Morrison Bowmore Distillers, a subsidiary of Japanese drinks group Suntory, has reported a 13% rise in full-year profits for 2008.

The Glasgow-based distiller posted pre-tax profits of GBP3.6m (US$5.9m) for the 12 months of 2008, an increase on GBP3.2m recorded in 2007, according to a document filed with Companies House in the UK this week.

Despite this, sales turnover slipped to GBP37.1m during the year, compared with GBP39.7m in the previous year.

The company said the figure reflected "reduced activity in the bulk whisky market", which it said is in line with its strategy of "moving away from low-margin and blended business".

The group, however, said it was continuing to concentrate on building its single malt brands and that it had increased investment in both Bowmore and Auchentoshen.

"The investment behind growing single malt brands extends to the need to lay down additional stock for sales in 12 years time," the company said.

Earlier this year Drambuie linked up with Morrison Bowmore to cover whisky procurement, blending and bottling, as well as storage and distribution in Scotland.

Morrison Bowmore said the Drambuie deal will double the size of its bottling output.