Blog: Bowmore looks abroad amid UK thirst for discounts
Olly Wehring | 21 November 2006
UK supermarkets were the subject of yet more criticism from the drinks industry late last week - and this time the attack came from the picturesque Scottish island of Islay.
Morrison Bowmore Distillers, part of Japanese drinks group Suntory, has embarked on a root-and-branch revamp of flagship single malt Bowmore in an attempt to boost awareness of the whisky among consumers.
The company is spending GBP20m (US$37.9m) on promoting what it sees as the “premium” credentials of Bowmore and has redesigned its packaging, created new advertising and reduced the brand’s range to focus on its core expressions.
One would think that a perfect showcase for the new-look Bowmore would be in UK supermarkets, the most important domestic shop window for many a drinks product – certainly for a company that has aspirations to build a brand.
But not for Morrison Bowmore. The company seems to be placing more importance in growing the presence of Bowmore single malt overseas. According to chief executive Mike Keiller, the UK market is not the most lucrative place to develop and grow a single malt, to say the least. And that, Keiller argues, is due to the power of UK supermarkets and their thirst for price discounts.
“The supermarkets are demanding price discounts, a cut-price product and have a policy of pile it high, sell it cheap. We’re short of stocks, so we took a decision that it wasn’t worth pushing volumes in the UK market,” Keiller says.
“The UK market is not a living example of how single malts can develop. You can find an 15-year-old whisky below GBP20 - I find that shocking; I cannot understand how a responsible owner can sell an 15-year-old below GBP20.”
Morrison Bowmore marketing director David Wilson insists the company believes the growth of Bowmore will come on a global basis and cites the US, Asia and duty-free as key to that development.
The strength of parent company Suntory in Asia should stand Morrison Bowmore in good stead, especially now that it is armed with a product in more modern, confident, premium-looking packaging.
Nevertheless, many, if not all, whisky producers are eyeing the buoyant demand for single malts in markets like China and South Korea with interest and are taking steps to bolster their presence accordingly. Turning its back in the UK, despite the issues with pricing, represents quite a gamble for the Islay distiller.
Heineken is gearing up for a product launch in Australia this month. But exactly what the product is, the brewer is not saying....
It's Summer in the northern hemisphere and the beer festivals are in full swing. Even the famously secluded North Korea is letting its regulation-cut hair down with the Taedonggang Beer Festival, name...
Drinks companies that use celebrities and influencers to endorse products via social media could be in line for some rule changes....
A couple of months ago, US-based Saltwater Brewery developed 'edible six-pack rings' in an effort to curb threats to wildlife....
- Craft spirits shake-out will be just the beginning
- How Treasury is rewriting the rule book - Comment
- Drinkable yogurt - The next drinks opportunity
- Coca-Cola India suspends bottling operations
- Has Diet Coke passed its sell-by date? - Comment
- Diageo brands need "fixing and nurturing" - TWE
- SAB shareholders granted AB InBev vote split
- This week in wine & spirits on just-drinks
- Pernod Ricard wins Ron Matusalem 'Cuba' legal row
- Spirits volumes slide in Global Travel Retail
- The Next Seven Big Beverage Markets
- Global rum insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Carlsberg AS (CARL B) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review
- Global RTD insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Adultifying Soft Drinks; Capitalizing on rising adult demand for non-alcoholic beverages