Distillers Company Limited, afgekort D.C.L. is de voorloper van Diageo.
1877 Distillers Company Limited (D.C.L.) wordt opgericht door zes graan distilleerderijen:
Port Dundas:D. McFarlane & Co
Carsebridge:John Bald & Co
Cambus: Robert Moubray
Kirkliston:Stewart & Co
1886 D.C.L. wordt naar de effectenbeurs gebracht
1912 D.C.L. neemt Ainslie & Heilbron Ltd :over
1917 D.C.L. neemt J. & G. Stewart over
1919 D.C.L. neemt John Haig & Co over
D.C.L. neemt Andrew Usher & Co Ltd over
1920 D.C.L. neemt Bulloch & Lade over
1921 D.C.L. neemt James Calder & Co over
1922 DC.L. neemt samen met Walker en Buchanan Robertson & Baxter over
1924 D.C.L. neemt Peter Dawson over
D.C.L. neemt John Haig over
1925 The Big Amalgation:
D.C.L. gaat samen met Buchanan-Dewar en Walker
1925 D.C.L. neemt W.P. Lowrie & Co over
1925 D.C.L. neemt Scottish Malt Distillers over, gesticht door Clydesdale, Glenkinchie, Rosebank, St. Magdalene en Grange.
1925 D.C.L. neemt Macdonald, Greenlees & Williams over
1927 D.C.L. neemt White Horse Distillers over
1929 D.C.L. neemt Benmore Distilleries Ltd over, eigenaars van Benmore, Dallas Dhu Lochhead en Lochindaal
1937 D.C.L. neemt Sanderson & Booth over
1944 D.C.L. neemt A. & A. Crawford over
1953 D.C.L. neemt Train & Mclntyre over
1963 D.C.L. neemt John Crabbie & Co, Ltd over
1982 D.C.L. brengt de serie 'The Ascot Malt Cellar' uit: Rosebank 8 years old, Linkwood12 years old,
Talisker 8 years old, Lagavulin 12 years old, en twee vatted malts Strathconnan en Glenleven,
dit was de voorloper van de 'Six Classic Malts'
1986 D.C.L. verkoopt A. & A. Crawford aan Whyte & Mackay
1986 Argyll biedt £ 2,5 biljoen voor D.C.L.
1987 D.C.L. wordt tegen zijn zin overgenomen door Guinness
1756 Arthur Guinness & Son & Co wordt gesticht
1985 Guinness Group neemt tegen hun zin Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd over voor £ 356 miljoen
1988 Arthur Bell & Sons en de Distillers Company Limited (D.C.L.) worden samengevoegd en de nieuwe naam wordt United Distillers Ltd
1988 United Distillers Ltd brengt de 'Six Classic Malts' uit: Glenkichie 10 years old,Dalwhinnie 15 years old, Cragganmore 12 years old, Oban 14 years old, Talisker 10 years old en Lagavulin 16
years old .'Mike Collings and Roy MacMillan were given the task to increase the presence in the single malt segment and they came with the idea of The Classic Malts of Scotland, Mike Collings also developed the Rare Malts concept as marketing director of United Distillers.
1990 Guinness en L V M H nemen over en weer voor 12 % aandelen in elkaar
1993 United Distillers verkoopt Benromach aan Gordon & Macphail, Elgin
1997 Guinness en Grand Metropolitan fuseren, de nieuwe naam wordt Diageo, en United Distillers en International Distillers and Vintners (I.D.V.) worden samengevoegd en gaan verder als United Distillers & Vintners (U.D.V.)
1998 Diageo verkoopt Dewars en Bombay aan Bacardi voor £ 1.150 miljoen
2001 Pernod Ricard en Diageo kopen Seagram Spirits & Wine van Vivendi Universal voor £ 5.710 miljoen . De Chivas groep komt bij Pernod Ricard
2004 Moet Hennessy, het eigendom van Diageo en L V M H koopt Glenmorangie plc voor £ 300 miljoen
2005 Pernod Ricard verkoopt Bushmills aan Diageo
FLORA & FAUNA
In 1982 The Ascot Malt Cellar was launched with Rosebank 8 years, Linkwood 12 years,
Talisker 8 years, Lagavulin 12 years and 2 vatted MaltsStrathconnan and Glenleven
Created in 1988 by United Distillers (= Diageo) the Flora & Fauna series was a range of whiskies
from distilleries rarely bottled as single malt and bottled between 10 and 16 years old from
Aberfeldy, Auchroisk, Aultmore, Balmenach, Benrinnes, Bladnoch, Blair Athol,
Caol Ila, Clynelish, Craigellachie, Dailuaine, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glen Elgin, Glenlossie,
Glen Spey, Inchgower, Linkwood, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Pittyvaich, Rosebank, Royal Brackla,
Speyburn, Strathmill, Teaninich.
In 2006 came a new Collection: Glenkinchie, Clynelish, Caol Ila, Talisker, Glen Elgin, Glen Ord.
In 1997 the Cask Strenght Series: Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Clynelish, Dailuaine,
Linkwood, Mortlach, Rosebank.
THE NEW COLLECTION uit
Glenkinchie, 10; years old 43 %
Clynelish, 14 years old 46 %
Caol Ila, 12 years old 43 %
Talisker, 10 years old 45,8 %
Glen Elgin, 12 years old 43 %
Glen Ord, 12 years old 43 %
Flora and Fauna Cask Strength Complete Collection
Released alongside the Flora and Fauna range, this is the full cask strength collection in its entirety.
A very rare slice of whisky history.
Mortlach 1980 bottled 1997 63.1% : bottle number 01124
Rosebank 1981 bottled 1997 63.9% : bottle number 00448
Clynelish 1982 bottled 1997 57.7% : bottle number 00960
Aultmore 1983 bottled 1997 58.8% : bottle number 01437
Dailuaine 1980 bottled 1997 65% : bottle number 02659
Caol Ila 1981 bottled 1997 63.8% : bottle number 00857
Blair Athol 1981 bottled 1997 55.5% : bottle number 00533
Aberfeldy 1980 bottled 1997 62% : bottle number 02994
Linkwood 1983 bottled 1997 59.8% : bottle number 00567
Onderstaande distilleerderijen zijn of waren in het bezit van Distillers Company Limited, (D.C.L.) Scottish Malt Distillers Limitd, (S.M.D.), Guinness, Diageo, United Distillers & Vintners. (U.D.V.)
1 = Distilleerderij
2 = gesticht in
3 = overgenomen door D.C.L, S.M.D, Guinness, Diageo, U.D.V.
4 / 5 = in de mottenballen sinds; verkocht aan
1 2 3 4 / 5
Aberfeldy 1896 1925 1998 Bacardi Martini neemt John Dewar & Sons over voor £ 1.150 miljoen, inclusief vijf distilleerderijen .
Ardbeg 1794 1973 D.C.L neemt, samen met Hiram Walker Ardbeg over voor £300.000 .
Auchroisk 1972 1997 Grand Metropilitan en Diageo fuseren
Aultmore 1896 1925 Dewar & Sons wordt onderdeel van D.C.L.
Balmenach 1824 1925 1993 1997 Inver House Distillers
Banff 1824 1932 S.M.D onderdeel van D.C.L. koopt Banff
. 1993 1985 wordt gesloopt
Benrinnes 1826 1925 John Dewar & Sons wordt onderdeel van D.C.L.
Benromach 1898 1953 1983 1993 Gordon & Macphail, Elgin
Bladnoch 1817 1985 Guinness Group neemt Arthur Bell & Sons over
. 1993 1994 Raymond Armstrong
Blair Athol 1798 1985 Guinness Group neemt Arthur Bell & Sons over
Brora 1819 de naam is dan Clynelish
. D.C.L. neemt samen met John Risk Ainslie & Heilbron over
. 1925 D.C.L.koopt James Risk uit
. 1967 een nieuwe distilleerderij wordt gebouwd, naast de oude, beiden produceren onder de naam Clynelish
. 1968 de 'oude' Clynelish gaat in de mottenballen
. 1969 de ‚oude' Clynelish wordt weer opgestart, nu als Clynelish No. 2 en ook Clynelish B
. 1972 Clynelish B gebruikt vanaf heden zwaar geturfrookte mout , v
. 1975 vanaf heden wordt Clynelish B, Brora genoemd
. 1983 Brora wordt gesloten
Caol Ila 1846 1920 Bulloch Lade & Co gaat in liquidatie, D.C.L. Robertson & John Dewar & Sons worden de nieuwe eigenaars
. 1927 D.L.C. wordt de alleen eigenaar
Cardhu 1824 1925 John Walker & Sons gaat deel uitmaken van D.C.L
Clynelish 1967 zie ook Brora
Coleburn 1897 1916 een consortium bestaande uit D.C.L. John Risk en John Walker, wordt eigenaar van Coleburn .
. 1985 2004 het gebouwencomplex wordt verkocht aan de gebroeders Dale . en Mark Winchester, die er een activiteiten centrum van willen maken met een hotel
Convalmore 1893 1925 D.C.L neem t James Buchanan & Co over
. 1985 1990 William Grant & Sons nemen Convalmore over, om te gebruiken als lagerpakhuis voor hun Glenfiddich en Balvenie malt . .
Cragganmore 1869 1927 White Horse Distillers wordt overgenomen door D.C.L. en D.C.L komt zo in het bezit van 50 % in Cragganmore . &p^�p^���� Ƣ�^��^�@�^�sp;
. 1965 D.C.L.word t de alleen eigenaar
Craigellachie 1891 1927 White Horse Distillers wordt overgenomen door D.C.L.
. 1998 U.D.V. verkoopt Craigellachie, Aberfeldy, Royal Brackla, Aultmore en John Dewar & Sons aan Bacardi Martini .
Dailuaine 1852 1925
Dallas Dhu 1898 1929 D.C.L. neemt Benmore Distilleries Ltd over
. 1983 1986 Historic Scotland wordt nieuwe eigenaar, en maakt er een toeritische attractie van .
Dalwhinnie 1897 1926 MacDonald & Greenlees & Williams Ltd, wordt overgenomen door D.C.L
Dufftown 1895 1985 Guinness neemt Arthur Bell & Sons over
Glen Albyn 1844 1972 D.C.L. Neemt Mackinlay & Birnie Ltd over
. 1983 1986 gesloopt
Glendullan 1896 1926 D.C.L. neemt MacDonald Greenlees & Williams Ltd over
. 1972 een nieuwe distilleerderij wordt gebouwd naast de oude, beiden zijn in bedrijf .
. 1985 oudste distilleerderij gaat in de mottenballen
Glen Elgin 1898 1930 S.M.D.neemt Glen Elgin over
Glenesk 1897 1954 D.C.L.neemt Glenesk over, om te gebruiken als lager-pakhuizen. . .
De mouterij blijft in gebruik.
. 1959 de grain distilleerderij wordt weer opgestart
. 1964 de malt distilleerderij weer opgestart
Glen Garioch 1797 1937 D.C.L.neemt Booth Distilleries Ltd over, gin producent, die in 1908 W. Sanderson, van V A T 69 had overgenomen
. 1968 1970 Stanley P. Morrison Ltd (van Bowmore)
Glenkinchie 1825 1925 D.C.L. neemt S.M.D. over (toen Glenkinchie,Rosebank, Clydesdale, . St. Magdalene en Grange)
Glenlochy 1898 1953 D.C.L.neemt Train & Mclntyre over
. 1983 1992 West Coast Inns Ltd, er wordt een hotel gebouwd, de kiln en pagoda moeten blijven staan: historisch erfgoed &p^�p^���� Ƣ�^��^�@�^�sp;
Glenlossie 1876 1919
. 1971 er wordt een nieuwe distilleerderij naast gebouwd, Mannochmore . beide distillederijen zijn in bedrijf
Glen Mhor 1892 1972 D.C.L. neemt Mackinlay & Birnie Ltd over
. 1983 1986 gesloopt
Glen Ord 1838 1925 John Dewar & Sons wordt deel van D.C.L.
Glen Spey 1878 1997 Diageo en Grand Metrpolitan fuseren
Glentauchers 1897 1925 Buchanan - Dewar gaan deel uitmaken van D.C.L.
. 1985 1989 U.D.V. verkoopt Glentauchers aan Caledonian Malt Whisky Distillers, onderdeel van Allied Distillers .
Glenury Royal 1825 1953 D.C.L.neemt Associated Scottish Malt Distillers over
. 1985 1992 het gebouwencomplex wordt verkocht aan een onroerendgoed maatschappij .
Imperial 1897 1916 D.C.L. koopt samen met Dewar, Walker en J.P. Lowrie Dailuaine - Talisker Distilleries Ltd
. 1925 de distilleerderij sluit, de mouterij blijft in bedrijf
. 1955 de distilleerderij wordt weer opgestart
. 1985 1989 Allied Distillers
. 1988 in de mottenballen
. 1991 de distilleerderij wordt weer opgestart
Inchgower 1871 1985 Guinnees s neemt Arthur Bell & Sons over
Knockando 1898 1997 Guinness en Grand Metropiltan fuseren en vormen Diageo
Knockdhu 1893 1983 1988 Inver House
. 1989 de distilleerderij wordt weer opgestart
Lagavulin 1816 1908 Malt Mill gebouwd binnen Lagavulin complex
. 1927 White Horse Distillers gaat deel uitmaken van D.C.L.
. 1960 Malt Mill sluit en is nu het bezoekerscentrum van Lagavulin
Linkwood 1821 1932
. 1971 een nieuwe distilleerderij wordt naast de oude gebouwd: Linkwood B, beiden zijn in bedrijf .
Millburn 1805 1937 Sanderson & Booth (van respectievelijk V A T 69 en de gin producent) worden overgenomen door D.C.L. .
. 1985 1988 wordt restaurant: The Auld Distillery
Mortlach ^�p^���� Ƣ�^��^�@�^�bsp; D.C.L.. neemt John Walker & Sons over
North Port 1820 1922 D.C.L.. neemt W.H. Holt Ltd over
. 1983 1993 gesloopt
Oban 1793 1925 D.C.L. neemt Buchanan Dewar over
Pittyvaich 1974 1985 Guinness neemt Arthur Bell & Sons over
. 1983 2002 gesloopt
Port Ellen 1825 1925 Buchanan - Dewar gaan deel uitmaken van D.C.L.
. 1983 1987 gesloten, mouterij blijft in bedrijf t.b.v. de overige distilleerderijen op Islay .
Pulteney 1826 1925 Buchanan - Dewar gaan deel uitmaken van D.C.L.
. 1951Robert Cumming, die ook Balblair koopt
Rosebank 1798 1919 D.C.L. neemt S.M.D. over (toen Glenkichie, Clydedale, Rosebank, St. Magdalene en Grange)
. 1993 2002 British Waterways, die er een restaurant, kantoren en flats willen gaan bouwen .
. 1812 1943 S.M.D. neemt John Bisset & Company Ltd 1985
. 1991 de distilleerderij wordt weer opgestart
. 1998 Bacardi Martini neemt John Dewar & Sons,
. over van Diageo, en daarmee ook de distilleerderijen, Brackla, Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie .
1823 1925 John Dewar & Sons gaat deel uitmaken van D.C.L.
1795 1912 D.C.L.. neemt A. & J Dawson over
. 1914 St. Magdalene is één van de vijf stichters van S.M.D. ; samen met Rosebank, Grange, Clydesdale en Glenkichie .
1995 en 2002 verbouwd tot luxe flats
Speyburn 1897 1916 D.C.L neemt John Hopkins & Co over
. 1991 Inver House Distillers
Strathmill1891 1997 Grand Metropolitan fuseren en vormen Diageo
Talisker 1830 1916 D.C.L, John Walker, John Dewar en W.P. Lowrie nemen Dailuaine - Talisker Distilleries over, waarbij ook distilleerderij Imperial .
Teaninich1817 1970 D.C.L. koopt Teaninich van de erven van Robert Innes Cameron een nieuwe distilleerderij wordt gebouwd naast de oude: A Side
. 1984 oude distilleerderij (B Side) gaat in de mottenballen
. 1985 A Side gaat in de mottenbaleen.
Tobermory1798 1916 D.C.L.. neemt John Hopkins & Company over
DISTILLERS COMPANY LIMITED
1. Ainslie & Heilbron (Distillers) Ltd, Glasgow
2. Baird - Taylor Ltd, Glasgow
3. John Begg Ltd, Glasgow
4. Benmore Distillers ltd, Glasgow
5. J.A. Bertram & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
6. John Bisset & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
7. James Buchanan & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
8. Bulloch Lade & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
9. Geo. Cowie & Son, Dufftown
10. John Crabbie & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
11. Craighall Bonding Co, Ltd, Glasgow
12. A. & A. Crawford & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
13. Daniel Crawford & Co. Ltd, Glasgow
14. The Distillers Agency Ltd, South Queens - ferry
15. Peter Dawson Ltd, Glasgow
16. John Dewar & Sons Ltd, Perth
17. A. Ferguson & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
18. Donald Fisher Ltd, Edinburgh
19. John Gillon & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
20. Wm. Greer & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
21. John Haig & Co, Ltd, Fife
22. J.W. Hardie Ltd, Edinburgh
23. J.R. Harvey & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
24. John Hopkins & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
25. Low Robertson & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
26. W.P. Lowrie & Co, Ltd Glasgow
27. Macdonald Greenlees Ltd, Edinburgh
28. Macleay Duff (Distillers) Ltd, Glasgow
29. D. & J. McCallum Ltd, Edinburgh
30. John McEwan & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
31. Mitchell Bross, Ltd, Glasgow
32. Jas. Munro & Son Ltd, Edinburgh
33. John Robertson & Son Ltd, Edinburgh
34. Wm. Sanderson & Son Ltd, Edinburgh
35. Slater, Rodger & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
36. J. & G. Stewart Ltd, Edinburgh
37. R.H. Thomson & Co, (Distillers) Ltd, Edinburgh
38. John Walker & Sons Ltd, London
39. James Watson & Co, Ltd, Dundee\
40. White Horse Distillers Ltd, Glasgow
41. Wright & Greig Ltd, Glasgow
42. J.R. Harvey & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
43. John Hopkins & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
44. Low Robertson & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
45. W.P. Lowrie & Co, Ltd Glasgow
46. Macdonald Greenlees Ltd, Edinburgh
47. Macleay Duff (Distillers) Ltd, Glasgow
48. D. & J. McCallum Ltd, Edinburgh
49. John McEwan & Co, Ltd, Edinburgh
50. Mitchell Bross, Ltd, Glasgow
51. Jas. Munro & Son Ltd, Edinburgh
52. John Robertson & Son Ltd, Edinburgh
53. Wm. Sanderson & Son Ltd, Edinburgh
54. Slater, Rodger & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
55. J. & G. Stewart Ltd, Edinburgh
56. R.H. Thomson & Co, (Distillers) Ltd, Edinburgh
57. John Walker & Sons Ltd, London
58. James Watson & Co, Ltd, Dundee\
59. White Horse Distillers Ltd, Glasgow
60. Wright & Greig Ltd, Glasgow
Diageo / L M V H
Diageo leek altijd een buitengewoon saai bedrijf met weinig vreemd vermogen. Maar hetzelfde conservatisme zou 's werelds grootste drankenproducent nu wel eens kunnen
helpen om de 10 miljard Euro of meer te vinden die nodig zijn om de drankendivisie van L M V H over te nemen. Althans als de Franse luxegoederenproducent die ook wil verkopen.
