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Speyside Distillers is preparing to build a second distillery as it launches two single malts in partnership with its global ambassador, the former footballer Michael Owen.

John Harvey McDonough and Michael Owen launch the Spey range

John Harvey McDonough and Michael Owen launch the Spey range

John Harvey McDonough, CEO of Harvey's of Edinburgh, which owns Speyside Distillers, told just-drinks yesterday he is ready to add more capacity to meet demand in Asia. Speyside already sells 60,000 cases a year in Taiwan and McDonough is launching the new single malts in China next month.

Asked how likely a new distillery for the company is, McDonough said: “Probable.” He added that the distillery would also be in Speyside.

The Herald reported in June that Harvey's had secured a GBP4.3m (US$6.8m) financing deal from Clydesdale Bank and was in discussions over other plans including a new distillery in Aviemore. Harvey's bought Speyside Distillers in 2012.

Yesterday, McDonough described Owen as his “Trojan horse” in Asia because the ex-England and Liverpool striker can use his profile on the continent to access new consumers. The pair unveiled Spey Limited Edition Single Malt Whisky range at an event in London yesterday and will travel to Shanghai next month for an Asia launch.

“We hope we can convert some of Michael's fan base over there into Spey drinkers,” McDonough said.

He also suggested that Diageo's launch of Haig Club in partnership with Owen's former Real Madrid and England teammate David Beckham will help boost sales of Spey. 

Diageo knows how to build a category,” said McDonough, who worked for Diageo forerunner International Distillers and Vintners. “Hopefully we will be able to get a slice of that.”

Owen became the global ambassador for Speyside Distillers in June.


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