Bacardi confident on Dewars demand

Bacardi confident on Dewar's demand

Bacardi has reported strong consumer demand for its Dewar's Scotch whisky after completing the first phase of a ten-year, US$250m project to increase distilling and storage capacity.

Privately-held Bacardi is the latest drinks firm to report rising demand for its Scotch whisky portfolio, adding fuel to signals that Scotch has rebounded strongly from the global economic downturn.

"Demand for Dewar’s Scotch whiskies has grown significantly in the US, Asia and other emerging markets," said Bacardi's president and CEO, Séamus McBride, today (5 October).

His comments came as the Bermuda-based group said that it has completed the first phase of its expansion project for Dewar's, first announced in 2007. Bacardi has bought 100 acres of land in central Scotland and developed a second maturation facility, including six warehouses, for Dewar's. A further three whisky aging warehouses are under construction and a blending facility will be built next year.

The group has also redeveloped its site in Glasgow, where it has built five maturation warehouses and a blend centre, as well as installed bottling lines and packing equipment. Bacardi has planned to invest its $250m in stages up to 2017 in anticipation of ongoing global demand for Dewar's.

Scotch whisky has undergone a period of near-unprecedented investment over the last few years. Diageo has spent GBP600m (US$949m) in the last five years alone, having most notably built a GBP40m distillery designed to cater for growing consumer thirst for its blended whisky in the US, Latin America and Asia.

Earlier this year, Pernod Ricard expanded distilling for The Glenlivet, having increased capacity by 75%. Meanwhile, Edrington Group, distiller of Famous Grouse, said last week that it would install 33 new whisky vats and a high-speed bottling line.

Global sales of Scotch whisky rose by 3% to GBP3.13bn in 2009, with volumes up by 4%, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). The trade body told just-drinks recently that the upward sales momentum has continued in 2010.