Voor Diageo is het zeker zinvol de 66 % van Moet Hennessy te kopen die nog niet in zijn bezit is. Dat wat Diageo - topman Paul Walsh een "luxepremie" noemt, kan een krachtige
verdediging van de winstmarge opleveren tegen de toenemende "normalisering"van de bedrijfstak.
De cognacs en champagnes van Moet Hennessy hebben immers een zeer luxueuze uitstraling.
Diageo kan bogen op een betrekkelijk sterke balans; de netto schuld komt overeen met 2,5 maal de winst vóór belastingen. Nu de kapitaalmarkten weer wat meer opengaan, kan Diageo
De financiering van een deal waarschijnlijk wel rond krijgen, voor gelijke delen in schulden en aandelen . het vooruitzicht op synergievoordelen stelt Diageo in staat een aantrekkelijk bod
uit te brengen - misschien wel 12,5 maal de winst, na aftrek van de marketing kosten, hetgeen Bacardi in 2004 ook voor Grey Goose heeft betaald - zonder concessies te hoeven doen aan de winst.
Bovendien heeft Diageo alle redenen om een transactie erdoor te drukken. De handen van het concern zijn gebonden door een ingewikkelde aandeelhoudersovereenkomst rondom Moet
Hennessy.Het mag geen andere cognacproducenten overnemen, en kan niet onder de huidige regeling uit zonder een hoge boete te moeten betalen.
Maar Diageo heeft wel een partner nodig. En ook al gonst de markt van de geruchten, er is voor L M V H geen voor de hand liggende reden om mee te doen. Hoewel de drankenomzet
van het concern door het opmaken van de voorraden in het eerste kwartaal met maar liefst 22 procent is gedaald, maakt de devisie over het algemeen een zeer solide indruk, zeker in verge-
lijking met de veel temperamentvollere modemerken van L M V H en L V M H heeft het geld beslist niet nodig. De schuldenlast bedroeg eind 2008 slechts 28 procent van het aandelenkapitaal.
Diageo / L M V H
Het concern mag dan wellicht overnameplannen hebben, de aanlokkelijkste kandidaten bijvoorbeeld Hermes of Patek Phillipe - lijken buiten bereik te liggen, omdat ze zijn opgesloten in complexe structuren van familieaandeelhouders
Diageo kan en wil Moet Hennessy misschien wel overnemen van L M V H, maar als Bernard Arnault, de grootste aandeelhouder van dat concern, niet van gedachten verandert, zal die wens voorlopig onvervuld blijven.
Bryan Donaghey, directeur Schotland maakt bekent dat Port Dundas, Dundashill Cooperage en Kilmarnoc Packaging worden gesloten, dit gaat ten koste van veel banen
De emballage fabriek te Fife wordt uitgebreid en komen er 400 nieuwe arbeidsplaatsen bij, te Clackmannanshire wordt een nieuwe kuiperij gesticht
In Cameronbridge Distillery te Fife wordt doorlopend geïnvesteerd: de afgelopen twee jaar was dir 40.000.000 Pound, en voor de komende tijd is 65.000.000 Pound geplant
In de zomer van 2011 wordt voor 9.000.000 Pound een nieuwe kuiperij gebouwd te Cambus bij Alloa
De kuiperij van Carsebridge wordt gesloten
Diageo vermindert de emballage fabrieken van drie naar twee
De investeringen worden geconcentreerd op twee lokaties: Glasgow en Fife
Er gaat 86.000.000 naar de Leven Packaging Plant te Fife
In de Shieldhall Packaging Plant te Glasgow was al 15.000.000 Pounds geïnvesteerd, hierbij komen nog 3.000.000 Pound
Onderstaande 28 distilleerderijen zijn nu het eigendom van Diageo:
Capaciteit in liters pure alcohol:
Blair Athol: 1940.000
Dufftown : 4120.000
Glen Elgin: 1830.000
Glen Ord: 5000.000
Diageo and United Spirits (owner of Whyte & Mackay) confirmed that they were involved in a possible collaboration The outcome could be that United Spirits sells a 15 % stake Diageo.
April It is said that Diageo was interested in the Spirits division of L V M H Diageo had already a 34 % stake in Moet Hennessy, L V M H wants 10.6 billion Pound,
July China Investment Corp acquired 1.1 % of Diageo valued $365 million
SPECIAL RELEASES October 2009:
Benrinnes 1985 - 2009 23 years old 58.5 % 6000 flessen
Brora 30 years old 53.2 % 2958 flessen
Mannochmore 1990 - 2009 18 years old 54.9 % 2604 flessen
Pittyvaich 1989 - 2009 20 years old 57.5 % 6000 flessen
Port Ellen 1979 - 2009 30 years old 57.5 % 5916 flessen
Talisker 25 years old 54.8 % 5862 flessen
Talisker 30 years old 53.1 % 3000 flessen
Caol Ila 1998 - 2009 10 years old 65.8 % 6000 flessen
The Manager's Choice Single Cask Selection
Op 17 februari jl. heeft de Blair Athol distilleerderij in de Schotse Hooglanden geschiedenis geschreven met een nieuwe speciale botteling.
Op die dag in februari zijn een selecte groep distilleerderijmanagers en zintuiglijke whiskyexperts bij elkaar gekomen om handgeselecteerde single malt vaten uit 27 distilleerderijen te beoordelen.
Ze hadden één resultaat in gedachten; welke vaten hiervan zijn exceptioneel ? cask strenght als:
The Manager's Choice Single Cask Selection
Er komen vier releases:
1e Release in September 2009:
1997 Cardhu, gerijpt in een Bourbon Barrel: 57.3 % - 252 flessen gebotteld
1998 Glen Elgin, gerijpt in een Sherry Butt: 61.1 % - 534 flessen gebotteld
1996 Linkwood gerijpt in een Bourbon Barrel: 58.3 % - 480 flessen gebotteld
1997 Mortlach gerijpt in een Sherry Butt: 57.3 % - 240 flessen gebotteld
2000 Oban gerijpt in een Sherry Butt: 58.7 % - 534 flessen gebotteld
1996 Teaninich gerijpt in een Bourbon Barrel: 55.3 % - 246 flessen gebotteld
De 2e Release volgt in Januari 2010 met:
Blair Athol, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glen Spey, Strathmill en Talisker
In Maart 2010 volgt de 3e Release: Caol Ila, Dailuaine, Glen Ord, Glenkinchie, Inchgower,Mannochmore en Royal Lochnagar
De 4e Release komt uit in Juni 2010: Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Clynelish, Glendullan, Glenlossie, Knockando en Lagavulin
Totaal gaat het om 27 verschillende Single Malt Whiskies, tot nu toe zijn er dus 26 bekend nummer 27 zou kunnen zijn Dufftown en wellicht Roseisle ? !
Roseisle Distillery will be officially opened on 11 October by chief executive Paul Wash. The site near Elgin is capable of producing up to 12,6 million litres of Speyside single malt whisky each year and is designed to quench the thirst of the growing number of Scotch drinkers in Africa, Asia
28 June 2011
Diageo has plans for a 10 million pounds to redevelop his Dailuaine distillery to help increase the whisky production.
The plans would see an upgrade of the existing bio - plant at Dailuaine distillery which deals with whisky by - products from a number of distilleries from the group opening the potential for future production capacity increases in Speyside.It is also possible that the investments could rise to about 20 million pounds to increase capacity at other distilleries by more than 10 million litres per annum.
10.000 litres of nitric acid spiled from a container, some of the acid mixed with water releasing dangerous gases into an outer safety tank.
Cameronbridge grain whisky is used in Diageo's brands Johnnie Walker, J & B, Haig and White Horse blends. Also the neutral grain spirit for Archers, Pimm's Smirnoff and the gin's Gordon and Tanqueray
8 September 2012
Diageo plc, United Breweries (Holdings)and United Spirits Limited have announced that Diageo acquires a 27.4 % stake in U S L = United Spirits Ltd from the Indian owner Vijay Mallya, which is 660.000.000 pound and would gives Diageo a 53.4 % and also controllingstake in the holding if public shareholders accept the offer. Vijay Mallya also owns the lossmaking Indian airline Kingfisher
Diageo will pay 25.000.000 for its share of the Joint Venture. Vijay Mallya will retain as a chairman.Vijay Mallya is also owner of Whyte & Mackay Distillers in Scotland .
Diageo and Vijay Mallya have also agreed to form a 50 / 50 Joint Venture who will own United National Breweries beer business in South Africa.
20 August 2012
Diageo prepares a bid for Jose Cuervo, the oldest and best selling Tequilla in the world.
Diageo already distributes Cuervo worldwide
Diageo also invested a 14.000.000 pound in the Vietnamese Hanoi Liqueur Joint Stock Company and has bought Ypioca, Brazil's leading Brand for a 300.000.000 pound.
And Diageo will also invest 5.000.000.000 pound in Scotch Whisky production over the next 5 years.
Diageo has named Teaninich near Alness as the location for its plans to build a new 50 million pound new malt whisky distillery and will be adjacent the existing Teaninich distillery
but will have its own name and indentity and will have the capacity to produce 13 million litres of spirit p[er annum from its 16 stills. Diageo also invest 12 million pound in expanding the Teaninich distillery to almost doubless capacity.The site will also feature a bio - energy plant.The work will begin in 2014.
Diageo also will invest in Mortlach distillery in building a new still house and an other investment will be at Glendullan distillery to process co products in an anaerobic digestion process,
producing bio - gas which will be used to power the Glendullan distillery.
There are also expansion and upgrade developments for more then 40 million pound in Linkwood, Mannochmore, Glendullan, Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Inchgower, Cragganmore, Glen Elgin, Glen Ord and in a new bio - energie plants in Glenlossie and Dailuaine. Also new warehouses are build at Cluny near Kirkcaldy. And at Talisker a new visitor centre is build for a 1 million pound.
8 June 2013
U.S. Diageo has purchased Cabin Fever Maple Flavoured Whisky from the Robillard Family to capitalise on two grow trends in the U.S. flavoured whiskey and craft distilling products.
The Brand will be the newest addition to Diageo's Catalyst Division which focuses on what Diageo calls "High Potential Brands".
6 May 2013
Ivan Menezes will succeed Paul Walsh as new leader of Diageo on 1 July 2013. Paul Walsh will step down from the Board on September 2013 and retire from Diageo on 30 June 2014.
Ivan Menezes is member of the board and joined Diageo in 1997.
THE MANAGER'S CHOICE / SINGLE CASK SELECTION
Diageo completes £150m warehouse complex 08 November, 2013
Diageo has completed the construction of a new £150m warehouse complex in Fife, as part of last year's pledge to invest £1bn in its Scotch operations over a five-year period.
The 545 acre Cluny Bond development at Begg Farm near Kirkcaldy, includes 46 warehousing units - each of which will store up to 60,000 casks - and will house the additional spirit needed to meet demand for its major brands such as the 18.9m 9-litre case Johnnie Walker.
In addition to the two completed warehouses, Diageo reported a further five will be operational in Spring 2014 with others being completed throughout 2014.The world's largest drinks group also recently invested at its Blackgrange facility in Clackmannanshie taking overall investment in warehousing to £180m.The new Fife complex will create 25 direct Diageo jobs on site, as well as a potential further 15-20 indirect jobs in the area.
Harry Fox, Diageo's operations director for warehouse and blending, said: "Over the next few months we will be transporting thousands of casks of Scotch whisky for storage here, where they will be locked away and left to mature before making their way to the 180 countries around the world where the demand for Diageo's brands is growing on a daily basis."Diageo has more than 1,200 people working for the company in share their commitment to continue to ensure the area plays a key role in the Scotch whisky success story."
DIAGEO, Scotland's biggest whisky distiller, has offered to sell most of rival Whyte & Mackay, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said today.The FTSE 100 group gained control of Glasgow-based Whyte & Mackay after buying Indian conglomerate United Spirits. Diageo has offered to sell Whyte & Mackay's blended whisky business and retain two malt distilleries.
Diageo's Bell's brand and Whyte & Mackay's eponymous blend are major competitors and the OFT said retailers had expressed concern that the tie-up would lessen competition.
Chris Walters, the OFT's chief economist and decision maker in the case, said: "These companies are two of the leading suppliers of blended bottled whisky in the UK, especially to supermarkets and other large retailers.
"Our investigation considered a wide range of evidence and we concluded that the likely loss of competition could give rise to higher prices for retailers, and ultimately consumers.
"We are now considering Diageo's offer to sell the bulk of the Whyte & Mackay business with the exception of two malt distilleries, to address our concerns."
Diageo to release The Beast
Diageo has told the trade it will rerelease Mortlach single malt scotch next year, a dram dubbed "The Beast of Dufftown".
In recent years the Speyside distillery's heavy, dark whisky was reserved for blending and has only been made available in very limited numbers as a single malt, but the Dufftown site will now see capacity doubled from 3.8m to 7.6m litres in a project costing £18m.
From mid-2014 the distillery will be renewed and expanded, while the rebranded single-malt will be made available in global markets.
Mortlach single malt will be aimed at global travel retail and the luxury and connoisseur segments and will be released in four expressions: Rare Old, Special Strength, 18 YO and 25 YO.
Diageo will continue to use the distillery's output for its blended whiskies.
Details of distribution and price will be disclosed in February 2014.
Rare Old (43% abv) will have an "affordable luxury price", Nick Morgan, head of whiskies outreach at Diageo, told and has been aged in a combination of refilled and first fill American and European oak.
Special Strength (49% abv) is a higher proof version of Rare Old, the 18YO (43.4% abv) has been aged in first fill and refill European and American oak, while the 25YO (43.4% abv) was matured in American refill casks but has the character of European oak, said Morgan.
According to Diageo, Mortlach is produced by an "astonishingly complicated and unique distillation process", which has been explained as '2.81 distilled', as most but not all of the whisky is distilled three times.
Dave Broom, said of Mortlach single malt in his The World Atlas of Whisky (2010): "At its best in European oak - it has the muscle to cope - Mortlach has become a cult single malt, but is unlikely ever to be a front-line player because its individuality is too highly prized by blenders."This throwback to the old days, days before Dufftown even existed, is at the foundation of many famous blends. It is the dark reduction of whisky to some primal essence."
Diageo to reinvent Mortlach with £30m investment
Scotland's biggest whisky maker has this evening unveiled plans to breath fresh life into one of Speyside's oldest distilleries by launching a single malt made at Mortlach, described as "the beast of Dufftown".
Diageo - which owns blended brands including Bell's, J&B and Johnnie Walker - will pump nearly £30 million into building a second still house at Mortlach to replicate the complex shape of distillery's stills.
Up until now, only a few bottles of Mortlach single malt have been released to connoisseurs, with the vast majority of production going towards blends.
Next summer, four versions of the Scotch - rare old, special strength, 18-year-old and 25-year-old - will be sold to the duty-free and luxury markets.
The FTSE 100 group - which also makes Gordon's gin, Guinness stout and Smirnoff vodka - said that the investment would form part of the £1 billion expansion plan unveiled last year.
The company revealed in April that its investment programme would include expansion on Speyside and has now unveiled details of the scheme.
Diageo said: "Mortlach has been described by whisky connoisseurs as 'The Beast of Dufftown', for its rich and powerful flavours, produced in an astonishingly complicated and unique distillation process.
"For decades, Mortlach's output has been largely captured by blenders to add its unique notes to complex blended Scotch whiskies - though in recent times, a very limited number of bottles of Mortlach single malt whisky have been available, and sold rapidly to connoisseurs in the know.
"But now for the first time, and in response to suggestions over the years that such a rewarding single malt whisky deserved a wider market, it will be available in global markets in four expressions aimed at global travel and the luxury and connoisseur segment."
Court threat to Diageo's Indian deal
Diageo: Fighting court battle against stalled India deal.
Spirits giant Diageo pledged yesterday to fight an Indian legal decision that has stalled a deal giving the British group control of United Spirits, the country's biggest drinks business.
The court made the decision last Friday in response to a petition by creditors involved with the transaction.
Diageo and United Breweries, the Indian holding firm that sold its shares in United Spirits (USL) to the British company, both said they planned to appeal the decision.
The deal has been caught up in a separate legal battle involving India's Kingfisher Airlines. Kingfisher and United Breweries are part of Indian business magnate Dr Vijay Mallya's corporate empire.
