Billy Walker completes Glenallachie Distillery dealBy Nicola Carruthers
The Glenallachie Distillers Company – led by Billy Walker, former managing director of the BenRiach Distillery Company – has completed its acquisition of the Glenallachie Distillery in Scotland.
In July this year, Chivas Brothers signed an agreement with The Glenallachie Consortium, comprising Walker, Inver House Distillers’ former managing director Graham Stevenson, and Trisha Savage, formerly of Burn Stewart Distillers and the BenRiach Distillery Company. The consortium has now completed its acquisition of Aberlour-based Glenallachie from Pernod Ricard in a multi-million pound deal.
The company plans to launch a range of “premium quality yet affordable” whiskies, including a range of aged expressions from a 10-year-old to a 25-year-old.
A range of single cask bottlings and special edition whiskies will also be developed.
The firm has also bought blended Scotch whisky brands MacNair’s and White Heather, which it “plans to rejuvenate with a various range of ages”.
Key targets include emerging markets as well as France, Germany and the US.
“There are so many exciting opportunities in the whisky industry and the outlook for Scotch in emerging markets has never looked brighter,” said Walker.
“We want to create a boutique Scotch whisky company that is truly independent, Scottish-owned and managed. The team have all been in corporate roles previously and this is our opportunity to step away from that. At this stage in our careers we simply want to create a company that is fun to work with and passionate about making great whisky.
“The Glenallachie Distillery has been in good hands and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to become the custodian and continue the development as a single malt.
“At fifty years old, it may be one of the younger distilleries on Speyside but the range of casks we have warehoused is tremendous, with whisky dating back to the 1970’s. Our aim is to nurture this liquid, develop the single malt and a range of blends that will be admired both home and abroad.”
Billy Walker led the revival of the BenRiach distillery in 2004. The BenRiach Distillery Company also eventually included the GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries and brands.
Jack Daniel’s maker Brown-Forman acquired the business for £285 million (US$416m) in April last year, marking the group’s re-entry into the single malt Scotch category.