whisky did help with bronchitis.

But chairman Keith Prowse said: "Many people swear by a hot toddy with whisky as a home remedy for colds and chest problems.

"There's a general belief that whisky has a medicinal effect on colds and chest problems although there's no scientific proof that that's the case".

The Dispatches investigation was a damning indictment of Mr Livingstone's seven years in office.

Article Courtesy of Daily Mail

 

Daily Mail

Jan 21
2008

Dram good idea to solve fuel crisis

A SCOTS professor believes he's found the perfect measure to tackle future fuel shortages - transforming whisky into biofuel.

Professor Graeme Walker is heading up an innovative project at the University of Abertay in Dundee, where researchers are trying to turn residue from the whisky-making process into biofuel It's hoped to isolate the grain present in the distilling process which, as a 5% blend, could be used in all car engines.

Professor Walker, recently given a Carnegie Trust Research Grant for further studies, said: "Scientists are trying to find a simple and cost-effective way to produce more biofuels from waste products.

"The supply of fossil fuel is finite, and the race is on to find more environmentally-friendly alternatives."

Details of the whisky project emerged as businesses across the UK urged the Government to scrap the 2p fuel increase due to be introduced in April.

Article Courtesy of Evening Times

 

Evening Times

Jan 18
2008

Distiller gets behind sensible drinking message

The chairman of whisky distiller Edrington Group, Sir Ian Good, says that while there is optimism in the industry there is one area of serious concern: the challenge of how to prevent the misuse of alcohol.

Sir Ian states in the firm's annual report just released by Companies House that the promotion of Edrington's brands - which include The Macallan, Famous Grouse and Highland Park - in a socially responsible manner is of paramount importance.

He says: "As an industry, with the Scotch Whisky Association taking the lead, we have worked with governments and a range of stakeholders at home and abroad to promote responsible attitudes to alcohol.

"The media, however, give little coverage of these initiatives and tend to concentrate on the negatives, such as the misuse of alcohol, particularly among young people. It is important to our group and the whole industry that the message of enjoying alcohol responsibly is underlined on every possible occasion and that we promote a balanced understanding of alcohol-related issues."

Privately owned Edrington posted pre-tax profits of £68.9million on turnover of £278.5million for the year to March 31, 2007, compared with profits of £63.5million on turnover of £263.4million the year before, as reported previously.

The accounts show that the unnamed highest-paid director, likely to be chief executive Ian Curle, received a total of £597,000 in emoluments, benefits and annual incentives for the year, up from £472,000 the previous year.

His accrued pension at the year-end was £102,000, up from £98,500 a year earlier.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 17
2008

Mansell awarded distillery warehouses contract

Construction firm Mansell has been awarded a major contract by Macallan, owner of The Macallan Scotch whisky, to construct two new purpose-built warehouses at the Macallan Distillery, near Craigellachie.

The project will involve the construction of two 6,000sq m warehouses - including all associated services, drainage infrastructure, sprinkler installation, groundwork and landscaping - at the Overton Warehouse Complex, which sits adjacent to the existing distillery building.

The contract is worth about £9million, and with work having already begun on the excavation of 2.3million tons of material, the project is expected to be completed by November of this year.

The two buildings will form part of a new warehouse complex, which will be developed over the next few years as a result of a big increase in demand for The Macallan single malt over recent years and forecasts for continuing growth in future years.

Iain Lumsden, general manager of Mansell's Elgin office, said: "This is a major contract for our Elgin office and we look forward to drawing on our experience to deliver two outstanding buildings on time and within budget."

Mansell is a UK-wide company incorporating Mansell Construction Services Ltd, Kirby MacLean Ltd and Hall & Tawse Joinery. It is part of the Balfour Beatty Group.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 16
2008

Customs officers in bootleg whisky raid

Plastic bottles full of a bootleg scotch whisky called Highland Piper have been found in an illegal distillery in the Black Country.

A father and son aged 65 and 23 have been arrested for operating the illegal distillery in Wednesbury, where animal feed was used as a substitute to grain.

Working throughout the night trading customs officers seized and dismantled four illegal stills, and uncovered nearly 200 litres of alcohol in 33 boxes at the house in Holloway Bank in the town.

Each box contained six plastic one litre bottles full of the concoction labelled Highland Piper.

John Theobald, senior investigation officer for HM Revenue & Customs said: “This bootleg whisky was most likely destined for sale on the West Midlands black market. As well as being a serious form of criminality, disturbingly, animal feed had been used as a substitute to grain as part of the distilling process.

“The risks posed to those drinking it would have been totally unquantifiable.

