Malt Whisky Yearbook 2018 * Compared to the previous year, with flat sales and declining profits, the fiscal year ending March 2017 was a source of joy for the owners. Net sales were up by 6% to £668m while net profits soared, increasing by 32% to £91m. When profits fell the year before, it was partly due to the strength of the pound. This year it was the other way around with a weaker pound because of Brexit.
If we look at the key brands, the two single malts went in different directions in terms of volumes; Macallan was up 5% and Highland Park decreased by 5%. Major gains for Macallan could be found in the USA and travel retail. The owners view the latter channel as important for premium spirits such as Macallan. On the other hand, in recent years duty-free margins have dropped and the projected growth figures for Highland Park travel retail ahs therefore been revised. The Orkney malt received a complete revamp of the range in spring 2017 with a new design, new expressions and, not least, a new message – the whisky is for people with a Viking Soul where the company play on the strong, historic connections between Orkney and the Vikings.
As for the two major blends, Famous Grouse delivered a very healthy growth in volumes of 14%, delivering its highest ever market share in the UK. Cutty Sark, on the other Hand, continued its decline with a volume loss of 8% but still managed to grow the profit.
Since 2015, the company has followed what they call the 2020 Strategy which can be summed up as Perfect The Macallan, Accelerate Highland Park, Develop Super-Premium, Optimise Regional Power Brands”. Recently, Edrington also moved its head quarter from Perth to Queen Street in Glasgow. The year 2017 also saw the return of ownership of The Glenrothes brand which has been in the hand of Berry Brother for the past seven years.*

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