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Cutty Sark Moves From Skyy To Remy Cointreau In The US

May 19, 2011

Cutty Sark Scotch whisky has switched U.S. marketers, moving from Skyy Spirits to Rémy Cointreau, effective June 25. The move completes the consolidation of brand-owner Edrington Group’s U.S. market portfolio into Remy Cointreau, which already handled Edrington’s Highland Park, The Macallan, The Famous Grouse and Brugal brands.

Skyy Spirits became U.S. marketer of Cutty Sark in 1999, when the brand’s volume stood at 265,000 nine-liter cases, according to Impact Databank. While a Cutty revival under Skyy’s U.S. stewardship was much anticipated, it never materialized. As a mid-tier Scotch, Cutty was caught in the category’s pricing polarization and general volume decline. While high- and lower-end brands showed some progress over the past decade, those priced in the middle often suffered. Cutty Sark’s volume gradually declined for years, to 223,000 cases by 2005, but has since fallen more sharply, ending last year at 155,000 cases. From 1999-2010, the Scotch category’s U.S. depletions fell from 8.46 million cases to 7.64 million cases, while Cutty’s share of the category slipped from 3% down to 2%.

Decades ago, Cutty Sark had tremendous brand equity in the United States. In 1980, it sold 1.79 million cases annually and was the U.S. market’s third-largest Scotch behind J&B and Dewar’s. Rémy Cointreau USA will be looking to improve Cutty’s fortunes, and its track record with the rest of the Edrington portfolio is good. The Macallan overtook Glenfiddich in the U.S. market in 2005 to grab second-place behind The Glenlivet, a position it still holds. The Macallan has risen from 97,000 cases in 2005 to 134,000 cases last year, an average annual gain of 6.7%. Famous Grouse is up 2.4% in that period, to 163,000 cases. From a small base, Highland Park has advanced by 8.4% to 12,000 cases, while Brugal is up 6% to 127,000 cases. Rémy Cointreau USA can’t take credit for Brugal’s growth, however, as the brand was with Shaw-Ross until recently.

Remy-Cointreau USA – Leading Brands
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)
Brand Type 2007 2008 2009 2010 Percent
Remy Martin Cognac 700 650 560 562 0.4%
Cointreau Liqueur 269 255 207 208 0.5%
Mount Gay Rum 197 207 195 193 -1.0%
Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky 154 161 163 163 0.0%
Cutty Sark1 Scotch Whisky 182 164 160 155 -3.1%
The Macallan Single Malt 112 125 125 134 7.2%
Brugal2 Rum 114 132 133 127 -4.5%
Piper Sonoma Sparkling Wine 111 111 95 100 5.3%
1Effective June 25, 2011.
2Effective January 1, 2011.


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