BenRiach wants a blend to sit with GlenDronach

BenRiach wants a blend to sit with GlenDronach

Scotch whisky distiller BenRiach is on the lookout for a blended whisky brand as part of plans to expand following its acquisition of a bottling plant from Pernod Ricard.

BenRiach managing director Billy Walker believes there will be opportunities to pick up a blended Scotch brand with a strong position in an emerging whisky market as a result of ongoing consolidation in the sector.

"Are we looking to buy tomorrow? No, but for sure it's part of our medium-term strategy," Walker told just-drinks today (5 July). "We see a decent balance by buying a blend that's got some heritage."

BenRiach will significantly expand its operations at the end of this month when the company takes ownership of Pernod Ricard's bottling plant at Newbridge, near Edinburgh.

"The addition of the bottling plant is quite a significant change of direction for us," said Walker. "Bringing everything in-house puts us in a better position to manage that kind of product."

BenRiach will continue to bottle some whisky for Pernod at Newbridge and Walker said that the 3m-case capacity plant could improve his company's annual sales from the current GBP13 to GBP15m (US$20m to $23m) to between GBP19m and GBP20m.

The group announced last year that it would spend GBP7m on its GlenDronach single malt whisky brand and distillery over four years.

It relaunched GlenDronach in April last year, after acquiring the distillery from Pernod in 2008. Sales of GlenDronach expressions reached GBP2.4m from 25,000 cases for the first year, driven by listings in Sweden's Systembolaget, Oddbins in the UK and Carrefour in France.    
Walker, who set up BenRiach by acquiring the BenRiach distillery from Pernod in 2004, said the group's profits were "doing well", although he declined to give figures.

In April this year, BenRiach launched a 31-year-old single malt named GlenDronach Grandeur.