The airline has been grounded since 2012 and is unable to pay off its loans, with United Breweries becoming a guarantor for its debts. Kingfisher creditors trying to get their money back petitioned for the deal between USL and Diageo to be stopped.
Diageo said in a statement: "We are disappointed, as a bona fide purchaser for value of the USL shares, that we have been brought into the private dispute between Kingfisher Airlines and its creditors. Once we receive the full written order of the Court of Appeal, we will review the detail of that order."
Drinks analysts were sceptical that the legal decision would derail the deal. "This court order can cause only minor hiccups in the deal," Deven Choksey, managing director at KR Choksey Securities, said.
In November 2012 Diageo said it was buying a majority stake in USL for £1.28bn . The deal would give Diageo a 53.4 per cent share in United Spirits. Without the transaction, Diageo's stake in USL would be 19 per cent.
Diageo to invest £30m in Clynelish
Diageo has announced plans for a £30 million expansion of its Clynelish distillery in Sutherland. In the latest major stage in Diageo's £1 billion programme to increase Scotch whisky production,
plans have been submitted to Highland Council for the major expansion of Diageo's most northerly distillery.
The Clynelish expansion will take the on-going capital investment by Diageo in the Highland Council region alone to almost £150m, including major expansions at Glen Ord and Teaninich Distilleries and plans to build a new distillery at
Diageo's director of distillation and maturation, Keith Miller said: "Clynelish is a very special distillery, producing spirit which is highly prized for its quality and character and is an important part of our Scotch whisky blending inventory, so this is an important part of our investment programme.
The Clynelish announcement came as six copper stills were delivered to the Glen Ord Distillery as part of the £25 million expansion plan which is doubling the size of that distillery to more than 10million litres per annum.
Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich. In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150million across the Highland Council area
Clynelish Distillery produces single malt whisky, it describes as "unique in both taste and texture" which is highly prized by Diageo's master blenders for use in brands such as Johnnie Walker. Clynelish is also a highly regarded as a single malt whisky in its own right. The distillery is also home to one of Diageo's 12 distillery visitor centres, receiving more than 5,000 visitors per year.
Clynelish is near the Sutherland town of Brora.
Under the plans submitted Clynelish distillery will see the installation of an additional mash tun, 10 new washbacks and six new copper stills for distilling the spirit. This adds to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has and will effectively double the production capacity to 9m litres of alcohol per annum, while retaining the character and quality of the spirit. A bio-energy plant is also planned for the site to provide non-fossil fuel energy to power the distillery.
The world's leading premium drinks business, is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.
Whyte & Mackay
It's business as usual then at Whyte & Mackay - that is the Glasgow-based spirits producer is once more up for sale. Incredibly this is the 10th time since the beginning of the '70s and in those 40-plus years there have been no fewer than 18 MDs or CEOs come and go, and heaven only knows how many different marketing departments.
This time around the cause is Diageo's acquisition of a majority share in United Spirits - the Indian company which acquired Whyte & Mackay for a tad under £600 million back in 2007. Clearly anxious to avoid the scrutiny of the Office of Fair Trading, Diageo has made a pre-emptive strike with the announcement that it is to sell Whyte & Mackay but not lock, stock and smoking barrels - because apparently the world's number one multinational wants to keep the malt distilleries Dalmore and Tamnavulin, but is OK with W&M's other distilleries - Old Fettercairn and Jura - going under the hammer.
As Diageo already boasts some 28 distilleries in its arsenal this decision has raised eyebrows in some quarters. "What on earth does it want Tamnavulin for? All its distilleries are expandable and it is pouring colossal amounts of investment into new distilleries like Roseisle," said one industry observer. "They must be a bargaining tool."
Both are good points. Tamnavulin is not a notable single malt and should the 'competition authorities' still chafe at Diageo's share of the Scotch whisky market creeping towards 40%, the drinks giant can offer up both Tamnavulin and Dalmore - which, as a singular spirit, has attracted a wide following among the single malt cognoscenti.
Of course Diageo's announcement has ushered forth a frenzy of speculation as to who will be the 11th owner of Whyte & Mackay. And there have been one or two comings and goings at the top which have added to the potpourri. Chief executive at the time of Diageo's bid for United Spirits, John Beard, has departed. His replacement, Bryan Donaghey, was previously managing director of Diageo Scotland until earlier this year when he moved to the role of Europe supply director, and finally to supply strategy director up until his decision to leave and almost in the same week he took up the reins at Whyte & Mackay.
Whyte & Mackay has offered no explanation for Beard's going and Diageo is tight-lipped over Donaghey, issuing a terse statement: "Bryan has severed his employment with Diageo and it is not appropriate for us to comment any further, but we wish him the very best for the future." The company did add that 'Bryan had served Diageo with 'distinction'. Clearly, though, 'Bryan' relishes the challenge as one would be forgiven for thinking he'd jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.
Just one more thing on Beard though. He came from the fused UK distribution arm of Bacardi and Brown-Forman, so perhaps it is no surprise that both Brown-Forman and Bacardi have been mentioned as possible Whyte & MackayChina. How long is a piece of string?
An alcohol charity has slammed David Beckham after he signed up to promote a new whisky.
The 38-year-old retired football has teamed up with manager Simon Fuller and drinks company Diageo to launch Haig Club, a new single grain Scotch whisky.
As well as developing the brand, Beckham has been given tasked with promoting a "responsible drinking programme" for the spirit.
But Alcohol Concern has expressed its "disappointment" that the sports star has signed up to promote the product.
The charity said that the move would send mixed messages to children.
"It's incredibly disappointing that David Beckham, a global icon who has wide appeal to children has chosen to use his sports star image to promote spirits," said Emily Robinson, deputy chief executive of Alcohol Concern.
"Given David Beckham's other roles promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle to children, we believe this will send a confusing message to them about the dangers of alcohol and its impact on a healthy lifestyle and we call on the star to rethink his association with this product."
In a press notice launching the product, David Gates, Diageo's global head of premium core spirits, said: "David Beckham and Simon Fuller are renowned for breaking boundaries and shaking up markets in every sector in which they work. We are immensely proud to partner with them on our first large scale grain whisky innovation."
Beckham added: "The House of Haig has a rich history and I'm proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years. Working closely with Diageo, we look forward to collaborating on Haig Club, valuing and treasuring the Haig traditions while reinventing this whisky for years to come."
Mr Fuller added: "This is a long term commitment. It is important to us that we create something unique and of great quality. With Haig Club we have an opportunity to push boundaries and help shape how Scotch will be perceived in the future, it's an exciting proposition."
In response to the comments from the charity, a Diageo spokeswoman said: "Diageo and David Beckham take our responsibility in this area very seriously. As well as abiding by all laws and industry codes, Diageo has our own, very stringent, guidelines on responsible marketing of our brands.
"David will lead the promotion of the responsible drinking programme for Haig Club, which is at the heart of the brand and we could not ask for a stronger ambassador for the campaign.
"We have always been completely clear in our view that alcohol should only be consumed by adults and we do not want underage drinkers as consumers."
Diageo, Beckham and Fuller to launch Haig Club single grain whisky
Diageo will launch Haig Club single grain scotch, in partnership with David Beckham and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller.
Haig Club, which will launch later this year, is a new innovation from the House of Haig, Scotland's oldest grain whisky producer and makers of Haig Blended Scotch and Dimple Scotch.
The launch follows William Grant and Son's 100% grain whisky release, annnounced last year.
Working alongside Diageo, Beckham and Fuller will play "a fundamental role" in developing the brand, its strategy and positioning. Beckham will also lead the promotion of a responsible drinking programme for Haig Club.
Whisky authority Dave Broom is one of the few to have tasted Haig Club. He described it as "a hugely versatile spirit, and I expect bartenders will love what they can do with it. Forget everything you thought you knew about Scotch."
Haig Club is made from whisky from three cask types to create, said Diageo, "a fresh, clean style that showcases butterscotch and toffee for an ultra-smooth taste that the company believes will be enjoyed not only by current whisky drinkers, but also by those who have always wanted to try whisky".
David Gates, Diageo's global head of premium core spirits, said: "Whisky is experiencing a continued global renaissance and like many of the world's most respected whisky experts, we believe this will be the year that grain whisky breaks into the mainstream and gains the recognition it deserves.
"Diageo has a proven track record in Scotch Whisky innovation and we have applied this expertise through the House of Haig in liquid development and craftsmanship, creating a sophisticated new whisky in Haig Club.
"David Beckham and Simon Fuller are renowned for breaking boundaries and shaking up markets in every sector in which they work. We are immensely proud to partner with them on our first large scale grain whisky innovation."
Beckham said: "The House of Haig has a rich history and I'm proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years. Working closely with Diageo, we look forward to collaborating on Haig Club, valuing and treasuring the Haig traditions while reinventing this whisky for years to come."
Simon Fuller added: "This is a long term commitment. It is important to us that we create something unique and of great quality. With Haig Club we have an opportunity to push boundaries and help shape how Scotch will be perceived in the future, it's an exciting proposition. We could not wish for a better partner than Diageo."
Founder John Haig established Cameronbridge Distillery in the early 19th century, where he pioneered grain whisky production in continuous Coffey and Stein stills - an invention which laid the foundations for the growth and success of the modern Scotch whisky industry, according to Diageo.
Diageo opens £1.5m brand archive
11 June, 2014
Diageo has opened a £1.5m archive for its major brands in Menstrie, Scotland.
The Diageo Archive, which include the likes of Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Baileys and Smirnoff, has been expanded to store over half a million items including vintage advertisements and film and industry accolades from the last four centuries.
The collection, curated by a team of professional archivists, is claimed to be the largest alcohol archive in the world, with documents from 150 countries supporting 1,500 brands and nearly 200 production sites.
David Gates, Diageo's global head of premium core spirits, said: "In a world where people are making purchase decisions based on brand authenticity we have access to an unparalleled wealth of heritage that underpins our brands as category leaders."
"It is as fundamental to the business today, as it was when first built and continues to establish credentials, support global initiatives and set cornerstones for iconic brands such as John Walker & Sons Odyssey and Jonnie Walker Blue Label."
Diageo completes tender offer of USL
02 July, 2014
Diageo has completed its tender offer for a further 26% share in United Spirits.
The company has accepted the tender of 37,785,214 shares in United Spirits (USL) at INR 3,030 per share.
Diageo will have a total interest of 54.78% in United Spirits and expect to fully consolidate the results of USL from today.
Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said: "Our announcement today is significant for Diageo. India has now become one of Diageo's largest markets and will be a major contributor to our growth ambitions.
"USL is the leading player in the attractive Indian spirits market with great brands, a unique route to consumer and talented people. We can now combine that strong platform with Diageo's strengths to create a compelling future in India for Diageo, USL and the Indian spirits industry."
Diageo releases 'special' single malts
Diageo has launched its autumn Special Release Series, a collection of single malt scotch whiskies aimed at the world's top bars and whisky connoisseurs.
Diageo's nine-expression range, drawn from the group's 28 single malt distilleries, has been released "in time for end of year celebrations".
First introduced in 2001, the Special Release Series is the result of an examination of the distilleries' stocks of "old, rare or unusual single malt whiskies".
Dr Nick Morgan, spokesman for Diageo, said: "Some of these single malts are priced accessibly. Others, inevitably given their age and rarity, are very expensive."
Of the range, two expressions have been drawn from the diminishing stocks of closed distilleries, while others are taken from those still in production.
Morgan said: "We know some people buy them as investments. But all are engaging, distinctive single malts made for enjoyment now, and of course in the case of Brora [30-year old] and Port Ellen [31-year old] they will never be made again."
Also among the range are the Speyside expressions Auchroisk (20-year old), Glen Spey (21-year old) and Cragganmore (21-year old); Ise of Skye whiskies Talisker (30-year old), Lagavulin (12-year old) and Caol Ila (12-year old); and Glenkinchie (20 year-old) from the Lowlands.
The range is available in "most markets in Europe" and "selected global duty free outlets", while all but the Brora and Port Ellen will be available in the US.
Diageo announces Haig Club global launch
Diageo has announced the worldwide launch of its single grain scotch whisky Haig Club.
Haig Club, which is a collaboration between Diageo, David Beckham and Simon Fuller, will now be available in bars, restaurants and retail stores in the UK.
The whisky will roll out in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the US in the next few weeks and be available in duty free shops globally following the exclusive release period in the UK.
Kathy Parker, senior vice president, Haig Club said: "Haig Club is designed to be different. Historically single grain whisky has been in the shadow of single malts and blended scotch, but Haig Club represents a new direction in scotch whisky, which brings single grain scotch to the forefront."
To celebrate the global launch of Haig Club, Beckham and business partner Fuller hosted an exclusive Haig Club weekend in the heart of Scotland on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
"I am incredibly proud to have been part of the creation of Haig Club, " Beckham said.
"I think we have made something really special. For me it has meant understanding how whisky is made and enjoyed and then working with some incredible people to write a new chapter for Haig
06 November, 2014
Diageo has unveiled this year's Special Release scotch whiskies.
They comprise: Benrinnes 21 year old, Brora 35 year-old, Caol Ila 15 year old (unpeated), Caol Ila 30 year old, Clynelish Select Reserve, Cragganmore 25 year old, Lagavulin 12 year old, Port Ellen 35 year old, Rosebank 21 year old, The Singleton 38 year old and Strathmill 25 year old.
The Benrinnes 21YO (56.9% abv) is £240 for the 2,892 bottles.
The Brora 35YO is 48.6% and costs £1,200 for one of the individually number 2,964 bottles.
Caol Ila 15YO (60.39%) is £75 (limited availability).
Caol Ila 30YO (55.1%): The oldest Caol Ila ever released, 7,638 bottles: £425.
Clynelish Select Reserve (54.9%), 2,964 bottles: £500.
Cragganmore 25YO (51.4%), 3,372 bottles: £299.
Lagavulin 12YO (54.4%), limited availability: £80
Port Ellen 35YO (56.5%), the oldest Port Ellen release: £2,200
Rosebank 21YO (55.3%), 4,530 bottles: £300
The Singleton 38YO (59.8%), 3,756 bottles: £750.
Strathmill 25YO (52.4%), 2,700 bottles: £275.
Diageo to swap Bushmills for control of tequila Don Julio
03 November, 2014
Diageo has agreed the full global ownership and control of tequila Don Julio with Casa Cuervo in exchange for Bushmills.
The move will result in the early termination of Casa Cuervo's production and distribution agreement for Smirnoff in Mexico. In turn, Diageo has reached an agreement to sell Bushmills to Jose Cuervo overseas.
The transaction is expected to result in a net payment of $408 million to Diageo upon completion, which is expected in early 2015. The company says the transaction is expected to be economic profit break-even in year 3 assuming a WACC rate of 9%.
Ivan Menezes, Diageo chief executive, said: "This transaction delivers two key objectives for us. We have secured our position in the growing super and ultra-premium segments of the tequila category and further strengthened our global footprint by expanding our leading position in Mexico where the growth of spirits has great potential.
"Diageo has realised this opportunity through the breadth and depth of our portfolio. It delivers our strategy: to build our presence in the world's fastest growing markets and lead the industry in the biggest growth opportunities. I am delighted we have reached this agreement," said Menezes.
Smirnoff volume and net sales in Mexico in the year ended 30 June 2014 were 285,000 cases and £9 million respectively. Bushmills volume and net sales were 800,000 cases and £57m in the same period
Diageo GTR launches three 'exceptionally rare' Scotch whiskies
Diageo has unveiled three "exceptionally rare" single malt Scotch whiskies for Travel Retail.
Port Ellen 33 Years Old and Gragganmore 43 Years Old will exclusively be available in travel retail outlets. Royal Lochnagar 36 Old will be available - in limited release - outside this channel.
Peter Fairbrother, global marketing director of Diageo Global Travel and Middle East, said: "We are investing in our amazing range of Single Malts to drive growth in the Scotch category in Travel Retail.
"These Single Malts are some of the rarest, most distinctive and most valuable whiskies in the world. The exclusivity of these whiskies cannot be overstated as only a few hundred bottles of each exist." Royal Lochnagar 36 Years Old carries lable for an RRSP of US$3,800.
Diageo invests £10m in Stauning Danish whisky
Diageo will invest £10m in Danish whisky brand Stauning through its Distill Ventures programme. The first 'major' growth investment will facilitate the expansion of Stauning's distillery in Denmark.
The company's production process of malting in-house and distilling in small stills will continue, with the number of stills expanding from four to twenty, allowing Stauning to increase its current production capacity from 15,000 litres per year to 750,000 litres per year.
In addition to the capital investment, Diageo and Distill Ventures will support the founders of Stauning as they scale production and plan their growth in export markets.
Stauning Whisky was created in 2015 by nine friends who started making whisky as a hobby
Alex Munch, co-founder Stauning, said: "We can't wait to build the distillery of our dreams and are excited to be making more of the whisky we love and sharing it with the world."
Frank Lampen, co-founder of Distill Ventures, added: "This deal represents a step change in the scale of investments Distill Ventures is undertaking. When we find outstanding businesses, we can fund major capital projects and investment in stock as we are in this case. Our focus is on helping entrepreneurs to realise their vision and we are delighted to be working with Stauning, as they scale their business and take their great whiskies beyond Denmark."
Distill Ventures evaluates hundreds of businesses each year across the world. The programme began discussing a possible investment in Stauning in summer of 2014.
AINSLIE & HEILBRON DISTILLERS
For a few years Ainslie & Heilbron owned and operated the original Clynelish distillery (also known as Brora). However, to stave off bankruptcy after the Pattison Crash, it sold the distillery to concentrate on whisky blending. A number of mergers soon followed until it joined DCL in 1925.
