‘Right zone, right positioning': Super premium success The Macallan


- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scotch whisky

It's not just a malt whisky, it's a luxury spirit... (Picture Credit: Edrington)
It's not just a malt whisky, it's a luxury spirit... (Picture Credit: Edrington)
Edrington’s premium malt whisky The Macallan outstripped category growth by over 100%, in the past five years driven by strong sales in the US and the Asia, the company tells BeverageDaily.com.

The firm – key brands are The Famous Grouse, The Macallan, Highland Park, Brugal and Cutty Sark –  announced full-year sales up 6% to £591.3m ($900m) today, with pre-tax profits up 13% to £168.6m.

91% of total sales now occur outside the UK, Edrington said, and during 2012 it expanded its international operations by creating a base in South Africa and new sales, marketing and distribution companies in the US, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Positioned as a luxury spirit

The Macallan was a real success for Edrington in 2012, and the firm claims it is now the No.2 brand by value in malt whisky, having grown global sales 40%+ in the last five years, outstripping category growth by 100%.

Gerry O’Donnell, public affairs director, Edrington, told BeverageDaily.com that the brand was particularly successful in the US and Asia.

“I guess one of the real reasons for its success is that The Macallan is positioned not simply as a malt whisky but as a luxury spirit in these parts of the world,​”O’Donnell said.

“Both these markets are growing: Asia because it’s being growing economically, and the USA because it’s the largest premium spirits market in the world. So I think it’s a combination of right zone and right positioning.”

High hopes for Snow Leopard

Earlier this year, Edrington quietly acquired super-premium Polish vodka brand Snow Leopard, and asked about the firm’s ambitions for this brand, given founder Stephen Sparrow’s stated ambition to sell 100,000 cases/year, and donate 15% of profits to a trust for endangered snow leopards.

Snow Leopard is now available in the UK, O’Donnell said, but in very limited distribution. “I think you’ll find it in high-end Waitrose stores in the off trade, and high-end on premise outlets.”

He added: “I don’t necessarily know about the volume ambition here, but as it stands at the moment it’s very, very small – at the moment we’re referring to it internally as an integration process.”

Snow Leopard is made in Poland by Polmos Lublin, and claims to be the first luxury vodka made from rare ‘spelt’ grain with a distinctive nutty taste; it is distilled six times using natural spring water.

“We’re seeing if a very interesting brand that is a good fit with the organization can benefit from Edrington’s experience and from being part of our family,”​ O’Donnell added.

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