Diageo Lines Up Mortlach Single Malt Launch Amid Ongoing Expansion In SpeysideDecember 2, 2013
One of the key single malt Scotch whiskies used in the Johnnie Walker blend is set to enter the market under its own label next summer. Diageo has high hopes for the Mortlach single malt, which is located in Speyside but is described as a heavy, meaty, complex whisky sitting apart from Speyside’s typically more fruity profile.
Because of its key role in composing Johnnie Walker, Mortlach has in the past been able to offer only 600 to 700 cases of its single malt up for sale annually, and as a result has acquired a measure of cult status, according to Dr. Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of Whisky Outreach. Now, with the luxury single malt segment in high gear, Diageo is seeking to expand Mortlach’s presence in the global market.
Four expressions of Mortlach will be hitting retailers’ shelves across key markets inlcuding the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific and Duty Free by next July, Morgan tells SND. They will include Rare Old, a non-age-stated offering; Special Strength, a duty free exclusive; 18-year-old; and 25-year-old, which will be sold in very limited quantities. All except Special Strength, which is 49% abv, accord with Mortlach’s traditional strength of 43.4% abv.
Pricing on the line, as well as the unveiling of its packaging, will come early next year. “This will be a connoisseur range of single malts,” Morgan says, positioned at a premium to much of Diageo’s existing single malt stable, which includes Talisker, Lagavulin, Cragganmore, Oban and others.
To boost availability of Mortlach in the years ahead, Diageo is in the planning stages of an £18 million ($29m) investment at the distillery, which will include a replica of its existing stillhouse. The push will double capacity to 7.6 million liters of alcohol, or around 200,000 nine-liter cases. Morgan says that commitment demonstrates the ambitions Diageo has for the brand as it looks to gain a wider audience.
In addition to the planned investment at Mortlach, Diageo announced in recent days that it has completed two other Speyside expansion projects: a £5 million ($8m) outlay at its Linkwood distillery and a £9 million ($15m) spend at Mannochmore. In all, Diageo has recently invested more than £40 million ($65m) in its Speyside business, also including upgrade projects at Glendullan, Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Inchgower, Cragganmore and Glen Elgin and new bio-energy plants at Dailuaine and Glenlossie.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.
Tagged : Diageo, Scotch whisky, spirits, whisky
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