Published Date: 31 May 2009
By William Lyons
THE new chief executive of Whyte & Mackay has revealed that the Scotch firm has secured a significant slice of the world’s largest whisky market in less than five months.
John Beard, who joined the company in March, said the distiller’s range of whiskies had already notched up a 13 per cent share in India’s single malt whisky sector since they were introduced at the start of the year.
Beard replaced Ashwin Malik, wADVERTISEMENTho has returned to India after helping to build Whyte & Mackay (W&M) following its £595 million acquisition in 2007 by Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya and his United Spirits group.
Speaking in his first major interview since taking the helm, Beard said the strategy was to reduce the firm’s dependency on the UK market while growing market share in India and the US. Central to this is a rebranding of its Glayva liqueur in a move that will see it go head to head with rival Drambuie in America. Other W&M products include Whyte and Mackay blended whisky, The Dalmore and Jura malts and vodka brands Vladivar and Pinky.
He said: “The UK has some quite significant issues related to taxation and everyone seems determined to tax the category continuously and therefore we need to look internationally. To date we have been quite dependent on the UK but that dependency is reducing year by year.
“India is a hugely attractive whisky market for the future and we have a route to market through United Spirits which really is quite remarkable. It has 60 per cent of the market, so six out of ten bottles of spirits sold in India come out of our parent company.
“Already we have gained a 13% share of the malt whisky category which in time will be a very, very significant profit opportunity.
“If you compare India to China the interesting comparison is that China is not only about whisky but cognac whereas in India whisky is what consumers drink.”
W&M made pre-tax profits of £25.58m during the 18 months to March 31, 2008, compared with losses of £2.19m in the previous year, according to its last reported results.
This month it entered a “strategic partnership” with Snow Leopard vodka, a Polish-produced luxury brand.
The full article contains 389 words and appears in Scotland On Sunday newspaper.Page 1 of 1
Last Updated: 30 May 2009 1:33 PM
Source: Scotland On Sunday
Related Topics: Scotsman Whisky