Blog: Chris Brook-CarterTable talk

Chris Brook-Carter | 26 August 2004

I have just returned from two days up in Speyside for a dinner to mark the relaunch of the malt brand The Glenlivet by Chivas Brothers. Naturally the industry talk that took place over the dinner table was dominated by the Glenmorangie story – which you heard about here first of course.

There is genuine surprise, I think, that the MacDonald family has taken this decision, despite all the overwhelming financial evidence that this is the ideal time to sell up.

However, those of us outside the industry, whose contact with Scotch whisky is primarily through marketing men who sit in offices in London, can forget what a small and close-knit community the Scotch industry actually is north of the border.

And, the idea that a family who have been involved in producing one of the world’s leading malts for 111 years would suddenly want to sell-out to a, most likely foreign, corporation, still takes some getting used to – even when it has been happening all around them for a number of years.

Brown-Forman, unsurprisingly, is still the favourite to clinch a deal. However, many still remember the race to buy Dewars, when B-F was out-muscled by Bacardi, and feel the rum producer could easily repeat the exercise here if it wished.

There is great respect in Scotland for Bacardi and what it has achieved with Dewars and I felt many would actually like to see the Bermudan drinks group succeed in claiming Glenmorangie. It certainly would make a good fit alongside Grey Goose, Dewars, Bombay Sapphire and Bacardi – a nice drinks cabinet by any standard to toast an upcoming IPO perhaps?  

Oh, and The Glenlivet? Yep, it looks good and has its sights firmly fixed on claiming Glenfiddich’s scalp as the world’s number one malt, which should keep the category interesting for a while longer.


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