This company can trace its origins back to 1868 when James Ainslie & Co. was founded as a wine and spirit merchant in Leith, Edinburgh. The company proved to be very successful and, at the height of the whisky boom, purchased the Clynelish distillery in 1896 and completely re-built it within two years.
However, James Ainslie & Co. suffered along with the rest of the Scotch whisky industry after the Pattison crash of 1898, and in 1912 only survived bankruptcy by selling Clynelish to James Risk (the former owner of Bankier distillery in the Scottish Lowlands) and DCL, who took a half share each. The next year the company merged with fellow blenders Walter Baillie & Sons, Robertson Brothers and John Gillon & Co. to form Ainslie, Baillie & Co. of Leith.
This company traded until 1921 when, upon the retirement of Robert Ainslie, son of founder James, the company was liquidated and taken over by Sir James Calder, the chairman of blender Alexander & Macdonald. Calder merged the company with another old blending company, David Heilbron Ltd., and distilling company Colville Greenlees & Co, owner of the Argyll distillery in Campbeltown, to form Ainslie & Heilbron (Distillers) Ltd.
By 1925 Ainslie & Heilbron had become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calder’s expanded MacDonald, Greenlees & Williams Ltd. of Leith. That same year he sold MacDonald, Greenlees & Williams to DCL, along with his own distillery Dalwhinnie, bringing Ainslie & Heilbron under the control of the distilling giant.
DISTILLERIES & BRANDS
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Diageo (Current owner)
Arthur Bell & Sons
Bulloch Lade & Company
Distillers Company Limited
James Buchanan & Company
John Haig & Company
John Walker & Sons
Justerini & Brooks
Lothian Distillers Company
Mackie & Co
Macleay Duff Distillers
RH Thomson & Company Distillers
White Horse Distillers
William Sanderson & Son
Grand Metropolitan was a UK-based, international hotel and catering conglomerate that diversified into areas such as home milk and dairy deliveries (Express Dairies), steak restaurants (Berni Inns) and gambling (William Hill and Mecca Bingo Halls). It entered the beer, wine and spirits markets through the 1972 purchase of two UK breweries including Watney Mann, which itself had recently taken over International Distillers and Vintners. In 1997, after more mergers and acquisitions, Grand Metropolitan finally merged with Guinness PLC to create the largest drinks company in the world, Diageo.
Grand Metropolitan can trace its roots back to 1934 when the Mount Royal Metropolitan Association (MRMA) was formed. In 1957 it merged with Maxwell Joseph’s Grand Hotels (Mayfair) Ltd and five years later adopted the name Grand Metropolitan Hotels.
Soon after the company began to diversify, firstly into industrial catering then dairy products through the acquisition of Express Dairies. Other acquisitions included the Berni Inn steak restaurant chain and Mecca Bingo Halls.
Come 1972 the company made its first move into the alcoholic drinks industry with the purchase of Brick Lane brewer Truman, Hanbury and Buxton, and Mortlake’s Watney Mann. Some six months prior Watney Mann had acquired IDV which owned Justerini & Brooks (J&B) and W.A. Gilbey among others. This purchase immediately made Grand Metropolitan (as the company was now known) a major player in the Scotch whisky world.
During the 1980s, the acquisitions of the Liggett Group, J&B’s American distributor, and Heublein Inc, an American wine and spirits producer and distributor, made Grand Metropolitan the world’s third largest wine and spirits producer. In 1988 the company purchased the Pillsbury food company adding household food names such as Burger King, Green Giant and Häagen-Dazs to its portfolio. At the same time it began to sell some of its hotel and catering assets.
The company’s change of focus from hotels and catering to branded foods, wines and spirits meant that by the 1990s the company had saddled itself with large restructuring costs and debt, just at the time the spirits market began to shrink, resulting in the further sale of non-core businesses.
Eventually, in 1997 Grand Metropolitan merged with Guinness PLC to form a company originally announced as GMG Brands. The name was soon changed to Diageo PLC, an imaginary title combining the Latin term for day and the Greek word for world.
Arthur Bell & Sons
Once one of the great independent whisky producers of Scotland.
Arthur Bell and Sons grew steadily through the 19th and 20th centuries, concentrating mainly on its home market. So successful was this strategy that by the late 1970s it was commanding a staggering 35% of the UK blended Scotch whisky market. Much of this success is due to the work in the late 1960s of then chief executive, Raymond Miquel, a hardnosed Scottish businessman who slashed costs and improved productivity, and in the process made Bell’s Scotch whisky a household name.
The young Arthur Bell joined Perth-based wine and spirit merchant Thomas Sandeman in 1840. In 1851 the owner, James Roy, offered Arthur a partnership in the newly named Roy & Bell company. This partnership continued until James Roy’s retirement in 1862. By this time Arthur Bell had appointed what is believed to be the first full-time whisky agent in London, selling two different blends.
A short partnership with his nephew, T. R. Sandeman, ended on a sour note in 1865 after it was discovered that he was acting as a whisky agent in his own right. The bank loan that Arthur took out to pay off his nephew is the only time that the company had to call upon the service of a loan.
In 1889 Arthur invited his eldest son, Arthur Kinmont to join as a partner. Seven years later his second son, Robert Duff Bell, joined the board of what was now known as Arthur Bell & Sons.
During this time Arthur campaigned for industry standard bottle sizes across the UK and expanded the company’s reach into Australia, New Zealand and the Indian sub-continent.
Because of Arthur’s unwillingness to use brand names or advertise, growth at this time was steady but not spectacular. This all changed in 1900 when, on his death, Arthur’s two sons inherited the company. In 1904 the company name first appeared on the label and early brands such as Scotch Fir appeared on the shelves.
Business ran steadily until 1919, when a disastrous fire in the company’s Canal Street bonded warehouse saw the destruction of the buildings and the loss of nearly all the stock. Undeterred, Arthur Bell’s two sons continued forward, incorporating Arthur Bell & Sons as limited company in 1921, and purchasing the No. 1 Excise Bond in Leith, Edinburgh in 1924, which became Bell’s main bottling facility until 1967.
Alhough steady expansion continued, it was not until 1932 that Arthur Bell & Sons became recognised as a ‘serious player’ in the Scotch whisky industry with the purchase, for £56,000, of P. Mackenzie & Co. (Distillers) of Edinburgh and its two distilleries of Dufftown and Blair Athol, the latter of which had long been a constituent of Bell’s whisky blends.
In 1936 the company purchased Inchgower distillery from the town council of Buckie on the Moray Firth. The Town Council seem to have displayed their business ‘smarts’ in this transaction selling the distillery for a rumoured £4,000, having purchased it shortly before for only £1,000.
During the Second World War, and just over 100 years since Arthur Bell joined Sandeman’s business, the family’s links with the company came to an end with the deaths of the Bell brothers. Control passed onto W. G. Farquharson, who remained as managing director until 1968 and chairman until his death in 1973.
Under his leadership the company continued to grow and this period saw substantial investment in the distillery operations – Blair Athol, for instance, was completely remodelled and expanded from two to four stills.
Farquharson’s replacement as MD and then chairman was Raymond Miquel. Under his stewardship the company grew rapidly, slashing costs and improving productivity. This was partly achieved by opening Pittyvaich distillery in 1974 and purchasing the Lowland distillery of Bladnoch in 1983.
By this time Bell’s controlled 35% of the UK market and produced the No. 1 selling blended whisky in Scotland, Bell’s Extra Special.
In 1985, whilst Miquel was in Chicago attempting to purchase an American hotel chain, Irish brewer Guinness launched a hostile takeover bid which eventually, after a hotly contested campaign, succeeded. The following year Guinness moved on Distillers Company Ltd, an acquisition that led to the eventual creation of drinks giant Diageo.
Arthur Bell & Sons continues as a subsidiary company within Diageo’s Scotch whisky portfolio.
BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY
Diageo (Current owner)
Ainslie & Heilbron Distillers
Bulloch Lade & Company
Distillers Company Limited
James Buchanan & Company
John Haig & Company
John Walker & Sons
Justerini & Brooks
Lothian Distillers Company
Mackie & Co
Macleay Duff Distillers
RH Thomson & Company Distillers
White Horse Distillers
William Sanderson & Son
DISTILLERS COMPANY LIMITED (D.C.L.)
Founded in 1877 as a trade cartel to set prices for grain whiskies, Distillers Company Ltd. Dilleries in an attempt to match whisky supply with demand. While it never held a complete monopoly over the industry, and its name never appeared on a single label, the sheer size of its holdings ensured that it had a major influence on the industry as a whole.
DCL was formed in 1877 as an amalgamation of six Lowland grain whisky distilleries with the aim of allocating production in fixed proportions and setting prices for grain spirits. The founding companies were M. Macfarlane & Co, Glasgow (Port Dundas distillery), which replaced John Crabbie & Co’s Haddington distillery in earlier agreements; John Bald & Co, Alloa (Carsebridge distillery); John Haig & Co, Fife (firstly Seggie and then Cameronbridge distillery); McNab Bros & Co, Menstrie (Glenochil distillery); Robert Mowbray, Cambus (Cambus distillery); and Stewart & Co, Kirkliston (Kirkliston distillery).
The original six distilleries were joined in 1884 by Menzies & Co Ltd. (Caledonian distillery and a rectifying business in Tooley St., London) which had not joined in 1887, but had signed a formal agreement which foresaw eventual amalgamation with DCL. One of the strange things about the origins of DCL was that although the distilleries were now part of the same company, they continued to be operated by their original owners which still regarded their fellow directors as their main opposition.
By 1894 DCL was listed on the Edinburgh and Glasgow stock exchanges and, to meet demand from the John Haig & Co. business for Highland malt whisky, had built Knockdhu distillery near Banff. The Pattison crash of 1898 created an opportunity for DCL to control more of the industry through a programme of acquisitions (at knockdown prices) during the early part of the 1900s. One example was DCL's purchase of the Pattisons' bonded warehouses in Leith. These had cost the Pattison brothers an estimated £60,000 to build; DCL picked them up at auction for only £25,000.
The period before the First World War saw more consolidation in the Scotch whisky industry with DCL (sometimes with the assistance of other partners) picking up distilleries from the liquidators. Such was the scale of its strategy that by 1914 DCL claimed to be the ‘largest whisky distiller in the world’. To try and bring some order to the rapidly expanding company, DCL set up a subsidiary, Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd., to control the five Lowland distilleries that it either owned or had part shares in.
Despite DCL's ferocious acquisition trail, it was clear that the ‘Big Five’ producers – Haig, Buchanan’s, Dewar’s, Walker’s and Mackie’s (White Horse) – were still able to maintain their independence. The tight-knit group began to unravel though in 1919 when DCL purchased John Haig & Co. from the family, and John Walker & Sons and the newly merged Buchanan-Dewar joined DCL in 1925 on a share exchange basis. Two years later, after the death of Sir Peter Mackie, White Horse Distillers also joined the fold, creating a company that would control, but not monopolise, the Scotch whisky industry for the next 50 years.
In the 1970s UK sales were stagnating to the point that DCL, despite its large number of brands, was selling less whisky in its home market than Arthur Bell & Sons with its single line. Although Johnnie Walker was the best-selling Scotch in the world it was being challenged, and in 1985 James Gulliver’s Argyle group, which operated Fine Fare supermarkets and the Glen Scotia distillery, launched a hostile bid for the ‘hopelessly managed DCL’. The offer was rejected, and the group turned to brewer Guinness PLC, which had recently purchased Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd., as a ‘white knight’ and invited it to table a rival bid.
Although it was subsequently proven that Guinness had fraudulently funded its bid by inflating the price of its shares, by April 1986 the Guinness offer had been accepted and DCL was no more. The new company soon began a round of cost cutting exercises and the individual companies which had comprised DCL, soon began to lose their independence. Following a series of mergers and takeovers, Guinness and DCL evolved into today’s drinks giant, Diageo.
Diageo (Current owner)
Ainslie & Heilbron Distillers
Arthur Bell & Sons
Bulloch Lade & Company
James Buchanan & Company
John Haig & Company
John Walker & Sons
Justerini & Brooks
Lothian Distillers Company
Mackie & Co
Macleay Duff Distillers
RH Thomson & Company Distillers
White Horse Distillers
William Sanderson & Son
The company we know now as Diageo, the biggest producer of Scotch whisky on the planet, has its roots in one of the most high-profile – and notorious – corporate takeovers in UK history.
The compelling story of a deal sealed exactly 30 years ago.
The battle for DCL ended in a scandal that rocked the City
In the mid-1980s, the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) was by far the largest whisky company in the world. It had its origins in the amalgamation of six grain whisky distilleries in 1877, became involved with malt distilling in 1894 and increased this area of activity following the sharp downturn in the Scotch whisky industry after 1900, when many companies left the trade and sold their distilleries, brands and stock to the DCL.
Then the ‘Big Amalgamation’ of 1925 brought John Walker & Sons, John Dewar & Sons and James Buchanan & Company – the largest blending houses, known as ‘The Big Three’ – under the DCL umbrella.
Until the early 1960s, DCL controlled about 75% of the UK Scotch market and slightly more of exports, but during the 1970s the position changed drastically and, by 1984, the company’s domestic share was down to 16%. Worldwide market share had fallen from 48% (1973) to 35% and, although Johnnie Walker Red Label was still the best-selling Scotch in the world, with 10% of the global market, it was being challenged.
In his book Takeovers, the financial journalist Ivan Fallon describes the DCL in 1984 as ‘one of the most traditional and conservative companies in Britain…also among the most badly managed… the average age of the board was 60’.
The City had no confidence in the company’s management, and referred to it as ‘the great sick giant of the industry’. It was clearly a possible target for takeover.
A CRUEL BATTLE
In June 1985, Guinness plc had mounted the successful hostile takeover of Arthur Bell & Sons, owner of the leading Scotch in the home market. It was a cruel battle, skilfully masterminded by Guinness CEO Ernest Saunders but, while it was being fought, an even more dramatic takeover was being planned.
The target was the Distillers Company, and the David confronting this Goliath was Jimmy Gulliver of the Argyll Group, a multiple chain store which he had established in the late 1970s.
Gulliver was the son of a grocer in Campbeltown, and had a reputation as one of the ablest managers in Britain. ‘I wanted to build a big food multiple,’ he said, ‘[but] realised we would have to be bold enough to grow through acquisition, and quickly, if we were to reach a critical mass – the point where we were obtaining economies of scale to enable us to grow organically.’
During 1985, Gulliver constructed a bid, originally with the backing of Lord Weinstock, managing director of cash-rich GEC. Fatally, it took some months to hammer out the agreement between them – and in the end it came to nothing – but during the delay rumours ran around the City, and Distillers’ share price began to rise, as usually happens in anticipation of a hostile bid.
This also meant that the besieged directors were able to start building defences – appointing a new merchant bank, re-organising management and reassuring their institutional shareholders.
Nonetheless, when Gulliver launched his raid in December 1985, three months later than intended, he was still the favourite to win, in spite of the scorn of the DCL board: ‘Mr Gulliver deals in potatoes and cans of beans,’ said one director. ‘We are not selling brown water in bottles. We are selling Scotch.’
At £1.9bn, it was the largest bid ever made in Britain, and in the early days it looked as if Distillers’ shareholders would support Gulliver. Nervous, the board approached Ernest Saunders as a ‘white knight’.
‘HE COULD HAVE WALKED ON WATER’
Few executives enjoyed a higher reputation than Saunders. Even James Gulliver acknowledged: ‘Saunders could have walked on water. He was regarded… as near genius.’
In fact, he had been looking covetously at Distillers since October, but the costs of mounting a bid would be huge: he had to be invited to bid, and made it a condition of his acceptance that DCL pick up the tab.
The DCL board was initially reluctant to recommend the Guinness bid to shareholders – nine of the 12 directors would lose their jobs – but took some comfort from the fact that Sir Thomas Risk, Governor of the Bank of Scotland, would become chairman of the new company (in fact Saunders dumped him as soon as the battle was won).
A dramatic bidding war followed. In order to satisfy the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC), the DCL sold a number of brands to Whyte & Mackay, including John Barr, The Buchanan Blend, The Real Mackenzie, Claymore (a cheap blend, but at the time Distillers’ leading brand in the home market, with 5.9%) and the once mighty Haig Gold Label (once the best-selling Scotch in the home market, now commanding a mere 2.77%).
The loss of these would not affect Distillers’ export sales. The deal was accepted by the MMC (in spite of the risible selling price), but Gulliver was still ahead until the final month of the battle, and the Press was behind him.
Then the Guinness share price began to rise meteorically, enabling Saunders to increase his bid – and, in the end, to win the day, clinching the deal with an unconditional, £2.6bn offer on 18 April 1986. What happened?
In the early 1980s, it became common for raiders to call upon the help of their friends in the City to bolster their share price while a deal was still going through, with defensive tactics developed in parallel.
It was all legal, although not strictly above board. But, as the deals became bigger and the stakes larger, the ‘friends’ began to ask for indemnities against loss, or even additional ‘success fees’. This was illegal. Ivan Fallon wrote later:
‘It was in that final period that dubious tactics got out of hand. They would give Guinness the victory. But they also caused Saunders to lose his job, would result in the resignation of a dozen others, end some of the most promising careers in merchant banking, and cause a scandal such as the City has not known for 50 years.’
During the months following the Guinness takeover of DCL, questions began to be asked about the Guinness ‘share support operation’, which was so massive and so murky that the City and its watchdogs could not turn a blind eye.
It was revealed that Ivan Boesky, the leading ‘arbitrageur’ (investor in companies involved in takeovers), had invested $100m in Guinness in return for Guinness investing the same amount in one of Boesky’s investment funds. A further £100m had been borrowed by Guinness from a Swiss bank ‘for the purchase of its own shares’.
An action for fraud was raised against Ernest Saunders and four of his closest associates. The case came to court early in 1990 and lasted 100 days. Saunders was sentenced to five years in prison (later reduced to two) and his colleagues to about a year each, with fines up to £5m.
