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The Macallan Continues U.S. Climb, Fueled By New Launches

October 16, 2017

The Macallan is thriving in the U.S. market, where demand for single malt offerings continues to buoy the overall Scotch whisky category. Last year, the Edrington-owned brand posted an 8% volume increase to 234,000 cases in the U.S. market.

With single malt lovers eagerly seeking out new expressions, much of The Macallan’s recent success has been driven by its robust innovation pipeline. Among the new launches this fall is Classic Cut, a 58.4%-abv non-age statement (NAS) limited edition offering matured in Sherry-seasoned casks and retailing at around $90. The brand also recently debuted Edition No. 3, the third offering in its annual series of special releases. Edition No. 3 is a 48.3%-abv NAS whisky aged in a combination of European and American oak casks that’s limited to 250,000 bottles globally and retails at $95.

The Macallan is also rolling out its Fine Oak 18-Year-Old, which was previously unavailable in the U.S. market. Fine Oak 18-year-old ($250) combines whiskies matured in Sherry-seasoned European oak, Sherry-seasoned American oak, and Bourbon-seasoned American oak. The previous permanent addition to The Macallan range was Double Cask 12-year-old ($65), which debuted in the fall of 2016.

“Each of our launches is driven by a deeper understanding of the Sherry casks we use,” says Edrington Americas president and CEO Christopher Spalding. “These innovations exemplify how we can share that understanding with The Macallan drinker.” The Macallan, whose growth helped drive Edrington’s revenue forward by 6% to $870 million in the 12 months through March, will see its new $130-million distillery and brand home opening in the summer of 2018.

Macallan portfoliomate Highland Park has made even more dramatic changes to its range, starting with the June launch of Valkyrie ($80 a 750-ml.), a limited-edition NAS label featuring a higher proportion of peated whisky than Highland Park 12-year-old. Valkyrie is the first label in Highland Park’s three-part Viking Legend series, which will also feature the Valknut label in 2018, followed by Valhalla in 2019. A new expression called Magnus ($40), named for Highland Park founder Magnus Eunson, launched in late summer. Another label, Full Volume ($100) a limited-edition whisky distilled in 1999, is slated for launch this month.

The Highland Park changes also feature a new visual identity, part of a rebranding effort to promote Highland Park as “the Orkney single malt with Viking soul.” Highland Park 12-year-old has been given the additional name of Viking Pride, while the 18-year-old adds the name Viking Honor. Meanwhile, Highland Park’s Dark Origins, 15-year-old and 21-year-old are being discontinued due to supply issues. Highland Park sold about 19,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

Edrington is also ramping up focus on The Glenrothes single malt, which the company acquired from Berry Bros. & Rudd in May. Edrington already owned The Glenrothes distillery and cooperage, having produced the brand for Berry Bros. & Rudd the past seven years. It’s now being handled by Edrington Americas in the U.S., and Spalding says he expects its profile to rise looking ahead. “We’re thrilled to have reunited the Glenrothes distillery with the brand,” he says. “We have some exceptional stock reserves to share with consumers, and we expect great things from the Glenrothes.”

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