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Ian Macleod Distillers targets five-fold Smokehead increase as new stock opens up

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Ian Macleod Distillers is to significantly ramp up Smokehead sales after securing new stock agreements from the Islay distillery it sources the peated single malt brand from.

Ian Macleod has added a new extension to the Smokehead range and overhauled its packaging

Ian Macleod has added a new extension to the Smokehead range and overhauled its packaging

The company told just-drinks it is targetting annual case sales of up to 100,000 by 2023, a five-fold increase from current volumes. Some of the new sales will come from Smokehead's first extension, the 58%-abv High Voltage partly created to appeal to bartenders and the cocktail occasion.

"We've been asked for a higher-strength Smokehead for many years," said Smokehead brand director Iain Weir of High Voltage, which will be available in Smokehead's global markets. "Now we have a bit more Islay stock available to us we are able to fulfil that requirement. From a cocktail perspective it adds another string to your bow."

Weir declined to name the Islay distillery the new Smokehead stock will come from, but said that Ian Macleod has sourced spirit from a number of different sites since the brand was first launched in 2006.

"We've never named the distillery as it gives us the opportunity to move around," Weir explained. "If I name the distillery it becomes an independent bottling of whichever distillery and we want this to be Smokehead."

The marketing director said Ian Macleod has identified with Smokehead an opportunity to attract Millennial consumers currently under-served by Scotch. He also said the brand's newly-overhauled marketing and packaging, as well as it focus on Smokehead's heavily-peated flavour, aims to attract the North American brown spirits audience.

"It is an area of the market that Monkey Shoulder play in a bit, you could argue Jack Daniel's a bit," Weir said. "We are just trying to up the volume that bit further - dare I say it - up the volume to 11."

High Voltage carries a higher price tag than its Smokehead counterpart - GBP54.99 (US$78) compared to GBP38.99.

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