Are blends on the mend?

07 September, 2007

While blended whisky is still the best-selling spirit category in the UK off-trade, it has suffered another drop in sales.

The rate of decline has slowed a little, but - by contrast - off-trade vodka sales enjoyed almost double-digit growth, creeping closer and closer to the current king of the spirits aisle.

In the 12 months to Aug 8, there were just £42 million-worth of sales separating the two categories.

There's been no change in the top five brands - or their rankings - since 2006, and three of the five have seen sales dip, perhaps due to a lack of significant above-the-line investment outside the festive period.

The Famous Grouse - which has enjoyed a good year - continued its Six Nations rugby link-up and will sponsor this autumn's Rugby World Cup.

There was Father's Day activity both for Bell's and for William Grant's but - ­compared with vodka - there has been a notable lack of campaigns over the past 12 months.

Thank goodness for Glen Catrine's High Commissioner which, like sister brand Glen's vodka, has enjoyed the best sales growth of the top five brands without any major advertising activity.

Off-trade blended

whisky value

Year to

11/8/07: £737 million

Year to

15/7/06: £751 million

Change from Aug 2006: -1%

Top five blended whisky brands

1 Bell's -1%

2 Famous Grouse +5%

3 Teacher's


4 William Grant's


5 High Commissioner


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Reasons to be cheerful

I would like to think my outlook on things is generally optimistic. Perhaps that’s a natural consequence of working with something designed to give pleasure. But recently it has become increasingly difficult to ignore a creeping sense of negativity pervading the British wine trade.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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  • Don't know