The £2.6bn takeover of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) by Guinness plc was one of the biggest – and most notorious – deals ever done in the City of London. But, as the dust settled, what of the company created by the scandal-hit acquisition?.
On 19 January 1986, in their elegant, wood-panelled boardroom in St James’s Square, the board of the Distillers Company debated whether they should recommend that their shareholders support the bid from Guinness plc to take over the company, to counter the bid from James Gulliver’s Argyll Group.
Nine out of the 12 directors would lose their jobs, and they reminded the other board members that the company’s principal defence against Gulliver, as stated to shareholders, was that the board had at last got the management structure, marketing and production systems right.
Now they were being asked to admit that this was not true, that the board was not good enough to run the enlarged company. It was, painfully, pointed out to them by the merchant bankers present that the board was held in low esteem by both the City and the shareholders; they stressed that there was little or no chance of remaining independent – it was a clear case of hostile or friendly takeover.
The directors were persuaded. Guinness was at least a drinks company, Argyll a mere grocery chain. But the battle which followed – – was unprecedented in its dirtiness.
The corporate scandal that ensued rocked the City of London, led to the imprisonment for fraud of Guinness’ chairman and CEO, Ernest Saunders, and four of his closest associates, and severely damaged shareholders’ confidence in ‘the giant of the Scotch whisky industry’.
Saunders’ successor as chairman was Sir Norman Macfarlane, a highly personable man of impeccable integrity and a pillar of the Glasgow establishment; equally well regarded, Anthony Tennant left Grand Metroplitan to become managing director of Guinness, while Anthony Greener (former managing director of Dunhill Holdings) became managing director of United Distillers.
They were a formidable team, and Sir Norman (later Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden) played a crucial role, not only in winning the confidence of the City, but in restoring morale at all levels of the company.
The first two years were chaotic. The immediate and pressing need was to raise cash. Companies which were not part of Guinness’ core business were sold off, as were the palatial buildings acquired by the whisky barons and their successors in central London, including Buchanan’s and Walker’s offices in St James’s, Dewar House in the Haymarket and Distillers’ House in St James’s Square.
With them went some of the pictures and most of the furniture amassed by the companies which made up the DCL during their long histories and, although their archives were retained and sent to Edinburgh, the rapid disposal of assets was both hasty and philistine.
To a degree, the disposal was part of the new management’s determination to sweep away the culture of the DCL. In some ways this was necessary – in recent years, the management of the company had become moribund (very few senior managers kept their jobs) – but in other ways the systems, loyalties, networks and style of Distillers were effective.
Consolidation of finance, management and marketing in a single building, Landmark House in Hammersmith, was certainly a good thing, as was the creation of United Distillers as a single, multi-brand company, rather than the DCL’s diversity of companies competing against one another for market share. Nonetheless, in the interests of winning back the confidence of the City, the precipitate reorganisation was brutal.
In the early years, global brand managers were appointed, with responsibility for implementing a marketing strategy worldwide. It was quickly realised that this did not take account of local knowledge, market conditions and historical factors, and the management emphasis shifted to become more geographical, allowing distributors a far greater say and responsibility.
An important aspect of corporate policy in the years following the takeover was to take control of international distribution, either by acquisition or joint venture. Originally this was in order to implement global marketing tactics, but it also meant that the distributors’ margin went to the larger company. By 1991, the business controlled 80% of its distributors; in 1987 it had controlled only 25%.
Perhaps the most important and far-reaching decision made by the new management was to raise the image of Scotch whisky, its price and profitability – a move which would ultimately benefit the whole industry. The decision was borne of the discovery of just how vast was the stock of mature whisky its predecessor had amassed, largely owing to faulty market forecasts.
In the past, the DCL had used its dominant stock-holding to keep the price of whisky down; United Distillers approached it in the opposite way, driving the price up, making better use of its old fillings to introduce de luxe and super-de luxe blends (such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label) and, for the first time, to place emphasis on malt whiskies.
In 1988, United Distillers launched a range of six malts on the market which emphasised the differences in flavour between one malt and another, linking them to the region from which they originated. This new approach stressed ‘regional differences’ and opened up the whole sector.
The ‘idea’ of malt whisky fitted perfectly with UD’s overall strategy. The company had huge resources of mature whisky to draw from; malts were upmarket, high-value and high-profile; the interest in them had been growing since the early 1980s; ‘regional differences’ had been acknowledged since at least the 1930s.
The malts chosen were Lagavulin, Talisker, Oban, Dalwhinnie, Cragganmore and Glenkinchie; all were from small, traditional, picturesque distilleries – the company had in mind that consumers would want to visit them, and soon developed visitor facilities at each.
They were handsomely repackaged, each in a differently shaped bottle with a different style of label. Although they were to be offered as a set, and accompanied by six-bottle bar stands and display materials, the differences between them were not to be lost in uniform packaging.
It is no exaggeration to claim that The Classic Malts opened up the entire sector. The collection was soon followed by the Rare Malts and Flora & Fauna ranges, which further expanded consumers’ choice.
These forward-thinking tactics delivered a spectacular growth in profitability in only a short time. Group profits climbed from £408m in 1987 to £956m in 1991, with 75% contributed by United Distillers, which could by 1990 proudly claim to be not only the largest spirits producer in the world, but the most profitable.
In May 1997, the City awoke to the news that Guinness and Grand Metropolitan had agreed to merge. Grand Met began as a hotel group and moved into drinks in 1973 by acquiring Watney Mann and its subsidiary, International Distillers and Vintners (IDV), which owned J&B (with Knockando, Auchroisk and Glen Spey Distilleries), Gilbey’s gin, Piat d’Or wine and Croft Sherry and Port, and also held the European rights to Smirnoff vodka.
The merged company was originally to be named GMG Brands (ie Grand Met Guinness), with United Distillers & Vintners (UDV) as its trading division. Later in 1997, the holding company was re-christened ‘Diageo’ – a name devised by the company’s branding consultant, Wolff Olins, for a substantial fee.
An uncomfortable mix of Latin and Greek, Diageo alluded to the fact that every day (Dia) the company operated all round the world (Geo). In 2000, the corporate structure was simplified so that Diageo replaced UDV as the trading entity.
In his Scotch Whisky Industry Review 1997, Alan Grey remarked:
‘The new name was greeted with not inconsiderable amusement by the public at large, commentators and the whisky industry generally. However, although the shareholders at the meeting to approve the new name voted against it on a show of hands, the block postal votes delivered the requisite number and Diageo came into being.’
PORT ELLEN AND BRORA TO REOPEN
Cult single malt distilleries Port Ellen and Brora are to be reopened by owner Diageo in a £35m investment, with production scheduled to start again in 2020.
Port Ellen Brora
Back from the dead: Brora and Port Ellen are set to reopen in 2020
The company said the two distilleries would produce spirit ‘in carefully controlled quantities… replicating where possible the distillation regimes and spirit character of the original distilleries’.
Port Ellen, on Islay, and Brora, on the east coast of Sutherland, were both deemed surplus to requirements and closed down in 1983 during a gloomy period for the Scotch whisky industry.
Since then, they have become arguably the most prized single malt Scotch whiskies in existence, coveted by collectors and connoisseurs, and attracting ever higher prices for their annual Special Release bottlings, and at auction.
Diageo said: ‘The decision is partly a response to… demands from existing enthusiasts, but it also reflects the strong growth in the single malt Scotch market and the opportunity to create new generations of whisky consumers.’
The reinstated Port Ellen distillery will be housed in a new building on the site, with new stills created from detailed records, while Brora will refurbish the closed distillery’s existing buildings and single pair of stills.
The distilleries will be two of the smallest operated by Diageo, producing 800,000 litres of alcohol a year, a similar size to Oban.
Both will produce medium-peated spirit character, and both will have dedicated visitor centres, or ‘Brand Homes’.
Diageo head of whisky outreach Dr Nick Morgan hailed the announcement as ‘a truly exceptional moment in Scotch whisky’, adding: ‘Port Ellen and Brora are names which have a uniquely powerful resonance with whisky lovers around the world, and the opportunity to bring these lost distilleries back to life is as rare and special as the spirit for which the distilleries are famous.
‘Only a very few people will ever be able to try the original Port Ellen and Brora single malts as they become increasingly rare, so we are thrilled that we will now be able to produce new expressions of these whiskies for new generations of people to enjoy.’
THE RESURRECTION OF PORT ELLEN AND BRORA
The shock news that cult distilleries Port Ellen and Brora are being brought back into production has reverberated around the whisky world.
Port Ellen distillery
Famous name: It is now 34 years since whisky was last made at Port Ellen
In the mythology that surrounds the legions of ‘ghost’ distilleries, two spectres loom especially large: Port Ellen and Brora. While romantics have long fantasised about their revival, realists were typically dismissive of the idea. It turns out that the romantics were right.
Both cult names – Port Ellen on Islay and Brora on the east coast of Sutherland – will be distilling again by 2020 after their owner, world’s largest Scotch whisky producer Diageo, announced a £35m investment to refurbish and refit the two sites.
‘It’s hard to over-estimate the degree of excitement among those people who have been working on this for a year or more now,’ Diageo head of whisky outreach Dr Nick Morgan says. ‘This is a really special day for us and for whisky drinkers everywhere… It’s the whisky announcement of a lifetime.’
The legend surrounding Port Ellen and Brora has only been magnified by their apparently permanent demise. Both were casualties of the early 1980s whisky loch, when the spirit they made for blends was surplus to requirements.
These were different times, when single malts were in their infancy. Only years later – and thanks in no small measure to the annual Special Release bottlings sold by Diageo – did the two distilleries ascend to their current level of fame and value (this year’s Port Ellen and Brora Special Releases were priced at £2,625 and £1,450 per bottle respectively).
Brora was known as Clynelish, before a new distillery was built on the same site
So why reopen them now? ‘I think there are a number of converging reasons,’ Dr Morgan says. ‘The first thing is that from a Diageo perspective we have a huge amount of confidence in where Scotch is at the moment, and where we think it’s going to be going over the next 15, 20, 25 years.’
The growth of single malt sales around the world – particularly among connoisseurs and collectors – is a key factor, but the remarkable status enjoyed by these two closed distilleries makes them a case apart.
‘When we started bottling Port Ellen and Brora in the Special Releases 15 or 16 years ago, there were many people in Diageo who thought we wouldn’t be able to sell those bottles for £100,’ recalls Dr Morgan.
‘We thought the time was right really to bring those two back from the dead in order to expand the number of people who can enjoy them… This will allow a lot more whisky enthusiasts to do so.’
To Jon Beach, Port Ellen collector and owner of Fiddler’s Highland Restaurant & Whisky Bar on the shores of Loch Ness, the decision to revive the plants is a ‘no-brainer’. He adds: ‘If it had been a smaller company or a medium-sized company, it would have happened already, I would have thought.’
There’s still plenty of work for Diageo to do. Technically, this announcement is that the company is seeking planning permission to restart whisky production on the two sites, as well as working through the various regulatory approvals needed to run a modern whisky distillery.
In the case of Brora, the existing, derelict buildings will be used, and the two stills (which remain there) will be refurbished and recommissioned; worm tubs will be installed again.
Port Ellen Special Releases
Auction favourite: Port Ellen Special Release bottlings are particularly sought-after
For Port Ellen, the work needed is more drastic: a new building will be constructed in the courtyard between the maltings and the old warehouses, and a pair of new stills and condensers built and installed. Diageo says it has ‘detailed drawings’ and records of the old equipment to help this process.
The two distilleries will be small by industry standards, producing 800,000 litres of alcohol a year (similar to the production levels at Oban, but higher than Diageo’s smallest commercial distillery, Royal Lochnagar).
For Brora, that’s a slight reduction on its historic production level of 1m litres of alcohol a year; for Port Ellen, where there were previously two pairs of stills, it more than halves production.
This decision is shaped partly by strategic thinking, and partly by pragmatism. ‘We want these to be – I suppose you could say – small, bespoke distilleries,’ explains Dr Morgan. ‘It will enable us to make the distilleries the way we want them to be, and we couldn’t really do a 5-10m-litre operation [on those sites] even if we wanted to.’
As for the whisky itself, the task will be to recreate what was made in the late 1970s and places were being run in the 1980s, and people still on the payroll who worked on those distilleries, so we can use that wisdom,’ says Dr Morgan.
‘Our intention is to try and replicate as far as we can the medium-peated style of whiskies that these distilleries produced. But we know a lot more about distilling now than we did in the 1980s, and we’re also cleverer in terms of things like sustainability.’
Maturation is another matter altogether. Historically, Port Ellen and Brora were filled into cask for use in blends, but the ‘new’ distilleries will be almost entirely ring-fenced for single malt (although Dr Morgan hypothesises that mature stock might find its way into highend Johnnie Walker blends in the future).
‘We haven’t sat down and talked about maturation,’ he says. ‘That does raise some interesting questions, given the cask regimes – or lack of cask regimes – at that time. I’m sure there will be some very interesting conversations about that.’
In the 1970s and 1980s, Port Ellen was often filled (at high strength) into tired, almost inert casks. ‘If they do that again, they’re not going to have any of the “new” Port Ellen or Brora for another 25-30 years,’ points out Beach.
So when can we expect to see the first whiskies from the revived sites? ‘We will probably release them as 12-year-olds, but that’s not to say we wouldn’t put out a very small release of something before then,’ says Dr Morgan – meaning that it could be 2032 before any ‘new’ Brora or Port Ellen hits the market.
The impact on that market – in particular, the buoyant secondary market for these ‘collectible’ single malts – was another serious consideration for Diageo in deciding whether or not to resurrect the distilleries.
Indeed, there have already been some gloomy predictions of falling prices for ‘old’ Brora and Port Ellen as a result of the announcement, but Dr Morgan isn’t convinced by the pessimism.
The 1972 Brora sold for HK$147,000 at auction in Hong Kong in May 2018
‘You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,’ he says. ‘Our feeling is that the reputation, the value of the existing, diminishing stocks from the two old distilleries will actually only increase.’
What does Beach think? ‘I don’t know,’ he says. ‘I think these whiskies are so good they’ll always be wanted, you know – especially some of the old Broras and Port Ellens from the early ’70s. Anyway, it’s a long way away still. Time will tell.’
Whatever the future holds, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a line of more ‘ghost’ distilleries queuing up to be revivified any time soon. As well as their lofty status, Port Ellen and Brora have the continued existence of their sites to thank for their new lease of life; many other ‘lost’ distilleries are exactly that – their buildings bulldozed, their land reclaimed for alternative uses.
Things change in whisky. It’s worth remembering that, assuming spirit is running from the stills on schedule, this will be the second time in a century that Port Ellen has been out of production for 37 years (it was also silent between 1930 and 1967).
The last time that production restarted at the site, it was only 16 years before the stills fell silent again. Happily, the prospects now are altogether brighter, thanks to a booming single malt market – and the fact that the reputation of these two distilleries has expanded beyond all recognition over the past 34 years.
A life in whisky: James Espey has been involved in the industry for nearly 50 years
It’s no wonder that James Espey begins our conversation by professing his passionate belief that everything – you, me, the UK, the current Prime Minister – is a brand. This, after all, is a man with the likes of the Classic Malts, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Chivas Regal 18-year-old, Baileys and Malibu on his CV.
In 50 years in business, including stints at International Distillers & Vintners (IDV), United Distillers (UD, both now part of Diageo) and Chivas Brothers, he’s seen the power of the right name on the right product at the right time.
Spend an hour or so in his company and – beyond finding it hard to get a word in – you’ll hear a fair bit of what can only be called marketing speak: ‘I’ve always believed in swimming upstream’ … ‘There are more Dr Nos than people who say yes, you can’ … ‘From acorns you grow mighty trees.’
But Espey’s love of jargon conceals a deeper understanding of spirits in general and Scotch whisky in particular, rooted in a refusal to allow short-term worries to overrun long-term vision. Beyond the brands, he also created the Keepers of Quaich, and was awarded the OBE for services to Scotch whisky in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Here’s Espey on the creation (by long-time colleague Tom Jago, with whom he co-founded The Last Drop) of Baileys in 1974: ‘Baileys failed in research, so Tom hid the research, because he believed in the brand … I just had a feeling about Baileys, became chairman of Baileys, went around the world talking about Baileys.’
Within a few years, Espey had persuaded the board of IDV parent Grand Met to spend £8m on a 3m-case Baileys factory in Dublin. ‘One year we even tried to persuade the Irish farmers to change their calving patterns because we were worried about having enough cream,’ he recalls with a wry smile.
And here he is on whisky inventory planning: ‘When I was chairman of Chivas, I remember laying down stock for the next 20 years – more than 20. I got a call from New York one day from a finance man saying: “James? Can you cut the distilling for a month or two because the quarterly earnings are down?” Well, my language was very colourful. I said to him: “Tough.” Because we were taking a long-term view.’
To Espey, his time at IDV in the late 1970s and early 1980s was the most creative and innovative of his career. He was brought to London by then boss Anthony Tennant as marketing director, to oversee the federalisation of IDV’s painfully fragmented empire. ‘Six-month trial,’ Espey recalls. ‘Succeed and you’re on the board; fail and you get shipped back to South Africa. I said: “You’re on.”’
Born in Zambia, Espey was in his 30s by this time, his marketing nous sharpened by the reality of a long stint in sales with IDV outpost Gilbeys South Africa – where he made his mark on the chauffeur-driven sales force by matching them drink for drink (‘They promoted the old-fashioned way – drank like fish’) and challenging them to running races.
IDV – a collection of branded fiefdoms including J&B, Gilbeys, Croft and Smirnoff – was another matter entirely. Espey’s approach was forensic in the extreme: he wrote a doctorate on the history, operations, challenges and potential of the company which he has kept to this day.
