Inver House in £10m push to grow overseas sales

Inver House Distillers managing director Graham Stevenson
Inver House Distillers managing director Graham Stevenson
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The maker of Old Pulteney single malt Scotch and Caorunn gin is eyeing fresh overseas markets after investing £10 million to boost capacity.

Inver House Distillers said the investment, funded by Bank of Scotland, has increased capacity for maturation by 20 per cent to help it serve new international markets, including India, Kazakhstan and Poland.

The company, which also produces the Balblair, anCnoc and Speyburn malts, added 12 extra warehouses last year, increasing its total capacity to over 600,000 casks of whisky. The new facilities have freed up space in existing warehouses to move casks in and out more quickly.

Current international markets cover Africa, Europe, the Far East and US, and in 2015 Inver House launched Old Pulteney and a number of other tipples into India.

READ MORE: Distillers Inver House sees profits surge

The Bank of Scotland funding was also used to more than double production capacity at its Speyburn distillery, which is now capable of producing 4.2 million litres of whisky a year.

Inver House managing director Graham Stevenson said: “Our brands performed well in 2015, growing and laying the foundations in many new international markets. We anticipate further opportunities and this growth will be underpinned in the coming years by the increased capacity, in terms of production and maturation storage, created as part of our investment programme.

“Looking at India as an example, we have had very positive feedback so far since our brands launched in the country where we conducted a programme of masterclass events. We are also about to launch in the travel retail sector, which is key to growth for imported brands in this marketplace, due to the very high import taxes businesses have to pay to get into the domestic market.”

Figures from the Scotch Whisky Association show that the value of exports in the first half of 2015 fell 3 per cent to £1.7 billion, compared with a deeper 11 per cent slide in the same six months of 2014.

READ MORE: Scotch whisky sector hope as exports slide slows

Mark Hull, relationship director at Bank of Scotland, said, “Although emerging market prospects are on the long-term agenda for Inver House, the business continues to build a solid base in those areas to stand it in good stead for the future.

“With public sector agencies including Scottish Development International and Scotland Food & Drink pushing the Scottish provenance agenda in global markets, it is important the business continues to be involved in showcasing its portfolio of products at international events.”

Inver House, founded in 1964, employs more than 200 people across its six sites in Scotland. Pre-tax profits jumped 23.5 per cent to £11.8m in 2014.