“Members of the public tempted to purchase cheap counterfeit alcohol have no idea what these illegal spirits may contain, which could potentially damage their health or even prove fatal.

“Illegally manufactured alcohol is unregulated and unlicensed and once on the streets could have been sold to under age children and young people.” The operation was a joint initiative with Sandwell Trading Standards, whose officers also seized a considerable number of counterfeit DVDs in the raid, overnight last Wednesday.

All are believed to be latest releases and copying equipment was also seized.

Investigations are ongoing pending criminal prosecutions, but the men have not yet been charged.

Councillor Mahboob Hussain, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and housing at Sandwell Council, said: “Trading Standards will be investigating both of these matters, the whisky and the counterfeit DVDs further, in co-operation with Customs and Excise, and if appropriate formal action will be taken.

“At the moment we are concentrating on determining if the whisky is injurious to health.

“I would ask anybody who knows they have purchased any of this product not to drink it and to contact their local trading standards service. “It’s called Highland Piper and is in one litre plastic bottles with a blue cap.”

HMRC are encouraging people with information relating to illegally imported goods or tax evasion and fraud to contact its confidential hotline .

They can be reached by calling 0800 59 5000 or, alternatively you can also contact them via email at customs.confidential@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Article Courtesy of Express & Star

 

Express & Star

Jan 14
2008

Famous Grouse gets royal seal of approval

Producers of the Famous Grouse Scotch whisky are celebrating after being told the brand's royal warrant is to be renewed.

The royal warrant, issued to suppliers whose products have been used by a member of the royal family for five years, is regarded as a mark of excellence and allows the holder to display the royal coat of arms and the words “by appointment” on the product's label.

The Famous Grouse has been able to display the arms since 1984, but the warrant is reviewed every five years and can be revoked at any time.

Gerry O’Donnell, director of The Famous Grouse: “The royal warrant is the most prestigious honour any UK business can receive. It is great testimony to our continued effort to deliver the highest quality of whisky and service."

Warrants are awarded at the discretion of the Lord Chamberlain, acting as the chairman of the Royal Household Tradesmen´s Warrants Committee.

There are currently 800 individuals and suppliers who have been granted the royal warrant.

Article Courtesy of Off Licence News

 

Off Licence News

Jan 12
2008

Distillery firm to aid hospice

A SPEYSIDE-based whisky manufacturer has named a Stirlingshire hospice as its charity of the year.

Chivas Brothers, which is based at Strathisla Distillery, donated £5,000 to Strathcarron Hospice after employees were asked to vote for the charity they felt was most deserving.

The hospice provides specialist care to patients who are terminally ill and gives support to their families.

It was voted for after an employee at the Speyside site highlighted work carried out by the charity.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 09
2008

SWA chairman says he will strive to protect whisky's place in the world

The chief executive of the world's largest alcoholic drink firm, Diageo, said in Aberdeen last night that he wanted to safeguard Scotch whisky's position in worldwide markets.

Paul Walsh, also the new chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association, was addressing about 250 people at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's annual lecture.

He told his audience at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa that one of the key campaigns he would be driving in his chairmanship was ways to protect whisky's position as a product and, in particular, prevent inferior beverages being passed off as the same.

He said: "In doing so I want to perpetually safeguard Scotch whisky's position as a fantastic export of high quality, unique to this country."

Nevertheless, the Diageo boss did not want to resort to more litigation. He said he would like to see new laws from the UK and Scottish governments to maintain the authenticity of Scotch.

Mr Walsh said there were far more robust defences for other drinks such as French champagne and cognac.

He added that 41,000 jobs depended on the whisky industry, of which 10,000 were in direct employment.

Diageo is the leading player in the industry, operating 27 malt distilleries, two grain distilleries, and also has a half share in a third grain distillery. Last year, it announced an investment of £100million in its whisky operations in Scotland, including £40million on a new distillery at Roseisle, in Moray.

Mr Walsh said the reasons for Scotland being disproportionately important to Diageo were clear. It is the firm's largest supply centre, producing and packaging a variety of drinks including Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Gordon's gin.

The chief executive added that Scots were justifiably proud of their country. He said: "There is a tangible patriotism wherever one goes here, and a manifest passion for doing great things in and for Scotland. Outside of sport perhaps, nowhere is that more true than in Scottish industry.

"The challenge I would argue for all of us as business people operating here is to ensure that pride and passion don't lead to introspection.

"That we consistently recognise that, for most of us, our business success lies in looking outside of Scotland - indeed outside of the UK.

