In an attempt to remedy what it admits is several years of underperformance, Whyte & Mackay is to bring control of its entire sales, marketing and distribution operations in-house. And high on its list is to re-energise the national market.

The company split from its distributor Maxxium earlier this month and has recruited from both inside and outside the drinks industry to create small, energetic brand teams.

"This is a very exciting period for the company, when we are investing significantly in our resources and brands,' said Stewart Lawrie, UK managing director of Whyte & Mackay. "In the past our assets have been relatively under-utilized."

The last six months have seen the whisky brand team oversee a rapid rebranding of its flagship scotch, and a subsequent 14% growth in sales that has taken it to number one slot in the Scottish off-trade. Whyte & Mackay are hoping that the other in-house teams will be able to have a similar effect right across their range.

"We plan on keeping an entrepreneurial and agile spirit to our company as we take opportunities, local or global in scope," said Bob Brannan, Whyte & Mackay's global managing director. "And although we are very excited to be strengthening our reach into international markets, we are clear that the company needs to win at home first."