The Edrington Group is set to focus its efforts on "international markets" for its The Famous Grouse whisky brand.

The Scotch whisky distiller confirmed today (3 May) that it is dropping its shirt sponsorship of the Scottish rugby team, in preference for a more international approach to marketing the brand.

Speaking to just-drinks, a spokesperson for the company said: "Our existing three-year agreement (with the national team) ends in May. We've extended the shirt deal to October, until the World Cup, after which we will no longer be the official team sponsor." The Famous Grouse will continue as the 'official spirit' of the national squad for a further two years.

"The feeling's been that we've done it for 17 years and enjoyed a fruitful relationship," the spokesperson continued. "We've a large number of opportunities in front of us to grow sales in international markets, but with a small budget, we need to focus on upping the brand's profile elsewhere."

The spokesperson highlighted Asia, North and South America and European markets such as Portugal, Spain and Greece as being ripe for growth.

Future brand investment will include advertising as well as promotional and sampling activity, although no specific details were disclosed.