Burn Stewart Distillers has almost doubled its full-year pre-tax profits, boosted by success of the company's Scottish Leader whisky brand in Taiwan and South Africa.

Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December 2008 reached GBP650,000 (US$1.07m) from GBP380,000 in the comparable period of the previous year.

The company, which employs 250 people across its head office and three distilleries, said Wednesday (22 July) that it has seen continued growth across its core brands, with a 75% increase in volume over the last four years.

The group sold more than 500,000 cases in 2008.

The distiller has experienced continued growth of Scottish Leader in Taiwan where it has maintained a 7% growth in the market, as well as 15% year-on-year growth in the South African market.

Black Bottle also witnessed new areas of growth through distribution in 20 new markets, including Denmark, Holland, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan.

Managing director Fraser Thornton said the company's primary focus is to develop and grow its core portfolio of brands. 

"We have enjoyed another year of growth and have opened up new markets as well as continuing to build our brands in existing markets," he said. "2008 was an exciting year as we invested GBP6m in brand marketing as well as making improvements in both our distilling and bottling infrastructure."

In April, Burn Stewart Distillers secured a sales and distribution agreement in the UK with J. Wray & Nephew for the 'modern' on-trade.