SWA’s Annual Review, May 2014
The people of Scotland face a historic choice in September’s independence referendum. The implications are huge and the basis for the eventual decision needs to be fully discussed. So I make no apology for dealing with it at length.
This industry is in a special position in this debate. We can make Scotch Whisky only in Scotland and our brands are indissolubly linked with it. 35,000 jobs depend on the industry. Our operations are at the heart of many communities around Scotland and we sustain economic activity in rural and remote areas that might otherwise have difficulty in attracting it.
That success is not the result of chance. It has come about because of a wide range of factors which have been well provided for us within the United Kingdom and would need to be similarly provided in the future if it were to be within an independent Scotland.
At the UK level, we are fortunate to have – on the whole – certainty in our domestic business environment. Monetary and fiscal policy is predictably managed. We benefit from the fact that our domestic market is the sixth biggest economy in the world, large enough to support broad and balanced growth and provide a pool of relevant skills. In contrast, as of now, the nature of an independent Scotland’s currency remains unclear, and self-evidently this could affect our exports, management of supply chains, pricing, and competitiveness. The taxation regime also remains to be developed, and any regulatory divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK may increase costs to business. In all these areas, we need further information and reassurance before we can assess whether we can mitigate these potential risks.
At the EU level, the legal framework provided by EU membership is fundamental. The ‘Scotch Whisky’ geographical indication is protected in EU law. We are able to export tariff-free across the single market, use EU mechanisms to eliminate market access problems, and benefit from the EU’s clout in trade negotiations. Of course, not everything in the EU is perfect and, in my view, many areas need reform. But even a temporary interruption of EU membership involving exclusion from the single market or the customs union, if this were a consequence of independence, would be damaging and difficult to manage.
Internationally, as an export-oriented sector, we rely on effective support from government in our overseas markets, whether in influencing EU negotiations or pressing other governments to allow fairer market access. Both the UK and Scottish Governments have been supportive of us and there will be risks if this support is not maintained. The Scottish Government White Paper envisages a network of 70 to 90 overseas missions, but we export to around 200 markets. A diplomatic network with the necessary geographic footprint, expertise, and influence to provide commercial and political support globally will continue to be essential.
In short, as we consider the potential impact of constitutional change, we look for reassurance on how an independent Scotland could deliver a business, regulatory, and export environment at least as supportive as that which the industry currently enjoys.
Whatever the result on 18 September, we are committed to working with government in the future to deliver sustainable economic growth – either helping to shape the policy regime for an independent Scotland or engaging in the debate about further devolution. That is what the people of Scotland would expect and it is what I am determined to deliver.”
David Frost, SWA Chief Executive
11 Sep 2014
As most bars look to differentiate themselves from others and cater for ever more discerning tastes, those in London are no exception and in many ways lead the way in what could almost be described as a revolution. Not just through their style and ambience but the choices on offer to patrons make bars like Salt Bar in London’s Marble Arch, one of those that just has to be sampled. For the whisky lover, there are nearly 200 whiskies to choose from and a selection of classes designed to bring the whisky tasting experiences even more to life adding an educational twist in the process.
Almost a fifth (19%) of exports of Scotland’s national drink goes to Commonwealth countries. Last year exports to the Commonwealth were up 1% on 2012 to £793 million, out of a global total of £4.3 billion. Singapore is the largest market in the Commonwealth for Scotch Whisky with exports of £330m last year. However, a lot of that Scotch will go to other parts of Asia as Singapore is a distribution hub for the region. The second biggest overseas destination for Scotch in the Commonwealth is South Africa with exports of £163m last year. It has been a growing market for several years now. While this growth is expected to continue, new markets are also emerging across Africa. For example, there is great potential in Nigeria. Last year, exports to Nigeria were up 43% to almost £14m, making it the seventh biggest market in the Commonwealth. Africa is one of the fastest developing markets for Scotch Whisky.
Economic growth is occurring and individual disposable incomes are increasing for many of the population. There is a growing middle class in many cities across Africa who regard Scotch as an aspirational drink. India is the fourth largest export market for Scotch in the Commonwealth, with exports of £69m last year. It is hoped the European Union-India Free Trade Agreement talks will resume which will lead to the reduction of the onerous 150% import tariff on spirits in that market. David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, will be involved in a panel discussion on ‘Trade as a driver for development and economic growth’ at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference, organised jointly by UK Trade and Investment, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, at the University of Glasgow on Tuesday 22 July. He said: “In many Commonwealth countries Scotch Whisky has been popular for years. As economies in other countries develop, young, professional consumers are developing a taste for Scotch Whisky which they rightly regard as an aspirational drink of quality.
