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Edrington Sees Further Upside For Luxury Malts Macallan And Highland Park

April 30, 2015

After a year in which it formed its own U.S. sales and marketing unit, Edrington Group tells SND that progress is continuing apace for its key Scotch whisky brands Macallan and Highland Park, with each showing double-digit growth. Last year, Macallan posted a 15% advance to cross the 200,000-case threshold, earning Impact “Hot Brand” honors in the process. Fellow luxury single malt Highland Park is also increasingly making its presence felt, jumping 23% in 2014 to about 20,000 cases.

“We anticipate the market for high-end single malt Scotch will continue to rise this year as more consumers veer away from blended Scotch in search of highly crafted and refined single malt offerings,” says Raul Gonzalez, marketing director for single malts at Edrington. “While there is competition coming from the American whiskey corner, sales for higher-end Scotch are continuing to increase, which we don’t foresee slowing down in the near future.”

Among the specific marques driving gains for Edrington’s luxury malt duo are two relatively new products, Macallan Rare Cask ($300 a 750-ml.) and Highland Park Dark Origins ($80), both no-age-statement whiskies. Interestingly, Dark Origins—which sees about twice as many first-fill Sherry casks as the flagship Highland Park 12-year-old and has a darker, richer flavor—is resonating strongly with younger consumers and driving recruitment into the brand, Gonzalez says, adding that Dark Origins has surpassed all initial sales estimates since debuting last fall.

While the recent deluge (and success) of non-age-stated single malts like Rare Cask and Dark Origins has offered distillers greater supply flexibility as the malt market continues to rise (up 5% by volume in the U.S. last year), the need for a compelling brand story—and specific details about provenance—has never been greater. “Consumers are evolving. They want to know where the grains are sourced, exactly what types of wood are being used to make our whisky, and so on,” Gonzalez notes, “and they are willing to spend more” for superior production values and authentic brands.

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