Loch Lomond Distillery in ‘mystery’ talks

Loch Lomond distillery: Mystery talks. Picture: Getty
Loch Lomond distillery: Mystery talks. Picture: Getty
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ONE of Scotland’s last family-owned whisky distilleries has been put up for sale, with industry sources suggesting a buyer has been found.

Loch Lomond Distillery, owned by drinks industry veteran Sandy Bulloch, has hired investment bank HSBC to sell his business, according to two sources. Staff at the distillery – which makes High Commissioner blended whisky and Glen’s vodka – were surprised by the news yesterday and the company did not return calls for comment.

The identity of the suitor remains a mystery, although two sources said that a deal had been done, with one adding that the buyer was looking to bring on board other investors.

Reports suggested the business could be sold for “tens of millions of pounds”, with sources within the drinks industry agreeing that Loch Lomond would command a “juicy” price for its assets. Last year’s sale of the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay to French drinks giant Remy Cointreau for £58 million has raised the bar for mergers and acquisitions.

Loch Lomond – which slumped to a pre-tax loss last year – combines malt and grain distilleries on the loch side and owns the Glen Scotia malt distillery in Campbeltown, which resumed production in 1999.

Bulloch’s family traces its entry to the whisky industry to 1842, when Gabriel Bulloch set up a wholesale business with J H Dewar in Glasgow. The company bought the Loch Lomond distillery in 1985 and built the £15.5m grain plant in 1993.

Bulloch also owns the Glen Catrine bottling plant and bonded warehouse and produces several own-label whiskies.