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Diageo to roll out Scotch bottling ops in Africa

Diageo is planning to roll out local Scotch whisky bottling operations across Africa as the group continues its push behind mainstream spirits in emerging markets.

Diageo has “reframed” the role of its value Scotch whisky brands

Speaking to investors earlier this week, John Kennedy, the group’s president of Europe, Russia, Turkey and India, said Diageo is focusing global investment behind its “accessible” blended Scotch brands, including Black & White & Bell’s brands.

Last year, Diageo’s CFO Kathryn Mikells said Diageo had implemented a “new shift” away from premium to value spirits in turbulent emerging markets such as Latin America and Africa.

“We have reframed the role that our primary Scotch brands will play,” Kennedy said.

“Whilst many of these [emerging market] consumers aspire to enjoy brands like Johnnie Walker or Buchanan’s, they simply cannot afford to on 
every occasion and on the occasions they cannot we want them to purchase a Diageo Scotch.

“We have the brands, and we have the liquid to play a bigger role in this segment.”

Diageo’s primary Scotch brands have increased sales by 3%, Kennedy confirmed, while Black & White is “set to be a two million case brand”.

“Bell’s and Black & White allow us to compete effectively, recruit at the right price points, both an important pillar to our overall Scotch strategy and focus on keeping Scotch vibrant and accessible,” added Kennedy.

Using Black & White as an example, Kennedy said that in order to drive its ‘primary’ Scotch strategy, Diageo has established local bottling operations to “keep costs down and support our margins”.

“[W]e now have local 
bottling in four countries in South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador, and we are planning to role out local bottling across Africa,” he added.

Kennedy also reaffirmed Diageo’s “ambition” to grow The Singleton to become its “flagship” malts brand and “ultimately” the world’s best-selling single malt Scotch whisky.

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