Scotch brands spend £5.3m a year on sponsorship

12th June, 2015 by Melita Kiely

The Scotch whisky industry invested more than £5.3 million on commercial sponsorships throughout 2014, 89% of which was channelled into sport.

Ballantine's-golf-The Scottish Open Sport Sponsorship Scotch Whisky

Scotch whisky brand Ballantine’s sponsored The Scottish Open in 2014

As explained in the Scotch Whisky Association’s (SWA) Scotch Whisky Report 2015, sport sponsorship spanned from golf, football, rugby, sailing, polo and horse racing to traditional Scottish sports such as curling and highland games.

Scotch whisky sport sponsorships in 2014 included Johnnie Walker sponsorship of the 2014 Ryder Cup, Famous Grouse sponsorship of Crief Highland Gathering, Ballantine’s sponsorship of The Scottish Open and Glenmorangie Spirit of the Open.

A total of 1% of investment was put into music sponsorship, while 5% was ploughed into arts and culture and the remaining 5% of funds put into “other” activities, such as local agricultural shows and support for Scottish Mountain Rescue.

“Distillers are proud of the role they play in communities across Scotland,” the report read. “With over 150 sites across the country, many companies provide support for a range of local charities and good causes usually in the form of in kind support, such as, product to raise funds, or by providing direct financial support. In 2014 this was estimated to be £250,000.

The SWA continued to highlight the Scotch whisky industry as a “significant economic and cultural asset”.

“Sponsorship is used by Scotch whisky companies to promote their brands and inform consumers of the choice of brands available,” the group said. “It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that provides invaluable support to arts, culture and sporting events or groups both at the national and local level, whilst allowing a brand to promote its association with the sponsored event, activity or group.”

Recently, there has been a spate of calls to ban alcohol brands from sponsoring sporting events such as Formula One.

Last month, the president of Formula One said he will not ban alcohol sponsorship arguing that it is the responsibility of drinks groups to promote responsible consumption.

Earlier this year, The Spirits Business explored in depth whether alcohol brands and the sports industry can co-exist.

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