Malt whisky gets original

Before we get letters suggesting our scoring system is on a par with the Olympic taekwondo tournament, let's clarify where LVMH-owned Glenmorangie stands in all this.

The period covered represents an overlap in the relaunch of the

malt from 10 Year Old to Original, explaining the dramatic collapse in sales of the former and number-two -from-nowhere for the latter.

Sales of the two versions combined,

come to £16.4 million, a small rise on 2007 and keeping

a firm position as

main rival to Glenfiddich at the top of the tree.

A decision by Glenmorangie to offload its Glen Moray blended whisky operation and focus on its core range of malts should see a continued serious challenge from the company and the brand in malt over the coming years.

Glenlivet continues to reflect the gains made by Pernod Ricard in sales of its key strategic brands and seems to have seen off the challenge of next-placed Laphroaig for now. Another year of 15%-plus growth will see it sneak on to the coat-tails of the leading two. Perhaps the key to success for other brands in the malt whisky market is simply to add the prefix Glen- to their name.

Talisker has broken out of the


malts fold and been given a bigger focus as part of Diageo's broader approach to its whisky portfolio, and the results are to be seen in a 20% uplift in sales.

Laphroaig sales stuttered despite Beam Global UK's innovative marketing campaign of educational tours and online whisky tasting.

Star performer

When Edrington relaunched Highland Park in 2006, at a cost of £750,000, its ambitions to double sales and enter the world top 10 within five years sounded like those of a pushy parent predicting futures as X-Factor champion and captain of the England football team for their teenage offspring.

Two years on, and the hopes are starting to look more like fact than fantasy if the UK off-trade is any indicator.

A new look for the main brand in the mainstream supermarket trade has been backed by a push on older expressions in the independent trade.

The 15 Year Old, which started in the UK, has been rolled out internationally and boosted sales of the brand overall.

Patronage of the Rebus author Ian Rankin has added an extra PR dimension among the target malt market.

If high double-digit growth can be sustained, then there's no reason why Highland Park shouldn't join the three Glens to establish a forceful quartet of malt brands in the UK market.

Malt Scotch

whisky in figures

Value: £130 million

(2007: £128 million)

Change: +1%

Volume: 48,000hl (2007: 49,000hl)

Change: -3%

Source: Nielsen year to Aug 9 2008

Top 10 imported whiskey brands

1 Jack Daniel's +14%

2 Jameson +8%

3 Jim Beam +5%

4 Bushmills -1%

5 Jim Beam Black -17%

6 Penderyn +24%

7 Redwood Canadian -46%

8 Old Samuel Bourbon -

9 Jameson 12 Year Old +15%

10 Canadian Club +27%

Top 10 malt

whisk y brands

1 Glenfiddich +5%

2 Glenmorangie Original -

3 The Glenlivet +17%


Glenmorangie 10 Year Old -64%


Laphroaig -4%


Highland Park +31%


Aberlour +6%


Glen Moray -32%


Isle of Jura +9%


Talisker +21%