Owner of whisky giant Chivas Brothers cheers forecast-beating sales as drinkers trade up

Chivas Brothers owner Pernod Ricard has cheered forecast-beating sales in its first quarter helped by consumers trading up to its premium whiskies and spirits.

The world’s second-largest drinks group, behind Johnnie Walker owner Diageo, successfully raised prices in the US, its biggest market, during the period while demand was strong in China and India and there was also a rebound in the global travel retail market. The French group, whose brands include The Glenlivet whisky, Mumm champagne, Absolut vodka and Martell cognac, said sales for the quarter totalled just over €3.3 billion (£2.9bn), representing organic growth of 11 per cent.

The group’s strategic international brands recorded growth of 12 per cent, driven mainly by Scotch, Jameson, Absolut, Beefeater and Martell. In Europe, an “excellent tourist season” supported on-trade growth, the firm noted.

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Alexandre Ricard, chairman and chief executive, said: “I am hugely encouraged by our start to the year. Our performance continues to be broad-based with growth across many markets and diversified across our portfolio with all our spirit segments in double-digit growth. Within a context which remains challenging and volatile, as for every business, we continue to actively invest to support our unique competitive advantages and fuel our future growth.

“We have been very active in portfolio management in the past quarter with Sovereign Brands, Código 1530 and Nocheluna and are excited to work with our new partners to fully develop the global potential of such highly attractive brands. We expect this dynamic growth to continue through [the new financial year], demonstrating the strength of our strategy and the dedication and full engagement of our teams around the world.”

Last month, Chivas Brothers tooks the wraps off newly refurbished offices at its vast bottling facility in Dumbarton. The office forms part of a bottling plant which stands as Pernod Ricard’s biggest such facility, producing some 26 million cases a year.

The major overhaul sees the site incorporate a speciality coffee bar, restaurant and lounge for workers, as well as flexible open plan workspaces with breakout rooms across four floors. It will serve as a hub to unite different teams at the Kilmalid site and other locations across the UK. Bosses said the new office marked a “significant milestone” in Chivas Brothers’ ongoing investment in the future of Scotch, and is the single biggest transformation the site has ever seen. Chivas Brothers’ portfolio includes Chivas, Ballantine’s, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet.

Liam Donegan, manufacturing director at Chivas Brothers, said: “We hold our people proudly at the heart of our business and this investment into our working environments is testament to their hard work and our collaborative, convivial DNA. I’m delighted to be welcoming employees into our new, state-of-the-art facilities which have been designed to reconnect colleagues. I can’t wait to work more closely with our brilliant teams and continue on our journey to shape the future of Scotch.”

Chivas Brothers’ portfolio includes Chivas, Ballantine’s, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet. Picture: John Devlin

At the start of September, Pernod Ricard revealed that strong whisky sales had helped underpin forecast-beating annual results as drinkers traded up to more expensive tipples.

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