Distiller toasts Glengoyne revamp with supermarket deals

Neil Boyd
Neil Boyd
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IAN Macleod Distillers (IMD) has won a string of contracts with Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose after making the biggest investment in its Glengoyne distillery since buying the site a decade ago.

The Broxburn-based firm – which owns brands such as Chieftain’s, Isle of Skye and Smokehead – bought the distillery near Loch Lomond from Famous Grouse-producer Edrington in 2003 and has since grown its sales by 250 per cent to £4.5 million.

Under a £500,000 scheme, IMD brought in Glasgow-based design agency Good to ­relaunch its range of Glengoyne malts, including introducing 15-year-old, 18-year-old and cask-strength bottles.

Neil Boyd, UK commercial director at IMD, said: “In the UK, we’ve been growing at 20 per cent per year and that will accelerate thanks to these supermarket contracts.

“The latest deals we have signed are not directly related to the own-label bottling work that we already carry out.”

Good – which lists Nokia, ScottishPower and Whyte & Mackay among its clients – is also working on the relaunch of the Tamdhu distillery, which IMD bought from Edrington last year for an “eight-figure sum”. Tamdhu, one of the oldest distilleries on Speyside, was built in 1897 by distillery engineer and architect Charles Doig and was mothballed by its previous owner in 2010. Boyd said the revamped Tamdhu range was on course to be launched in the spring.

Figures released in April showed that IMD, which is owned by the family of managing director Leonard Russell, grew its turnover by 25 per cent in the year to 30 September 2011 to £45m thanks to the increasing thirst for Scotch in emerging markets in Asia.

Exports accounted for 65 per cent of the overall growth in revenues, led by demand in Hong Kong and Singapore. Pre-tax profits also rose by 27 per cent to £5.4m.

Ian Macleod & Co was set up in 1933 and was bought by the Russell family in 1963. Leonard Russell joined the firm in 1989 as business development manager and took over as managing director in 2000 when his father, Peter, became chairman.

IMD owns brands, including London Hill gin, Watson’s rums and Wincarnis tonic wine. In March, IMD revealed its Smokehead malt whisky has teamed up with Marshall Amplifiers to sponsor the European drag racing competition. The deal builds on Smokehead’s three-year sponsorship of Marshall’s “ultimate band contest” for unsigned acts.