Ian Macleod Distillers MD Leonard Russell with a bottle of Tamdhu single malt Scotch

Ian Macleod Distillers MD Leonard Russell with a bottle of Tamdhu single malt Scotch

Ian Macleod Distillers has significantly increased its size after acquiring the Tamdhu distillery from The Edrington Group.

The deal demonstrates Ian Macleod's ambition to capitalise on growing demand for Scotch worldwide. Speyside-based Tamdhu, with a production capacity of 4.2m litres of alcohol per year, is almost four times bigger than Ian Macleod's only current distillery, Glengoyne.

Financial details behind the deal have not been disclosed. But, Ian Macleod's MD, Leonard Russell, told just-drinks today (29 June) that the group has agreed to pay an "eight-figure sum". It has secured financing for the purchase from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Included in the deal is the Tamdhu brand, which Russell said will be relaunched as a new liquid once Ian Macleod has had the chance to inspect available stocks. Around 2m litres of maturing whisky is also included in the acquisition.

Work on Tamdhu's relaunch is expected to take around six months, Russell said. He added that Ian Macleod will seek to "extricate Tamdhu from all of the distribution deals it had" under Edrington. "I feel uncomfortable leaving it with distributors who also have the whole Edrington portfolio," he said.

Tamdhu counts the US as one of its largest markets. Ian Macleod said that it plans to push the brand in export markets, but Russell declined to be more specific at this stage. "There are a large number of markets where single malt is only at the early stages in its development," he said.
 
Edrington, which owns The Famous Grouse, has proven something of a feeder company to Ian Macleod, having sold it the Glengoyne distillery in 2003.

For Edrington, the Tamdhu deal represents an opportunity to focus on other single malts, The Macallan and Higland Park, as well as the Cutty Sark brand. 
   
Earlier this year, Ian Macleod reported a 41% rise in net profits for 2010, to GBP3.1m (US$4.9m).