"Scotland has decent assets to work with as a global business player: a competitive economy, a skilled workforce, good infrastructure, and a global renown for the quality of its goods. While these are all areas where improvements can be made, it is still quite a platform to build from provided we consistently seek and embrace international opportunity. In Diageo, we call this mindset 'globality'."

He said emerging econom-ies not only offered opportunities for future growth, but a chance to spread exposure to help offset the impact of the peaks and troughs of mature markets for the next 20 years and more.

The SCDI north-east chairman, Duncan Skinner, was delighted that a global business leader of the calibre of Mr Walsh had agreed to speak at the annual lecture.

He added: "Scotch is one of this country's iconic products and, with vast new markets opening up in China, India and South America, the prospects for the whisky industry have never been better. We welcome the commitment, investment and vision shown by Diageo, and strongly support measures to protect the Scotch whisky industry and its new consumers from counterfeiting and passing off."

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

 

Press & Journal

Jan 08
2008

Scotch whisky to get piracy protection

Scotch whisky is to be given greater protection against counterfeiting, under a consultation launched by the government.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs launched the consultation on draft legislation that aims to strengthen the definitions of Scotch to help fight global counterfeiting.

The government aims to introduce the legislation in spring next year.

Court cases

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said it can be fighting up to 70 court cases around the world at any one time against overseas manufacturers who use tartan designs or pictures of pipers on their packaging, or who give their whisky names which are supposed to sound Scottish.

The proposed regulations will strictly regulate the descriptions that can be used on whisky bottles. Whisky will be strictly defined under one of five categories: single malt, single grain, blended, blended malt and blended grain. Distillers will also be allowed to attach one of five regional names – Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Campbeltown, Islay.

Article Courtesy of Nation Media

 

Nation Media

Jan 06
2008

Rampant rupee boosts Scottish exports to India

SCOTTISH EXPORTS to India could be boosted by the fast-rising rupee, with whisky producers and educational institutions among the biggest winners.

India's currency has leapt by 12% over the past year, with £1 sterling now buying just 77.47 rupees, almost 10 fewer than in January 2007.

This is seen as perfect timing for Scottish exporters, whose public sector agency the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) is due to visit Mumbai on a trade mission next month. Whisky, education, finance and IT are seen as the priorities as Scotland seeks to build on the £90 million in goods that were bought by the India in 2006.

advertisementThe SCDI's Niall Stuart said: "With India's annual economic growth running at almost double figures, there are huge opportunities to grow this market.

"In the short term, a stronger rupee can only help, as it makes Scottish goods and services more affordable for Indian businesses and consumers.

"The cost of doing a college or university course at a Scottish institution is effectively 10% cheaper than just over a year ago. The other positive factor is the gradual removal of trade tariffs."

That change has provided a double boost for whisky exporters, who saw an "additional duty" on imported spirits removed in July 2007 following a campaign by the UK government, the EU and World Trade Organisation.

In 2006, whisky exports to India were worth £24m, but analysts expect that figure to have risen when distillers release their figures for 2007.

"A growing economy and fairer access means that the Indian market is one of significant potential for Scotch whisky distillers," explained David Williamson of the Scotch Whisky Association.

"Indian consumers increasingly can afford and want to try Scotch whisky and other premium imported products."

What is good news for Scottish exporters is bad news for many Indian entrepreneurs, however. The strong rupee has led to job cuts across India's $125-billion-a-year export industry, which comprises a fifth of the economy, as more and more Indian exports become too expensive for Western buyers, forcing them look elsewhere for better deals, especially in China, India's biggest competitor and a country often criticised for artificially devaluing its own currency to remain competitive in global markets.

Also affected is India's outsourcing industry, one of the country's fastest-growing sectors. A steady increase in wages - as much as 25% in sectors desperate for skilled professionals - and the rising rupee are starting to limit the influx of Western firms seeking cheap labour for its call centre services and back-office support.

Some industry experts say that as many as four million jobs were lost last year due to the skyrocketing rupee, and that another four million are expected to lose their jobs in the coming months if the government continues to allow the rupee to rise.

"The rupee has to be stopped," said Ganesh Gupta, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, which represents about 14,000 export companies in India.

"I take 50 phone calls a day from exporters complaining that the rupee started appreciating during my tenure as president, as if I had something to do with it," he said.

"I'm an exporter myself and I understand their fear. Once a customer stops buying from India, it's hard to get them to come back."

NIALL Stuart of the SCDI confirmed that British companies were withdrawing call centres from India, but said this was because of problems with things like regional accents rather than the rupee. On the other hand, back-office work remains heavily outsourced to the subcontinent, and he said that there would have to be a sea change in the value of the rupee before the economic benefits would dry up.

