Chivas to spend £88m on single malt expansionBy Nicola Carruthers
Pernod Ricard’s Scotch whisky arm Chivas Brothers will invest £88 million (US$110.5m) to boost production at its single malt distilleries.
The multi-million-pound investment will see Chivas Brothers upgrade the Aberlour and Miltonduff distilleries in Speyside with sustainable distillation equipment.
The ‘significant’ expansion will also increase Chivas Brothers’ total production by 14m litres of alcohol every year. Both sites are expected to be operating at full production capacity by mid-2025.
The move will help accelerate the company’s aim of reaching carbon neutral distillation by 2026 through the installation of new bio plants with high-efficiency mechanical vapour recompression (MVR) fan technology for pot still distillation across both sites.
Last year, the company said it planned to roll out MVR technology across all viable distilleries by 2026, after a ground-breaking pilot project at its Glentauchers distillery led to energy reductions of 90% on a single pot still.
The Aberlour distillery will see its production capacity double to 7.8m litres of alcohol annually. This will help it to meet ‘accelerating global demand’ for the brand, described as the best-selling single malt in France. It had also made significant gains across Asia, the firm said.
The Aberlour site will also benefit from an upgraded visitor centre and a new still house with large windows.
Miltonduff’s expansion will include the build of a state-of-the-art sustainable distillery next to the existing facility. The distillery, which will include a bio plant and evaporator, will add 10m litres of alcohol every year to the total production capacity.
The Miltonduff single malt is one of the core components of Ballantine’s blends, as well as other blended whiskies in the Chivas Brothers portfolio. The upgrade will help boost Ballantine’s pace of growth, with sales rising by 23% in the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, led by a new whisky range.
During the six-month period, Chivas Brothers reported a net sales increase of 23%, bringing the company above pre-Covid levels.
The company noted that the Scotch sector has seen ‘growing global demand’ with market gains in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Jean-Etienne Gourgues, chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “Scotch has demonstrated its resilience as a category over the past few challenging years and in the process has opened new avenues for growth.
“This expansion will allow us to increase our volume to capitalise on the increased demand and interest in Scotch, but also supports our drive to reduce emissions in line with our sustainability ambitions.
“We’re once again betting big on the future of Scotch so we can bring in new consumers to the category and continue to shape a sustainable future of whisky.”