21 Jul 2014
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The Macallan has today (5th August 2014) been granted planning permission by The Moray Council for a new £100m iconic distillery and visitor centre.
Works will now progress on the delivery of the new facility which is scheduled to open to the public in Spring 2017. The Macallan, one of the core brands of Edrington, Scotland’s premier producer and distributor of global spirits brands, has appointed Robertson, as preferred contractor for the new facility and Forsyths of Rothes as supplier of the distillation equipment.
Graham Hutcheon, Group Operations Director, Edrington, said: “We are delighted with the decision taken today by The Moray Council planning committee. This permission enables us to forge ahead with our work on site. Following a competitive tender process we have selected Robertson as our preferred contractor to deliver our new distillery and visitor centre. We have assembled a first class team, including internationally renowned architects Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners, and are confident that Robertson will complement the existing team and our aspirations for this project.
“Only the external appearance of the distillery will change, the exceptional quality of The Macallan, which has been produced for many years using copper stills from Forsyths, will not be compromised and the same focus on attention to detail and personal care of the whisky’s production will be upheld. The new distillery will undoubtedly become one of the most talked about distilleries, not only in Speyside but globally, and we look forward to starting on site soon.”
In addition to creating a site of major architectural significance, the new distillery will ensure the on-going quality control of the production of The Macallan, both of which further consolidate The Macallan’s position as one of the world’s leading luxury spirits. Over time the distillery will deliver additional capacity to meet the growing demand from existing and new international markets. With its rolling roofscape, the distillery has been designed to complement the natural beauty of the area and The Macallan Estate, which overlooks the River Spey.
Bill Robertson, Executive Chairman, Robertson, said: “We are delighted and honoured to have been selected by The Macallan to build their new world-class, iconic distillery and visitor centre.
“As a local business we have worked in the whisky industry for many, many years and fully understand the aspirations of the sector. Perhaps more importantly we have taken the time to understand The Macallan, the business, its objectives and its reputation for high quality in all it does.
The project will be delivered in true partnership between ourselves and The Macallan and will result in a distillery and visitor centre which will become the benchmark for others to aspire to.”
Graham Hutcheon, Edrington, concluded; “With Robertson and Forsyths joining our professional team, we are delighted that regionally based businesses will benefit from our investment. It is anticipated that due to the locations of both these companies even greater economic and employment benefits for the local and surrounding areas will be realised.”
The Macallan is recognised around the world as a marque of excellence and craftsmanship. The new facility will embody The Macallan’s uncompromising approach to quality and luxury. Work on site is due to commence in October this year.
Maxxium UK is launching Jim Beam’s® Make History™ bartender challenge, “Shake History,” welcoming contestants nationwide into the Jim Beam® Bourbon family and rewarding the winning team with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make their own history in Kentucky and meet Jim Beam’s seventh generation Master Distiller Fred Noe.
As Jim Beam, the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon, invites legal drinking age bourbon fans to “Come As Friends, and Leave As Family” in the next chapter of the global Make History™ campaign, the winners will travel to the Jim Beam® American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky and make history in the home of the world’s number one bourbon.
Bar teams of three or four can enter by submitting an original, inspirational Jim Beam cocktail that they feel is worthy of making history and represents the personality and style of their bar. Successful teams will be judged based on speed, accuracy and creativity through a series of unique and sensory challenges that will take place in a fun and fast-paced final this autumn in London.
Maxxium UK’s Marketing Controller for Imported Whiskey, Eileen Livingston says: “Our Make History campaign marks an exciting time for Jim Beam. To celebrate those who have helped bring this brand to life in the on-trade, we’ve created a unique competition that will reward the winning team with a trip to Kentucky and the opportunity for them to make history.
“Bourbon is thriving in the UK and Shake History celebrates the growth of the category and our brand while inspiring bartenders to make history with Jim Beam.”
The competition is open to all bars that stock Jim Beam. Bar teams can enter online or contact their Maxxium UK representative.
For more information, please contact: Jennifer Cirillo or Simone Harvey
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