It’s an approach that borders on the paradoxical – do your homework assiduously, be as thorough as you can be, but in the end rely on your gut instinct. And, as the success of Baileys, Malibu (created by Espey with the third member of the Last Drop triumvirate, Peter Fleck) and Piat d’Or showed, it worked.
Well, most of the time. Baileys bombed in research, but became one of the most successful drinks launches in history; the follow-up, John Dowland’s Greensleeves – ‘the English Baileys’ – researched brilliantly, but was a total failure – possibly, as Espey acknowledges now, because the liquid was chlorophyll-green.
‘Research is an aid to judgement, not a substitute for judgement,’ he says. ‘Research is like a drunk leaning against a lamp-post: is it there for illumination, or support, or both? You can use these tools, but where is the instinct?’
Johnnie Walker Oldest – later renamed Blue Label – was another Jago creation, a judicious marriage of 15-year-old whisky with what Espey has termed ‘homeopathic’ amounts of 60-year-old liquid (the original label featured the now illegal ‘Aged 15 to 60 Years’ descriptor). The result was a huge boost to the Walker franchise – and to luxury blended Scotch in general.
And the Classic Malts? ‘We did the Classic Malts because we felt there was a future for malts,’ Espey recalls. ‘Glenfiddich had done a brilliant job and we hadn’t – United Distillers hadn’t. The only brand we were selling was Cardhu, which we made the home of Johnnie Walker.
‘I think we had 32 distilleries at the time. We looked at all 32 and said: “What’s a balanced portfolio of interesting distilleries?” We wanted a Lowland, so we picked Glenkinchie; we wanted an Islay, so we chose Lagavulin; we got Talisker for Skye; Dalwhinnie as the highest distillery in Scotland.
‘So we balanced the six and then we packaged it uniquely for the on-trade. It was a fun thing to do at the time because the Distillers Company used to run down single malts. And the one that ran out fastest was Lagavulin, and we’d made that a 16-year-old!’
The genius of the Classic Malts – and it sounds obvious in 2016 – is the rooting of product in place, the simple, regional breakdown of people’s increasing interest in the world of single malts. The way you sell that kind of concept is what Espey calls the ‘soft rain’ of Scotch whisky marketing.
‘When you bring people in from overseas [to Scotland], you’re working on their mindsets,’ he says. ‘You make them get a feeling for Scotch. It’s not about an advert, it’s about this magical industry with its rich heritage and this history.
‘It’s not about kilts and drums, but it’s about the Highlands, the water, the peat, the stories, and I call it softness – it’s very gentle marketing. A lot of what you’ve got to do is to win the hearts and minds.’
When Espey left UD for its Seagram-owned rival, Chivas Regal & Glenlivet Group, in 1992, one of his first acts was to persuade the owning Bronfman family to spend US$10m on revamping the company’s distilleries for tourism, upgrading The Glenlivet and restoring the historic gardens at Glen Grant.
But the ‘soft rain’ theory is perhaps best encapsulated by Espey’s creation of the Keepers of the Quaich in 1988. ‘I wanted something to honour people who had made a contribution to Scotch whisky,’ he explains. ‘It’s the ultimate “soft rain” – a Scotch whisky knighthood.
‘You only induct 80 people a year roughly, twice a year at Blair Castle. And you have to have been in the industry for a minimum of five years. I remember when I was chairman, there were multi-millionaires shaking when I said: “Will you uphold the aims and honour of the Keepers of the Quaich?”’
One of Espey’s other creations was to signal the end of his career at Chivas. He and Jago were convinced that Chivas Regal 18-year-old would be a huge success, but hit internal opposition in the form of their boss. ‘Edgar Bronfman Sr said: “You won’t launch Chivas 18. My father [Sam] launched Chivas 12 and there’ll never be an 18 – you’re wrong.” He didn’t think we could do it, and people were used to saying: “Yes, sir; no, sir.” He was arrogant.’
Against Bronfman’s wishes, Chivas 18 was launched; shortly afterwards, on his wedding anniversary, Espey found himself out of a job. He vowed never to work for a corporation again, taking on a series of non-executive appointments instead – AG Barr, Fuller, Smith & Turner, Church Shoes – and, among other things, helping smooth the sale of Whyte & Mackay to Indian mogul Vijay Mallya.
The Espey vision of human life as brand cycle goes something like this: up to 30: shaping your brand; 30-50: building and enhancing your brand; 50-65: capitalising on your brand; 65-plus: self-reinvention. In Espey’s case, the self-reinvention is The Last Drop Distillers, in which endeavour he is joined by his old muckers, Jago and Fleck.
‘Tom and I registered a company called The Last Drop Distillers Ltd and the slogan Before There is No More because we believe passionately that there are little nuggets of whisky hiding all over Scotland,’ Espey explains. ‘But what happened in the old days was that companies would just blend them in and they would disappear.’
But how to unearth these liquid gems? Espey raided his contacts book, recalling in particular a young accountant from his UD days with whom he had ‘got on like a house on fire’ – Mike Keiller, then boss of Morrison Bowmore.
‘Mike liked the idea and I couldn’t have done it on my own,’ Espey acknowledges. ‘And in his cellars I found sleeping a 1960 whisky, and it was a blend, 82 whiskies – a freak of a blend – and, when we tasted it, we were gobsmacked.’
The Last Drop has released a series of ancient blends since then, plus a memorable 1967 Glen Garioch bottling, all in severely limited numbers and all with frankly eye-watering price tags (the latest, a 50-year-old Double Matured blend, is £3,000 a bottle).
It hasn’t all been plain sailing: it’s not easy to find distribution partners when you’re only selling minuscule amounts of extremely high-value liquid; and, now that Morrison Bowmore is subsumed into the merged Beam Suntory (Keiller is now on the board at The Last Drop), there’s the tricky task of finding the liquid for future bottlings.
‘We want to be agile,’ says Espey. ‘We’re not brokers; we’re not wheeling and dealing in someone else’s brands. We made an absolute virtue of Glen Garioch – we’re proud of it. So Glen Garioch gets all this wonderful PR; every time they write about The Last Drop, they’re getting the benefits.
‘So were there, we could do a marketing job for them, provided they’ve got one or two old parcels. We can help.’
The alternative, of course, would be to sell all or part of the business to an established player. ‘I always saw it as being maybe, one day, a halo brand in somebody’s stable,’ Espey admits. ‘It’s got to be somebody with vision – I’m not here trying to sell the company, but we might talk to someone and they might take a position with us.’
Given the somewhat advanced years of The Last Drop’s founding trio – the company brochure talks of ‘120 years of experience in the bottle’ – that conversation might happen quite soon. But then again, there’s a bit of succession planning going on as well: Espey’s and Jago’s daughters, Beanie and Rebecca, have joined the company in recent times.
Not that Espey – a bundle of ceaseless energy nearly a decade into his ‘retirement’ – is about to pack it all in just yet. ‘It’s a fun industry,’ he says. ‘I’m still in it at 73 because I love it. I’m as passionate about it as the day when I started, and this is my 47th year.’ And that has to rank as decent longevity for any brand.
JAMES ESPEY ON…
Moving to England: ‘I arrived on 18 May 1977 and stayed in the Chesterfield Hotel for six weeks. Then I bought a house in Putney – I had exactly £3,000 in my life and I put that down as a deposit.’
A love of grain whisky: ‘I’m a big fan of grain and I think you will hear more about grain from us. And I think the industry should be making more of a virtue of old grain.’
The 1980s whisky loch: ‘Let me tell you what happened precisely: there was a panic. Suddenly there’s too much whisky, so at the bottom end people were dumping whisky and supermarkets were buying it at £5 a case. If you’re buying three-year-old whisky at £5 a case, who’s making money there? So what happened? People turned off the taps.’
The pressures of the modern whisky industry: ‘I think the bonus culture is a little too short-term. We took a long-term view of everything; if we’d taken a short-term view, we wouldn’t have launched half the brands we did. I do worry and feel for the top executives of these companies – they’re under enormous pressures every day.’
Old-school whisky arrogance: ‘I think 40 years ago the Distillers Company was very arrogant, saying you only drink Scotch with soda water, or on the rocks, or with ordinary water. If you want to drink it with kangaroo juice, I’m happy with that. I drank Scotch with Diet Coke last night with my mother-in-law, and what’s wrong with that?’
The rise of ‘craft’: ‘We’re now seeing all these craft things arising left, right and centre, because the consumer’s tired of big, battalion brands that don’t seem to care about them. I think you’ve got to show through your brand that you care about the consumer.’
Fiery blended whisky pioneer and staunch Scottish Unionist, ‘Restless Peter’ Mackie took on all-comers, from distillery rivals to Liberal Chancellors. leading figures of the early 20th-century
Sir Peter Mackie
Strong personality: Peter Mackie was one of Scotch's most energetic and committed figures. ‘One-third genius, one-third megalomaniac and one-third eccentric.’
So wrote author, diplomat and secret agent Sir Robert Bruce-Lockhart about one of the true pioneers of blended Scotch whisky, a man nicknamed ‘Restless Peter’ by his contemporaries. His real name was Peter Jeffrey Mackie.
Mackie was born on 26 November 1855 in St Ninians, near Stirling, the son of a farmer and grain merchant, Alexander Mackie.
At the age of 23, he started work for his uncle, James Logan Mackie, whose Glasgow-based whisky firm Mackie & Co had been established the year after Peter’s birth.
Mackie worked in partnership with John Graham, whose family leased the Islay distillery of Lagavulin, and Peter was immediately sent there to learn the art of distillation. This gave him an invaluable practical knowledge of the whisky industry.
The Mackies began to blend whisky during the mid-1880s, with Lagavulin at its heart, and Peter Mackie registered the ‘White Horse’ brand in 1891, a year after Mackie & Co (Distillers) was established, with Peter as a partner.
The name White Horse was chosen because of the Mackie family’s centuries-long association with the famous White Horse coaching Inn, situated on Edinburgh’s Canongate.
In 1895 Mackie’s became a limited company, with Peter as chairman, by which time the White Horse blend was enjoying success in a number of export markets, and the firm decided it needed to become involved in distillery ownership in order to secure a supply of malt spirit.
Accordingly, Mackie’s became one of the partners in the Craigellachie Distillery Co Ltd, which in 1891 constructed Craigellachie distillery on Speyside. Mackie & Co (Distillers) Ltd went on to take full control of Craigellachie during 1916.
Peter Mackie had a large sign in his office at 13 Carlton Place, Glasgow, bearing the legend Take nothing for granted, and he was described by Allen Andrews in his 1977 book The Whisky Barons as ‘The fieriest of all the modern pioneers of blended Scotch whisky…’
This temperament was well illustrated by the creation of Malt Mill distillery in 1908 and by his response to Liberal Chancellor David Lloyd George’s Budget the following year.
As well as his association with Lagavulin, Peter Mackie also acted as sales agent for nearby Laphroaig distillery. When he lost this role due to a disagreement over water rights, he decided to make his own version of Laphroaig.
Accordingly, he constructed a small distillery named Malt Mill within the Lagavulin site, poaching Laphroaig staff to run it for him and firing the stills using only peat. Despite never proving a danger to Laphroaig’s sales, Malt Mill continued to operate until 1960.
Peter Mackie’s next battle was waged against Lloyd George. Mackie was a staunch Tory who was outraged by the ‘People’s Budget’ of April 1909. The provisions included an increase in distillers’ licence fees and in duty on spirits by 3s 6d, from 11s to 14s 6d. This was a rise of approximately one-third, and all Scotch whisky distillers were predictably furious.
Peter Mackie provided the most memorable response to the Budget when he declared that:
‘The whole framing of the Budget is that of a faddist and a crank and not a statesman. But what can one expect of a Welsh country solicitor being placed, without any commercial training, as Chancellor of the Exchequer in a large country like this?’
When it came to blending whisky, Peter Mackie was passionate about quality, using significant amounts of well-aged component malt whiskies, and he campaigned for a minimum age specification for Scotch whisky.
The distillery chronicler Alfred Barnard was commissioned by Mackie to produce a pamphlet about the company’s distilleries and blending operations, and the chapter entitled How to blend whisky is revealing of Mackie’s modus operandi.
‘By request we give an example of a blend that has been most popular both at home and abroad. Average age, seven years.’
This is presumably White Horse, and Barnard describes the composition – with only one-quarter grain whisky – as follows:
3 Glenlivets_____________5 parts
2 Islays________________3 “
2 Lowland Malts_________3 “
1 Campbeltown_________ 1 “
2 Grains_______________ 4 “
Although whisky was his abiding passion, ‘Restless Peter’ Mackie managed to find time to involve himself in a wide variety of interests, including the manufacture of BBM – ‘Bran, Bone and Muscle’ flour – which was prepared in the basement of the firm’s Glasgow premises, with all company employees being instructed to buy it for baking purposes.
As an active and vocal member of the Scottish Unionist Association, he wrote and spoke extensively about tariff reform and federalism, travelling widely in the process.
He was also an estate owner in Argyllshire, donating cattle from his own herd to Rhodesia in 1918 in order to encourage livestock breeding there. He even financed an anthropological expedition to Uganda.
Mackie was created a baronet in the 1920 Birthday Honours, and in the same year Mackie & Co (Distillers) Ltd acquired Hazelburn distillery in Campbeltown.
When in the ensuing years Campbeltown whiskies began to gain an unwelcome reputation for poor quality, Mackie announced that his Hazelburn distillery was no longer producing Campbeltown whisky – but Kintyre whisky.
It is said that Sir Peter Mackie was amenable to the sale of his company in the early 1920s, partly because his son and likely successor had been killed during the First World War. Unsuccessful negotiations were held with John Dewar & Sons, prior to Mackie’s death in September 1924 at Corraith in Ayrshire.
In that year the firm was renamed White Horse Distillers Ltd and became a public company, ultimately being taken over by the mighty Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) three years later.
DCL – and its successor company Diageo – continued to develop the White Horse brand, which now sells principally in Japan, Brazil, Greece, the UK, Africa and the US.
It still boasts a relatively high malt content and has a peaty character redolent of Lagavulin – a fitting legacy for one of the whisky industry’s most energetic and committed figures.
One of the famed ‘Whisky Barons’ of the late 19th century, James Buchanan overcame ill-health to make his blends some of the most popular in the world, amassing a huge fortune matched only by his legacy to the world of Scotch whisky.
The term ‘Whisky Barons’ is often loosely applied to the individuals who made their fortunes during the blended Scotch whisky boom of the second half of the 19th century, and who were ultimately recipients of honours from a grateful nation.
One such Baron was James Buchanan, whose name is inextricably linked with the Black & White blend which he created. Although elusive in the domestic market, more mature consumers have fond memories of its label, depicting a black ‘Scotty’ dog and a White ‘Westie’. Indeed, the story goes that Buchanan was inspired to use this image while returning home from a dog show.
James Buchanan was born in 1849 in Rockville, Ontario, Canada, where his parents Alexander and Catherine had emigrated, though much of his childhood was spent at Larne, on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland, where his father was employed as a quarry manager,
Despite ill-health as a child, Buchanan began to work for Glasgow shipping agent William Sloan & Co at the age of 14, serving as office boy and then clerk. He then joined his brother William’s Glasgow-based grain business, before taking his first steps in the world of whisky as London-based agent for Charles Mackinlay & Co from 1879.
In their book The Making of Scotch Whisky, Michael S Moss and John R Hume describe Buchanan’s career with Mackinlay as ‘…short and unsuccessful’, but he fared rather better after forming James Buchanan & Co in 1884, aided by Glasgow blender William Lowrie, who initially provided Buchanan with his bespoke blend. Just a year after establishing his own company, The Buchanan Blend was being supplied to the Houses of Parliament.
Photographs of James Buchanan from this period show an elegant and immaculately dressed figure, and he shared a flair for publicity with fellow would-be whisky barons such as Tommy Dewar, being driven in a red-wheeled carriage, complete with liveried footman. Like Dewar, he was also quick to see the potential in advertising his whisky, first taking out newspaper adverts in 1887.
Sales grew dramatically on a global basis, with Buchanan establishing what ultimately became known as the Black & White blend as a smooth, refined, well-matured whisky with a relatively high malt content.
The blend required supplies of quality malt whisky to fuel its expansion, and in 1897 James Buchanan & Co Ltd combined with old associates WP Lowrie & Co Ltd to form the Glentauchers-Glenlivet Distillery Company. A distillery was constructed at Mulben, near the Speyside distilling town of Keith, with production commencing in June 1898.
That same year, Buchanan received Royal Warrants to supply whisky to Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York and, when Buchanan & Co became a limited company five years later, James Buchanan was worth £750,000. By 1909, his whisky was the best-selling blend in England.
The early years of the 20th century saw Buchanan open offices in Paris, New York, Hamburg and Buenos Aires as the blend continued to flouriping operation much more efficient. The following year, he invested in the North British Bottle Manufacturing Company and purchased the Acme Tea Chest Company.
Such was the ongoing success of Buchanan’s business that, in 1915, James Buchanan & Co Ltd merged with John Dewar & Sons Ltd, creating a company ultimately known as Buchanan-Dewar Ltd.
In 1922, the company acquired the Benrinnes-Glenlivet distillery near Aberlour, and by that time it already owned 11 Scottish distilleries, including Port Ellen, Royal Lochnagar, Aultmore, Dalwhinnie and Convalmore. Buchanan-Dewar Ltd became part of the Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) empire in 1925.
James Buchanan soon ceased to play an active part in the company’s affairs, having been plagued by ill-health all his life. He swapped the commercial world for the life of an English country gentleman, purchasing the Lavington Park estate near Petworth in Sussex, where he bred cattle and sheep, and established a successful thoroughbred stud.
