family distiller William Grant & Sons, behind Glenfiddich and Grant’s whiskies along with Hendrick’s gin, has bucked relatively modest growth being seen by some of its rivals, with double-digit sales increases on its core brands.
The 127-year-old Banffshire-based company, which also owns Sailor Jerry spiced rum and Tullamore Irish whiskey, saw overall sales increase by 5.2 per cent to a record £1.12 billion, with turnover on core brands up by 12.5 per cent year-on-year.
Group operating profit rose by 10.6 per cent to £138 million for 2013, up 10.6 per cent from £124.8m in 2012.
The results compare favourably with figures from other major spirits companies such as Diageo, where net sales only rose by 1.4 per cent in its latest full year.
Stella David, William Grant & Sons’ chief executive, said: “Whilst 2013 saw some challenging global economic conditions, the company continued to perform well thanks to our consistent focus on brand building and investing for the long-term. In short we want to inspire our consumers with the great stories our brands have to tell.”
The group highlighted the “phenomenal success” of Hendrick’s gin which it said had been built on “word of mouth and careful nurturing of the brand”.
It said Glenfiddich continued to maintain its position as the world’s No.1 and most awarded single malt Scotch whisky and The Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky continues to grow rapidly all around the world.
The business launched two whiskies during the year, The Girvan Patent Still single grain and The Kininvie single malt from the Kininvie distillery which opened in 1990. It said it had also continued to invest its other brands such as Monkey Shoulder triple malt Scotch, Reyka vodka, Solerno Blood Orange liqueur and premium tequila brand Milagro. In addition, Hendrick’s has invested in a state of the art greenhouse to conduct research into the growth of an exotic variety of cucumbers to accompany gin and tonics made with the brand.
The group’s life president and former chairman Charles Grant Gordon died in December. The company said: “There are very few individuals who will have contributed as much as he has to any one company and to the Scotch whisky industry as a whole over such a long time span.”
Meanwhile, accounts for Edinburgh-based North British Distillery Company, jointly owned by Diageo and Edrington, also showed strong growth. Turnover rose by 18 per cent to £87.3m in 2013 with pre-tax profits up by 7 per cent to £8.1m.
But the company, which employs 168, said turnover in the current financial year was expected to be lower due to reduced unit sale prices. “The distillery will continue to operate at full capacity,” said the directors.