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Cutty Sark and Glenturret seeking buyer

Edrington is set to put its Cutty Sark and Glenturret Scotch whisky brands up for sale in a drive to hone the group’s premium focus.

Glenturret is home to The Famous Grouse Experience

The sale will include the Glenturret distillery – which is thought to be Scotland’s oldest single malt Scotch whisky distillery and is home to The Famous Grouse Experience, which underwent a £250,000 upgrade in 2014.

Cutty Sark, the leading blended Scotch in Spain, Greece and Portugal, joined Edrington’s stable in 2010. It is blended and bottled at Edrington’s Great Western Road facility, accounting for around 10% of volume output at the site.

The sale process for both brands will commence this summer.

Edrington said it expects that all 31 staff members at The Glenturret in Crieff, Perthshire will remain employed under the new owner.

Under the proposed Cutty Sark deal, Edrington will offer blending and bottling facilities.

If the new owner does not purchase the facilities, then the group does not anticipate any compulsory redundancies and would “endeavour to redirect our people to the dynamic premium developments at Great Western Road”.

Edrington chief executive Ian Curle said the sale would “enable greater focus and investment to support the long-term growth of the company’s premium portfolio”, which includes The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Highland Park, Brugal Rum and The Glenrothes, which Edrington bought back from Berry Bros & Rudd last year.

Cutty Sark is one of the biggest blended Scotch whisky brands

He added: “Premium spirits is the fastest growing area of the spirits market. Focussing our resources and investment on the brands best equipped to compete powerfully will help Edrington to capitalise on the long-term prospects from premium spirits.”

Financial results

Edrington also today announced its 2018 financial results, with revenue increasing 7% to £706.7m, while profit fell 5% to £86.6m following a “one off tax credit in the prior year”.

Earlier this month, the group opened its new £140m distillery for The Macallan, which will increase the brand’s production by a third. Edrington has pledged an on-going £500m investment in The Macallan, which in addition to the new distillery will be used for warehousing and Sherry cask sourcing.

Edrington’s growth strategy leading up to 2020 consists of five key principles: perfect The Macallan, accelerate Highland Park, transform super-premium, energise regional power brands, and recruit more consumers.

Curle said: “2017-18 was a strong year of growth and increased investment for Edrington.

“Economic and market developments remain encouraging in the near term. All regions are experiencing an upturn in economic growth and Scotch whisky exports are also in growth.

“The premium segment of Scotch whisky and other spirit categories is the fastest growing, reinforcing Edrington’s emphasis on premium brand building.”

He added that despite an “uncertain” geopolitical context that includes the challenges of Brexit, Edrington is “confident about the medium- and long-term prospects for the business”.

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