Buchanan’s horses twice won the Epsom Derby and St Leger ‘classics’, with Hurry On landing the 1916 St Leger, while Captain Cuttle took the 1922 Derby and Coronach scored in both the Derby and St Leger of 1926
In addition to Lavington Park, Buchanan owned land in Kenya and Argentina and, in partnership with Lord Aberdeen, operated a 20,000-acre fruit farm in British Columbia. Back home, he was appointed High Sheriff of Sussex in 1910, and was elected as a member of the Jockey Club in 1927.
James Buchanan became Sir James Buchanan in 1920, then was elevated to the peerage as Baron Woolavington two years later in the New Year’s Honours List.
Officially, the baronetcy was a reward for Buchanan’s undoubtedly extensive charitable activities – in the best traditions of his time, he was a generous philanthropist – but he also allegedly paid £50,000 to Lloyd George’s government in return for his honour. Lloyd George was known to view the honours system as a useful means of raising revenue, so the story may well be true.
Buchanan was nothing if not shrewd, however, and reputedly signed his cheque with the name ‘Woolavington’, dating it 2 January – the day after the title was officially to be announced – so that no payment would be made unless the promised baronetcy was forthcoming.
Buchanan had married Annie Eliza Pounder, a widow 13 years his junior, in 1891, and their only son died in infancy. This meant that, when Buchanan died in August 1935 at the age of 85, the baronetcy became extinct, although the couple also had a daughter, Catherine. Buchanan’s estate was worth in excess of £7m, or more than £450m in today’s terms.
His legacy to the world of Scotch whisky was equally significant. By insisting that his whiskies should be well-aged and have a significant malt content, James Buchanan did much to make blended Scotch both popular and respectable, and played a leading role in helping it to become a drink for the world.
Der Spirituosen-Konzern Diageo kauft den Wermut-Hersteller Belsazar. Die Marke des Berliner Start-ups schließt eine Lücke im Portfolio des Getränke-Giganten.
Diageo hat seinem Portfolio eine weitere aufstrebende Marke hinzugefügt: Der weltgrößte Spirituosen-Konzern hat den deutschen Wermut-Hersteller Belsazar übernommen. Wie das britische Unternehmen, zu dessen bekanntesten Marken Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Baileys und Guinness gehören, mitteilt, will der Konzern damit seine Präsenz im Aperitif-Segment stärken und die Marke im europäischen Raum weiter bekannt machen.
Marktbeobachter sehen in der Übernahme insbesondere den Versuch von Diageo, eine Lücke im Portfolio zu schließen und den Trend zu leichteren alkoholischen Getränken zu bedienen, wie es der konkurrierende Pernod-Ricard-Konzern und insbesondere die Campari-Gruppe schon tun. Über das Volumen der Vereinbarung mit der Belsazar GmbH wurde nichts bekannt, auch Umsatzzahlen wurden nicht genannt.
„Viele Möglichkeiten für uns“
Belsazar ist eine sehr junge Marke. Die Firma ist erst Ende 2013 von Maximilian Wagner und Sebastian Brack, die zuvor für die Münchener Gin-Destille „The Duke“ beziehungsweise für die Tonic-Marke „Thomas Henry“ tätig waren, in Berlin gegründet worden. Mit seinen vier unterschiedlichen Wermut-Varianten – Dry, White, Rose und Red – im gehobenen Segment sorgte das Start-up auf dem boomenden Wermut-Markt als erster deutscher Hersteller innerhalb von nur zwei Jahren für Furore und wurde in der Bar-Szene schnell bekannt.
Bei der „International Spirits Challenge“, einem renommierten Spirituosenwettbewerb, wurde Belsazar 2014 in den Kategorien „New Product Range“ und „Best Design and Packaging for On-Trade-Products“ mit zwei Goldmedaillen ausgezeichnet. Inzwischen sind die Würzweine aus Berlin vor allem in der anspruchsvollen Gastronomie weitverbreitet, in erster Linie in Deutschland, zunehmend aber auch im europäischen Ausland, dort insbesondere in Großbritannien.
Produziert wird der Wermut in Südbaden. Die Grundweine stammen von Winzern im Markgräflerland und am Kaiserstuhl. Die Mazeration, sprich die Aromatisierung der Weine mit Kräutern, Gewürzen und dem namengebenden Wermutkraut, das Aufspriten mit Weinbrand und das Veredeln mit Obstbrand und Traubenmost, werden in Zusammenarbeit mit der Traditionsbrennerei Schladerer in Staufen im Breisgau vorgenommen.
Daran soll sich nach den Worten von Wagner und Brack, die die Firma nach der Übernahme durch Diageo als Direktoren weiterhin leiten werden, auch in Zukunft nichts ändern. Die Produktion werde wie bisher mit den gleichen Lieferanten und an gleicher Stelle fortgesetzt. „Für Belsazar bietet die Übernahme und damit die Integration in eine der weltweit größten Vertriebsorganisationen viele Möglichkeiten“, sagte Wagner
Es sei aber nicht daran gedacht und auch nicht möglich, die Produktion kurzfristig stark zu erhöhen. „Wir wollen die Menge nicht über Nacht verdoppeln oder verdreifachen, sondern organisch wachsen“, fügte Brack hinzu. Die Qualität des Wermuts habe Vorrang und setze gewisse Wachstumsgrenzen. Ideen für neue Produkte und spezielle Editionen gebe es gleichwohl schon. Der Wermut-Markt sei noch lange nicht „ausgereizt“.
This trio of single malts – Dufftown, Glen Ord and Glendullan – has given Diageo a top five brand.
SPEYSIDE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
The Singleton is actually a threesome of single malts each with a growing family of expressions around a core 12-year-old. First was Singleton of Glen Ord, Diageo’s ‘green grassy’ malt from the Black Isle which was reserved for Asia. Then came two Speysiders – The Singleton of Glendullan (fruity, grassy) for the US and Canada, and The Singleton of Dufftown (nutty, spicy), which was kept just for Europe. Today all three are available globally in a bid to become the world’s number one single malt brand.
In each case with The Singleton of Glendullan, Dufftown and Glen Ord, the range has been expanded with older expressions and those with no age statement at all. Examples include Dufftown’s Spey Cascade, Tailfire and Sunray, and Glendullan’s Master’s Art that is finished in Muscat casks.
Described as a ‘recruitment malt’, The Singleton has become the key driver in Diageo’s single malt portfolio, flanked by ‘discovery malts’ like Talisker and Oban, and ‘prestige malts’ like Mortlach and the annual Special Releases range.
For a giant with such prominent brands, Diageo is not used to playing catch-up to its smaller rivals, but that is what has happened with single malts.
With a view to redressing the balance, The Singleton range was launched in 2006, starting with Glen Ord, followed by Glendullan and Dufftown 12 months later. The brand’s success led to a major expansion at Glen Ord in 2014 that doubled capacity to 10 million LPA (litres of alcohol per annum).
In the same year, Diageo launched The Singleton of Dufftown Tailfire and Sunray – the first two NAS expressions in the brand’s portfolio.
By 2015 Diageo revealed plans to grow The Singleton as a single malt brand in its own right, to take on the might of The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich which jointly held the title of world’s biggest malt brand.
DIAGEO’S 2018 SPECIAL RELEASES REVEALED
Diageo has revealed the first nine bottlings in its 2018 Special Releases, which for the first year since its launch does not feature Brora or Port Ellen.
Diageo Special Releases 2018
Sneak preview: Diageo’s 2018 Special Releases will not be released until this autumn
The annual whisky collection is a selection of limited edition whiskies from distilleries within the Diageo portfolio, often comprising rare and old liquid from lesser-known and closed sites.
However for the first time since the collection launched in 2001, Port Ellen and Brora will not appear in the range, instead rare expressions from both distilleries will be available for purchase ‘as annual bottlings outside of the collection’.
Donald Colville, Diageo’s global malts ambassador, said the decision to remove the two Special Releases stalwarts follows plans to re-open both distilleries in 2020.
He said: ‘The thing with Port Ellen and Brora is we are removing them from the collection, but they will be given their own place, and will be individually released in about a year.
‘We’re bringing them in line with the announcement of the reopening of the distilleries; we felt it was time to give them their own place to be highlighted.
‘You’ll still see releases on a potentially annual basis, but now it will give us the opportunity to pick and choose what to release, so we can be more protective over these diminishing stocks.’
The 2018 Special Releases features eight single malt whiskies, plus a 48-year-old grain whisky from Carsebridge distillery, which closed in 1983 and was subsequently demolished.
Among the single malts are a 21-year-old Oban matured in refill European oak butts – a departure from the ex-Bourbon casks usually used, a 28-year-old Pittyvaich which closed in 1993, and a 14-year-old Singleton of Glen Ord, which Colville describes as using a ‘very special and experimental maturation process’.
He said: ‘We are keeping details of The Singleton of Glen Ord under wraps for now, but I can say it’s been through five different casks, so it’s very unique and special, and has given our blenders the chance to try new things.’
Also in the line-up is an eight-year-old Talisker, a distillery that hasn’t appeared in the Special Releases since a 27-year-old bottling in 2013. The expression, bottled at 59.4% abv, reflects one of the original bottling strengths used by John Walker & Sons when it took over the distillery in 1916.
The 10th expression in the line-up will not be revealed until the autumn, when prices for the complete range will also be announced.
Colville said: ‘We need to keep our secrets, but what I will say is it’s going to be something different, something special and something everybody will really love.
‘The thing with the Special Releases is every bottling is brilliant and they’ve all got their unique stories.’
The complete range is set for release later this year.
The first nine whiskies in Diageo’s Special Releases 2018 are:
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
Availability: 1,000 bottles
Caol Ila Unpeated 15-year-old
Cask: Refill and rejuvenated American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts
Availability: Limited quantities worldwide
Caol Ila 35-year-old
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads and refill European oak butts
Availability: 3,276 bottles
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
Availability: 8,544 bottles
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
Availability: Limited quantities available worldwide
Cask: Refill European oak butts
Availability: Limited availability worldwide
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads
Availability: 4,680 bottles
The Singleton of Glen Ord 14-year-old
Cask: Refill American oak hogsheads and ex-bodega European oak butts
followed by a ‘unique maturation and marrying process’
Availability: Limited quantities available worldwide
Cask: First-fill ex-Bourbon American oak hogsheads
Availability: Limited availability worldwide
Diageo to invest £150m in Scotch visitor centres
Diageo has announced a £150m investment over three years to transform its Scotch whisky visitor experiences.
The heart of the investment will be a new Johnnie Walker immersive visitor experience based in Edinburgh, and Diageo will also upgrade its 12 other distillery visitor centres.
Diageo chief executive, Ivan Menezes, commitment to growing our Scotch whisky brands and supporting Scotland’s tourism industry.
“For decades to come our distilleries will play a big role in attracting more international visitors to Scotland. I am also delighted we will be able to bring our knowledge and expertise to help the next generation, through mentor programmes and skills training.”
Whisky from Diageo’s distilleries all over Scotland contribute to Johnnie Walker, but four distilleries, Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish, will be linked directly to the Johnnie Walker venue in Edinburgh.
They will represent the ‘four corners of Scotland’ and the regional flavour variations of Scotch whisky, creating a Johnnie Walker tour of Scotland.
First minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, added: “This significant investment will not only help attract more tourists to Scotland, offering world class visitor experiences, but it also underlines the fundamental importance of the whisky sector to Scotland’s economy.”
Diageo’s other visitor distilleries: Lagavulin, Talisker, Glen Ord, Oban, Dalwhinnie, Blair Athol, Cragganmore and Royal Lochnagar, will also receive investment to support the growth of single malt Scotch whisky. This is in addition to the £35m already committed to re-open the Port Ellen and Brora distilleries
DIAGEO STARTS BUILD OF £6.4M WHISKY LAB
Diageo, the producer of Johnnie Walker, has begun the construction of a new £6.4 million whisky blending and testing centre in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire.
Ewan Andrew and Alan Kennedy of Diageo unveil plans for the new technical centre in Menstrie
The state-of-the-art ‘technical centre of excellence’ will be used by Diageo’s scientists to blend and test recipes for Johnnie Walker, Bell’s and J&B Scotch whiskies, as well as other spirits including Gordon’s gin and Smirnoff vodka.
The new facility – due to open in autumn 2019 – will be situated adjacent to Diageo’s existing Technical Centre in Menstrie, which will continue to be used to house offices and meeting rooms.
The project builds on the company’s large footprint in the Clackmannanshire area, which already includes the Blackgrange warehousing complex, Cambus cooperage, Abercrombie coppersmiths, Leven pilot distillery and the global brand archive.
‘Our Technical Centre in Menstrie is a crucial part of our business globally, delivering excellence in science and innovation,’ said Ewan Andrew, director of Diageo International Supply Centre.
‘This investment will create new state-of-the-art facilities for our talented team of whisky specialists and scientists to enhance the industry-leading work they do on growing and protecting our business around the world.’
The new technical centre will offer ‘world-class’ facilities for Diageo’s scientists, and act as a hub for innovation in spirits, as well as in environmental sustainability in manufacturing.
Keith Brown, MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, said: ‘This announcement from Diageo of a £6.4 million investment in their site at Menstrie is fantastic news for Clackmannanshire and will be a boost to both the local and Scottish economy.
BUCHANAN’S MOVES INTO BLENDED MALTS
Buchanan’s has introduced a 15-year-old blended malt whisky as a permanent addition to its range – a first for the blended Scotch brand.
Buchanan’s Select 15 year old blended malt
Going grainless: Buchanan’s Select is the brand's first blended malt whisky expression
Buchanan’s Select 15 Year Old is a 40% abv blend of single malts ‘from the heart of Scotland’, with a ‘rich and complex’ flavour.
The expression marks a new direction for Buchanan’s, the 12th-largest Scotch whisky in the world, whose range is comprised of blended Scotch whiskies, including Buchanan’s Deluxe, Master and Special Reserve.
‘Buchanan’s Select is unlike any other marque in our portfolio,’ said Tara King, Buchanan's senior brand manager.
‘The Buchanan’s portfolio has always been comprised of award-winning liquids, and we are proud to introduce another highly regarded whisky to our collection.’
The expression launched in Mexico earlier this year, and is now being rolled out across key Buchanan’s markets, including the US.
It was created by Diageo master blender Craig Wallace, who was responsible for several Singleton editions, as well as the more experimental Smoky Goat whisky.
He said: ‘Buchanan’s Select offers a combination of only fine single malts with great character and balance at the beginning, and evolves over caramelised notes to end in a persistent finish, marked by notes of toasted oak, initial aromas of caramel, walnut, light notes of apple and ripe pear.’
Buchanan’s Select 15 Year Old will be available in the US and other key markets for around US$49.99 for a 750ml bottle.
Buchanan’s isn’t the only blended whisky brand to branch into blended malts in recent years.
Johnnie Walker reintroduced Green Label to several key markets in February 2016, following it up with a peated expression, Island Green, three months later.
Later the same year Chivas Regal introduced its new Chivas Ultis expression, a luxury blended malt designed to ‘offer something a bit different to our consumers, but which is still very much Chivas’.
In August 2017 the Famous Grouse relaunched the Naked Grouse expression as a blended malt with a new ‘accessible’ recipe for millennials, while Ballantine’s has also released three single malts under its brand name.
GAME OF THRONES SINGLE MALTS ARE COMING
Diageo has teased the release of a new collection of Game of Thrones-inspired single malts, due for release this autumn.
Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection
Little is being given away about the new Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection
The series will feature eight single malts from the Scotch whisky producer’s stable of distilleries and brands, including Lagavulin, Oban, Talisker, Cardhu, Royal Lochnagar, Dalwhinnie, Clynelish and The Singleton.
Diageo announced the collaboration with the award-winning HBO series in a short trailer released on its Lagavulin Twitter account: ‘Honor the great houses and the Night’s Watch with the GameofThrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection, coming this fall. Eight single malt scotch whiskies.
It’s anticipated that each bottling in the series will be named after the seven Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms – Stark, Targaryen, Lannister, Tyrell, Bolton, Baratheon and Martell – as well as the Night’s Watch, an army tasked with defending The Wall against the wildlings who live beyond.
The collection is due for launch later this autumn, ahead of the eighth and final series of Game of Thrones, which airs in 2019.
The TV dramatisation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels has received widespread acclaim since its debut in 2011, including 38 Primetime Emmy Awards.
The Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection will also coincide with the release of a commemorative Johnnie Walker.
The release of White Walker by Johnnie Walker was teased across social media in May this year, with an image of the brand’s iconic Striding Man transformed into a White Walker – one of the show’s army of undead villains.
White Walker by Johnnie Walker is also scheduled for release this autumn, although brand owner Diageo is yet to unveil further details about the edition.
LAST DROP DISTILLERS’ TOM JAGO DIES AGED 93
Tom Jago, co-founder of Last Drop Distillers and the man behind the conception of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and the Diageo Classic Malts, has passed away aged 93.
Industry legend: Tom Jago (1925-2018) was considered a true creative and visionary
Known for his creativity, ‘incisive humour’ and flair for marketing, Jago can be credited for introducing some of the world’s best-loved spirits.
Jago was born on 21 July 1925 as the son of a bank manager. From his childhood in North Cornwall he went on to read history at Oxford and served as an officer in the Royal Navy during WWII.
A twist of fate saw Jago attend the wrong job interview – he had intended to become a photographer, but landed a role as a copywriter at Mather & Crowther. Quickly taking to a career in advertising, and finding a niche in the world of spirits, Jago began working with Gilbey’s Gin, then owned by International Distillers & Vintners (IDV).
He was encouraged to let his creativity flourish, and while at IDV he gave birth to one of his greatest creations – Bailey’s Irish Cream. The initial recipe was a blend of Irish whiskey, cream and Nesquik, but was rejected by consumers during testing. That wasn’t to stop Jago, who – according to his long-term business partner, James Espey – hid the research, and launched the brand in 1974.
Today Bailey’s is the world’s best-selling liqueur, moving around seven million cases a year.
