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Whyte & Mackay Creates New Unit To Handle Portfolio In U.S.

October 3, 2011

U.K. distiller Whyte & Mackay has formed an import company—Whyte & Mackay Americas—to handle its portfolio in the U.S. market. The new unit will begin operating on January 1, 2012, and will market the Jura, The Dalmore, Cluny, John Barr, Glen Salen, Whyte & Mackay and Mackinlay’s whisky brands, as well as Glayva Liqueur, Snow Leopard and Pinky vodkas in the U.S. Whyte & Mackay Americas will be led by Jorge Gutierrez, currently vice president of the Americas region. Whyte & Mackay was acquired by India’s United Spirits Ltd. in 2007. Shaw-Ross currently has been handling the Whyte & Mackay range in the U.S., having initially partnered with the distiller in 2009.

Whyte & Mackay has long been a leading player in the U.K. Scotch market, but the company has had a small presence in the U.S. With its global sales declining over the past few years—falling from roughly 1.9 million cases in 2008 to 1.5 million cases last year—the company is stepping up its emphasis on the world’s leading premium spirits market.

Whyte & Mackay recently released its repackaged John Barr blend in the U.S. The brand is offered without age statements as Finest ($18 a 750-ml.), Select ($19.50) and Reserve ($21). The company has also relaunched its Whyte & Mackay blend—the number-two selling whisky in Scotland—in a so-called Special expression priced at $23.

Also in the portfolio is blended brand Cluny, priced at $17 a 750-ml. Marketing director Dawn Lambert concedes that the blends haven’t been receiving major marketing support this year. “We think there are more opportunities in single malt,” she says, adding that the company is releasing a number of Dalmore expressions—including the new Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve, 70% aged in Sherry casks and 30% in American oak. Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve carries no age statement and is priced at $125. Also in the mix at the highest end is Astrum, a 40-year-old aged Scotch in Oloroso Sherry casks and priced at a whoppping $3,000.

 

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