Allied Domecq is to launch a series of its Scotch malt whisky brands in a new portfolio in the US, with added marketing spending and a multi-million dollar renovations at its Scapa and Glendronach distilleries.

The company said the move is in response to increasing consumer demand for high-end whiskies.

"The Scotch Malts Portfolio", as it will be called, will include Laphroaig from Islay, the recently introduced Tormore 12-year-old from Speyside, Scapa from the Orkney Isles and Glendronach from the Highlands.

"America's love and appreciation of super-premium Scotch is at an all-time high," says Kevin McCarthy, brand director for The Scotch Malts Portfolio at Allied Domecq. "That's why we developed The Scotch Malts Portfolio - to give consumers access to a wide variety of single malts to match every taste."

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), the overall US Scotch whisky market generated more than US$1.3 billion in sales during 2003, up 4% from the previous year.

Approximately US$677m of those sales came in the super-premium Scotch category, an increase of 11% over 2002.