During his time at IDV, Jago also developed the concept for Malibu rum, taking a coconut-style rum called Coco Rico, developed by Gilbey’s South Africa, and transforming it into a Caribbean-style rum under the Malibu brand.
After leaving IDV in 1982, Jago joined Hennessy working on Cognac brands including Hine and Davidoff.
Jago was ‘humbly proud’ to be named Master of the Quaich in 2017
A few years later he rejoined Espey at United Distillers (which eventually became Diageo) as head of innovation, where the pair realised the potential of the company’s vast single malt distillery portfolio.
‘United Distillers were not very pro single malts at that stage and their entire focus was purely blends,’ Espey recalled. ‘Accordingly, we looked at our 32 distilleries, and chose six. The Six Classic Malts were launched in 1987 and did a great deal to create interest in single malts and tourism in
The pair also created a super-premium blend under the Johnnie Walker label – Johnnie Walker Oldest. Originally a 15-year-old whisky teaspooned with a drop of 60-year-old and carrying the now illegal age statement of ‘Aged 15-60 Years’ on the label, it morphed eventually into the no-age-statement Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
Jago and Espey moved on to work at Chivas Brothers, where they created Chivas 18, and consulted for Whyte & Mackay before together founding Last Drop Distillers in 2011 with the goal to create the ‘world’s most exclusive spirits collection’.
Bottling rare and old spirits under The Last Drop brand, including a 1967 Glen Garioch, 1972 Lochside and a 50-year-old blended Scotch. In 2016 the company was sold to US drinks group Sazerac, with the day-to-day control of the business passing on to Jago and Espey’s daughters, Rebecca and Beanie.
In 2017, at the age of 91, Jago was made a Master of the Quaich. His citation, read during the Keepers of the Quaich ceremony, read: ‘Revered by many as a proper ‘renaissance’ man, Tom’s profound vision, incisive style and ability to think differently always set him apart from the crowd, especially when armed with an irrepressible glint in the eye and infectious mischief in his smile. Indeed, it is fair to say that Tom’s influence has truly moved the industry in a way that few could ever dream to match.’
Jago passed away on Friday 12 October, just months after the death of his wife Penelope. He is survived by his four children – his son, Dan Jago, is chief executive of London wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd – six grand-children and his brother.
‘It is with much sadness that I write on the passing of my dear friend and partner of over 40 years, Tom Jago,’ Espey said. ‘He is often described as the man who changed the face of British drinking.
‘Tom was one of the real gentlemen of the liquor industry. He had a natural creative flair and was quite happy to try things that were completely different and go against the stream. It is this trait, which informed his career from the early days right up until he died. He was a man who was much loved and will be much missed by the industry.’
In a statement, The Last Drop Distillers said: ‘It is with profound and heartfelt sadness that we announce the death of our co-founder and inspirational president, Tom Jago, aged 93. Beloved by us all, we give thanks for his brilliance, his incisive humour and, above all, his deep affection for the team and the industry he so loved. Rest in peace, Tom.’
Diageo has agreed the sale of 19 brands to Sazerac for an aggregate consideration of $550m, due for completion in early 2019.
The brands included in the transaction are Seagram’s VO, Seagram’s 83, Seagram’s Five Star, Myers’s, Parrot Bay, Romana Sambuca, Popov, Yukon Jack, Goldschlager, Stirrings, The Club, Scoresby, Black Haus, Peligroso, Relska, Grind, Piehole, Booth’s and John Begg.
The net proceeds of approximately £340m, after tax and transaction costs, will be returned to shareholders through a share repurchase following completion
Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said: “Diageo has a clear strategy to deliver consistent efficient growth and value creation for our shareholders.
“This includes a disciplined approach to allocating resources and capital to ensure we maximise returns over time. Today’s announcement is another example of this strategy in action. The disposal of these brands enables us to have even greater focus on the faster growing premium and above brands in the US spirits portfolio.”
The transaction is expected to generate a gain on disposal of approximately £110m.
Diageo has also agreed to enter into long-term supply contracts with Sazerac on five of the brands for a period of 10 years.
DIAGEO PLANS NEW US$130M KENTUCKY DISTILLERY
Spirits giant Diageo intends to build a US$130 million distillery in Kentucky which will produce ‘a variety’ of different whiskeys under one roof.
After Bulleit’s success, Diageo’s new site will aim to provide more ‘variety’ in its portfolio
Diageo’s proposal for the site, to be located in the city of Lebanon, KY, includes a still house, dry house and warehousing space, and is designed to help the UK-based multinational grow its stake in Bourbon and American whiskey.
Barry Becton, senior director of federal affairs at Diageo North America, said: ‘Bourbon and American whiskey are vibrant and growing categories, and we are excited to expand Diageo’s footprint in Kentucky to support our ambitions in this space.’
The new site will add to the portfolio of distilleries Diageo already owns in the state: Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, home of the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience, and Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville.
Construction of the distillery is expected to take three years and create 30 new full-time jobs once the site is complete.
Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said: ‘This latest investment by Diageo is indicative of continued growth for the company and within our Bourbon and spirits industry.
‘We are proud to further our relationship with Diageo, and of the job growth associated with these announcements.’
Diageo’s increased commitment to American whiskey comes on the heels of its renewed investment in Scotch, as the company is spending £35m to bring closed distilleries Port Ellen and Brora back into production and £150m to upgrade its Scotch whisky tourism facilities.
GAME OF THRONES SINGLE MALTS
Game of Thrones single malt whisky review: Talisker, Lagavulin, Oban, Royal Lochnagar, Cardhu, Clynelish, Dalwhinnie, Glendullan
At last. They’ve been launched in the US since November and while it’s taken as much cunning and resolve as a twisted Lannister scheme, we’ve finally got our hands on samples of the much-anticipated Game of Thrones single malts.
Eight whiskies, each from a different distillery in Diageo’s portfolio, have been chosen to represent the seven Great Houses of Westeros, and the stewards of the Wall, the Night’s Watch.
Six expressions in the collection feature completely new liquid bottled especially for the series, although the Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old and Cardhu Gold Reserve are rebottlings of their namesakes that are widely available in Europe and other markets. Both editions, however, are new to the US.
The collection is set to launch globally at the end of February (precise release date tbc), in preparation for the airing of the eighth, and final, season of Game of Thrones in April. Excited yet?
Who will be the victor in the battle for the Iron Throne? When it comes to the whisky at least, Scotchwhisky.com editor Becky Paskin has her bets firmly fixed on a particular Islay bottling.
In the spirit of mounting anticipation for the final series, an accompanying soundtrack has been compiled courtesy of Ramin Djawadi, the composer for Game of Thrones’
> Cardhu Gold Reserve, Game of Thrones House Targaryen
> Clynelish Reserve, Game of Thrones House Tyrell
> Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost, Game of Thrones House Stark
> Lagavulin 9 Years Old, Game of Thrones House Lannister
> Oban Bay Reserve, Game of Thrones The Night’s Watch
> Royal Lochnagar 12 Years Old, Game of Thrones House Baratheon
> Singleton of Glendullan Select, Game of Thrones House Tully
> Talisker Select Reserve, Game of Thrones House Greyjoy
CARDHU GOLD RESERVE, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE TARGARYEN
Single malt whisky
Fruity & Spicy
Classic Cardhu: soft toffee sweetness and crumbly red apples with a touch of poached pear. Soft baking spices and lightly toasted oak add some gravitas to an otherwise subtle nose, alongside a hint of crunchy malt.
Soft and very delicate. More red apples and hard caramel, like those shards you get on a fancy dessert. Delicate spices – cinnamon, cardamom – build along the sides of the tongue, creating a little dryness.
Dry, a touch of spice, and short.
An easy-drinker, but lacking in substance. Best put it in a Highball or (especially at this time of year) a Toddy. With winter coming, you’re going to need to warm up.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Poor Daenerys. The Mother of Dragons asked for fire and her Gorgeous Beasts can barely manage a whimper.
CLYNELISH RESERVE, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE TYRELL
Single malt whisky
Rich & Round
There’s initially an overwhelming sense of furniture polish and beeswax, but leave it a few moments to settle in the glass and it relaxes into dried, leathery papaya and juicy guava and mango. After more time it becomes meatier still, accented by creamy vanilla and the gentle sour aroma of a freshly-baked chewy brown loaf, although the sting of astringent polish lurks in the corner.
Chewy and viscous, and not at all as spicy as the abv would suggest – the highest of the collection. Those tropical fruits roll onto the palate, accompanied by the salty, leathery pull of cured Spanish ham. Water loosens the fruits and things become juicier.
Dry, and mouth-wateringly zingy.
Hearty, robust and bold, much like the Tyrell women.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Lady Olenna finally reveals her secret, a deviously revengeful parting Message for Cersei.
DALWHINNIE WINTER’S FROST, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE STARK
Single malt whisky
Fruity & Spicy
That classic, clean Dalwhinnie combination of sweet honey and delicate fruits. Dried hay and crunchy malt give substance from the off, before set heather honey and fresh citrus fruits – grapefruit, blood orange juice – add lift. There’s vanilla caramel sweetness and a generous bowl of (still crunchy) Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. A real ‘breakfast dram’.
Sweet, crunchy malt and some nuttiness. Lemon sherbets and green apple lift things up as a touch of black pepper spice sets the tongue buzzing. But there it reaches its limit; things remains pretty two-dimensional from here on, aside from the warming effect of sucking on barley sugars and cough candies.
Some Robinsons lemon barley water and hard caramel. Pretty short.
Light, inoffensive and a friend to all – much like the Starks before the Lannister fall-out.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
A final family breakfast at Winterfell. They won’t be coming Home for a while.
LAGAVULIN 9 YEARS OLD, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE LANNISTER
Single malt whisky
Smoky & Peaty
The first whiff is all peat smoke and sea salt, but it quickly reveals luscious juicy blackcurrants and fresh mint, raspberry leaf tea and mouthwatering stone fruits. The most alluring nose of the Game of Thrones Collection.
Grilled, almost blackened bananas, blackcurrant coulis and soft gingerbread biscuits. Heavy vanilla cream and crispy marshmallows with deliciously gooey centres, toasted over a beachside bonfire. It’s a tight palate, each element assuming its place in harmony with the next.
Dry but long, with a moreish flavour of salted, almost burnt, caramel.
For a nine-year-old it’s remarkably mature, a beautiful balance between distillery character and cask. It’s best enjoyed neat as it appears to fall apart with water. Apparently a whisky that ‘recalls the Lannisters’ riches’, but it’s far better to share the wealth (and give over the throne, eh Cersei?)
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Recovering the Spoils of War with a devilish glee.
OBAN BAY RESERVE, GAME OF THRONES THE NIGHT’S WATCH
Single malt whisky
Fruity & Spicy
That’s funky. The (not unpleasant) aroma of goat’s cheese and stale hay is striking, but calms into bitter cocoa powder and densely syrupy black morello cherries, accompanied by a waft of mentholic Vaporub and waxy petroleum jelly.
The waxiness continues onto the palate, where dark berry pie, with blackcurrants, liquorice and cocoa nibs, dominates. Toasted oak spice prickles the sides of the tongue, while dried citrus peel, cloves and cinnamon add some lift.
Dark fruits and a smidge of that funky goat’s cheese.
Oban has a dark side. Highly recommended.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
The Winds of Winter whip around the Wall as the Night’s Watch gather their strength for the impending battle.
ROYAL LOCHNAGAR 12 YEARS OLD, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE BARATHEON
Single malt whisky
Fragrant & Floral
Vibrant and engaging, all lemon zest and fragrant olive oil. Toasted oak and vanilla-rich cream toffees provide the sweetness, with floral/herbal notes of lemon verbena and cherry blossoms.
Light and lemony-fresh with some zesty spice, but weighted by toasted oak, caramel and earthy liquorice. That viscous olive oil really coats the palate. Although a light, creamy toffee dessert emerges towards the finish, things remain citrus-accented throughout.
Uplifting, refreshing and moreish, though just a hint of bitter furniture polish lingers.
A whisky fit for royalty, although perhaps a tad delicate for the brutish Baratheons, least of all the sadistic Joffrey.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
The House of Baratheon lies Before the Old Gods now.
SINGLETON OF GLENDULLAN SELECT, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE TULLY
Single malt whisky
Fruity & Spicy
Top notes of green apples, with a richer, underlying sweetness of sticky blood orange spiked with cloves and currants. Crushed milk chocolate digestives and melting vanilla ice cream.
Softer than the nose would suggest, diving straight into a pot of vanilla custard and melting chocolate chips. The dessert moves into baked orchard fruits and Belvita biscuits, with soft spices adding some grip and warming heat along the sides.
Slightly dry. Toasted oak and roasted apples with a touch of char.
A solid representation of Glendullan’s house style, and good value for money.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Accepting the fall of Riverrun, Edmure starts to See What Matters.
TALISKER SELECT RESERVE, GAME OF THRONES HOUSE GREYJOY
Single malt whisky
Smoky & Peaty
Soft cooked orchard fruits with a hint of coastal salt and bonfire smoke. Give it a moment to open the glass for notes of dark chocolate, crystallised ginger and freshly diced red chilli.
Initially there’s an overriding sweetness of warm toffee sauce, before a waft of salty smoke delivers the unmistakable zing of Szechuan pepper. Despite the spice it retains a creamy consistency throughout, the dark chocolate becoming milkier and joined by dried fruits, brown sugar and Jamaican ginger cake.
Zingy still, but softer, slowly fading.
A classic, though youthful, coastal Talisker that’ll be a hit among spice fans.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
The Ironborn’s fleet take to the Narrow Sea to lay siege to King’s Landing.
GAME OF THRONES WHISKIES LAUNCH IN EUROPE
Diageo’s eight Game of Thrones single malts are set to arrive in Europe next month ahead of the show’s final season.
Game of Thrones single malt whiskies
Coming soon: The Game of Thrones whiskies will be launched across Europe in February
The collection was released in the US in November, and has been rolling out in Canada and global travel retail this month.
Their introduction follows the October 2018 launch of Johnnie Walker White Walker, a blended Scotch inspired by the show’s ‘most enigmatic and feared characters’.
The eight malts – each named after one of the Great Houses of Westeros and the Night’s Watch – are already available to pre-order through Amazon, The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt, ahead of their release from 19 February.
Some retailers have already sold out of several lines through pre-ordering, although further bottles will be made available in the coming weeks.
Whisky’s coming: The eight single malts are named after the inhabitants of Westeros
Six of the whiskies are new expressions, with the exception of Cardhu Gold Reserve and Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old, which are already available in the UK as expressions outwith the GOT range.
Game of Thrones season eight, the show’s final season, will be aired on HBO in April.
The Games of Thrones single malts are all available in 70cl bottles and include:
Game of Thrones House Stark, Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost, 43% abv, £48
Game of Thrones House Tully, Singleton of Glendullan Select, 40% abv, £38
Game of Thrones House Targaryen, Cardhu Gold Reserve, 40% abv, £48
Game of Thrones House Lannister, Lagavulin 9 Year Old, 46% abv, £65
Game of Thrones The Night’s Watch, Oban Bay Reserve, 43% abv, £65
Game of Thrones House Greyjoy, Talisker Select Reserve, 45.8% abv, £48
Game of Thrones House Baratheon, Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old, 40% abv, £38
Game of Thrones House Tyrell, Clynelish Reserve, 51.2% abv, £48
DIAGEO REVEALS FURTHER PORT ELLEN PLANS
Diageo has revealed further plans for the revival of Port Ellen distillery on Islay as part of a public consultation today (29 January).
Port Ellen's existing kiln and warehouses will be complemented by a new still house
The plans, which are due to be submitted to Argyll and Bute Council for approval later this year, were unveiled today at a pre-planning consultation in the village of Port Ellen, allowing local residents to view the proposals and share their own memories of the distillery.
Diageo revealed its intention to reopen Port Ellen distillery in October 2017, with a view to having the site operational by 2020, however the opening date has now been pushed back to 2021.
Among the plans is an outline of how the distillery will look once building work is completed, as well as details of two separate distillation regimes.
Since its closure in 1983 only Port Ellen’s kiln building with pagoda roof, and its seaside warehouses remain – many of the original buildings were demolished in the 1930s, and then partly rebuilt in the 1960s.
Diageo now intends to fully restore the remaining buildings and erect a new still house, which will house two pairs of copper pot stills.
One pair will be closely modeled after the original Port Ellen stills so as to recreate the distillery’s spirit character.
The second, smaller pair of stills will be used to create ‘alternative spirit characters’ that will allow Port Ellen to ‘experiment with new whisky styles.
Georgie Crawford, project implementation manager for Port Ellen, said plans to revive the distillery are ‘any whisky maker’s dream come true’.
She said: ‘To have the opportunity to recreate the original spirit character of Port Ellen distillery so we have new generations of that classic Islay peated malt is incredible, but then to combine that with the freedom to experiment with new variations is truly extraordinary.’
The new ‘spacious and modern, light-filled’ buildings, which will house all the process equipment, will be erected around a central courtyard, with the existing kiln and warehouses ‘restored and reimagined’.
Crawford added: ‘Like the whisky, the plans for the building combine the best of heritage and innovation.
‘The buildings at Port Ellen distillery have changed and evolved many times over its lifetime.
‘We believe these plans are a fitting tribute to the exceptional legacy of Port Ellen and we are incredibly excited to be able to share them.’
Port Ellen’s refurbishment is part of a £35 million investment by Diageo in resurrecting the Islay distillery, as well as the Highland distillery of Brora which also closed in 1983.
Diageo is also investing an additional £150m in improving its Scotch whisky tourism facilities, including upgrading its 12 distillery visitor centres and the establishment of a flagship Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh.
Although Port Ellen first opened in 1824, its resurrection could see it become the 11th distillery to operate on Islay, following the recent opening of Ardnahoe, and the planned as-yet-unnamed distillery at Farkin from Elixir Distillers.