Nevertheless, the overheated rupee threatens to slow down one of the world's fastest-growing economies, testing the theory that in a globalised market a strong currency is proof of a country's economic health.

So far, India's Reserve Bank has been watching the rupee from the sidelines. It has been reluctant to step in to devalue the rupee because, analysts say, it could worsen domestic inflation, making it even harder for the majority of India's 1.1 billion people, among the world's poorest, to buy basic necessities such as food and fuel.

Article Courtesy of Sunday Herald

 

Sunday Herald

Jan 03
2008

Consultation opens on Scotch whisky laws

UK government department, Defra, has launched a consultation on new legislation to protect Scotch whisky.

Trade bodies, distillers and distributors will all be asked for their views on the legislation, which aims to help protect Scotch whisky globally against counterfeiting and other misleading practices.

The proposed legislation principally tightens up the definitions of terms such as single malt or blended grain.

It also aims to give more specific geographical provenance, such as Highland or Islay, to the spirit and will make it impossible for whisky producers to name a distillery on the label unless the product comes from that particular distillery.

Des Browne, secretary of state for Scotland said: "Not only is Scotch whisky one of our most iconic products, it is also economically hugely significant with exports worth £2.5 billion each year.

"Once the proposed legislation is enacted, Scotch whisky, and in particular single malt Scotch whisky, will be defined by law in Scotland, the UK, the EU and nearly every export market around the globe."

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, added: "The legislation will put in place a robust and comprehensive legal framework for Scotch whisky, improving its protection from unfair practices globally, and ensuring consumers receive clear and consistent product information."

The consultation will close on March 25.

Article Courtesy of Drinks International

 

Drinks International

Jan 03
2008

Global Whisky Live Event a First for New Zealand

Kiwis who enjoy a quality dram will be spoilt for choice next month when global whisky festival Whisky Live hits our shores.

The international event has been run for the past eight years in major cities around the world including; London, Tokyo, Paris and Glasgow and will now head to Auckland for the first time courtesy of local distributor Bart Burgers.

Burgers has been involved in the whisky industry for seventeen years often conducting his own smaller whisky tastings at his two Auckland stores - he now has the international license for Whisky Live.

Whisky Live (February 16th at The Civic) provides New Zealanders with an international platform on which to sample the finest malts in the world, says Burgers.

"Whisky Live offers visitors the unique opportunity to taste and compare the greatest whiskies in the world, while mingling with industry celebrities, producers, and distillers, all within one venue," he says.

The full day event will feature themed areas with food and whisky combinations available to try live music and Masterclasses tutored by distillers and other leading whisky experts.

Renowned whisky writer and former editor of UK Whisky Magazine and Scotland Magazine Dominic Roskrow is one of the star guests on hand to host masterclasses.

With more than 100 whisky brands on hand and New Zealanders growing interest in whisky the event is bound to be a success, says Burgers.

"Anecdotally I'd say we've seen a 30% increase in whisky sales over the past five years. Last year spirit sales were up 4% locally with whisky one of the top five spirits consumed by volume according to the New Zealand Distilled Spirits Association," says Burgers.

Katey Rudlin from The Whisky Shop (one of the exhibitors taking part in the event) says an increasing number of women are also trying whisky. Rudlin estimates 25% of her current customers are female.

Burgers says whisky has more complex flavours than wine and there can be more variation between a glass of whisky than a glass of wine which makes it an ideal companion for food.

"Whisky Live is about great whisky and we've taken the opportunity to search high and low for the best whiskies to include in this event. This event is about appealing to the enthusiast and novice alike providing all who visit with the ultimate whisky experience."

"Tickets are available at www.ticketek.co.nz for more information please see www.whiskylive.co.nz

Article Courtesy of Scoop

 

Scoop

Jan 02
2008

Scotch whisky chief awarded Knighthood

Edrington Group chairman Ian Good has been awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Good, who joined the company in 1969 and the board in 1979, was honoured for his services to industry in Scotland.

The Edrington Group, whose brands include The Macallan and Famous Grouse, is said to be one of Scotland’s biggest private manufacturing companies and exports its products to 120 countries.

Good became chairman of the company in 1994, two years after he was awarded a CBE for services to Scotch whisky. He also served as chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association from 2001 to 2005.

Marks & Spencer chief, Stuart Rose was also awarded a Knighthood in the list for his services to retail industry and to corporate social responsibility.

The honours list was the first to be recommended by Gordon Brown since he became Prime Minister.

Article Courtesy of Off Licence News

 

Off Licence News



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