Scotch Whisky sales have declined by 12% in the UK over the last five years since the introduction of the alcohol duty escalator.
UK sales volume has dropped from 102 million 70 cl bottles of Scotch Whisky a year in 2007 to 90 million bottles in 2012. At its annual general meeting in Edinburgh yesterday, Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) members discussed the negative impact of the duty escalator and the tax treatment of Scotch Whisky by the UK government.
The duty escalator was introduced in March 2008 by then-Chancellor Alistair Darling, with duty being increased by 2% above the rate of inflation each year. The exception was this year’s Budget when the duty escalator was removed from beer and the beer duty was cut. As a result, drinkers of a dram are now paying 48% more duty than a beer drinker, distorting the alcoholic drinks market in the UK. The SWA described last month’s Budget decision by Chancellor George Osborne as “an unfair and incomprehensible blow to Scotch Whisky”.
Industry members expressed concern that calls for an end to the duty escalator on Scotch have been dismissed by claims that UK tax does not hamper the industry as it sales are primarily overseas. The UK, however, remains the third most important market for Scotch Whisky producers, accounting for 7% of global sales volumes. Some 80% of UK sales are south of the border.
The SWA is calling for the duty escalator on Scotch Whisky to be scrapped to support, rather than penalise, the industry which boosts the UK economy. The industry supports 35,000 jobs across the UK, many in economically challenged areas.
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said:
“Scotch Whisky can only be made in Scotland and is vital to the UK and Scottish economies. It is time the UK Government started treating the industry more fairly in its domestic market. The duty escalator penalises ordinary people at a time of economic pressure, increases the inflation burden, depresses the industry when the Government says it wants to stimulate economic growth and sets an unwelcome tax precedent for other governments to follow in taxing Scotch Whisky exorbitantly.
“There is no justification for spirits being taxed more heavily than beer. After more than half a decade, the Government should review the duty escalator rather than maintain the mantra that it should run for the remainder of this Parliament. The escalator will further depress the volume of sales of Scotch Whisky in the UK.”
The 5.3% increase in spirits duty in this year’s Budget led to a 47 pence rise in the average price of a standard 70cl bottle of Scotch Whisky from £12.42 to £12.89. Total tax, including VAT and excise duty, now accounts for 80% of the price of a bottle of Scotch Whisky in the UK.
Of the European Union members states only Ireland, Finland and Sweden have higher taxation on spirits than the UK.
In the five years to 2012 the volume of Scotch Whisky exports has increased by 10% from 1.1 to 1.2 billion bottles a year. Such success overseas in contrast to a decline in sales in the UK shows the detrimental impact of government policies on the domestic market.
For further information please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA communications manager on 0131 222 9230/0743 260 5385 email email@example.com or Campbell Evans on 0131 222 0231/07768 002 262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MACALLAN UNVEILS GOLD
The first release from The Macallan 1824 Series
100% Sherry Casks, 100% Natural Colour, 100% The Macallan
Luxury single malt whisky brand, The Macallan distributed by Maxxium UK, has today unveiled The Macallan Gold, the first expression in The 1824 Series. Exclusive to the UK*, the new bottling celebrates two of The Macallan’s greatest strengths; oak sherry casks and natural colour.
Matured in sherry seasoned oak casks The Macallan Gold offers a lemon citrus nose accompanied by orange peel and sweetness that softens but doesn’t eliminate the zest. Burnished gold in colour the single malt has notes of vanilla followed by dark chocolate, with lingering floral and light oak notes.
Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker commented: “Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, creating The Macallan Gold allowed us to explore different casks and base our choices on aromas and flavours. The palate is ruled by citrus and boiled sweets along with hints of ginger and cinnamon, while soft oak notes reveal toasted apples. We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. “
Alongside Gold, The 1824 Series will also include three further expressions, Amber, Sienna and Ruby, to be launched in Spring 2013. Like Gold, all names reflect the actual colour of the whiskies in the range, but also describe naturally occurring minerals and metals. Grounded in an unwavering commitment to sourcing the very best oak sherry casks, the most expensive in the industry, The 1824 Series showcases the signature style of The Macallan – embracing the defining elements which have made it one of the world’s truly great single malts.
The casks chosen for the range deliver a gradation of colour from light to dark, with the wood character defining each expression’s flavour, moving from lighter, lemon citrus to richer, dried fruit notes. As the whiskies become darker and richer, so the pool of casks able to deliver this character becomes smaller and rarer.
Commenting on The 1824 Series, Ken Grier, Director of Malts, Edrington, said: “As some 60% of the aroma and flavour of The Macallan derives from the oak maturation casks, this new range is a genuine opportunity to demonstrate the critical role of these exceptional casks and also to challenge perceptions about bottling at arbitrary ages. Taking colour as the basis for shaping these whiskies, an industry first, is testimony both to the innovative approach to whisky making and to the long experience of our Whisky Maker. This truly is Bob’s work at its very best.”
The Macallan Gold will be available at all good whisky specialists, wholesalers and selected multiple grocers from 1st October, and online for UK customers at www.themacallan.com at a price of £36.
Peter Sandstrom, Marketing Director, Maxxium UK said: “The Macallan 1824 Series is the perfect combination of two of the most influential factors which make this single malt whisky amongst the most distinctive and desirable, namely oak sherry casks and natural colour. It is testament to our great relationship with Edrington that Maxxium UK is the first market to debut this exciting new product – The Macallan Gold.”
*The UK will be the first market to take the new range with the launch of Gold in Autumn 2012, exclusively for 6 months. France will follow early in 2013. The 1824 Series will then roll out in Europe and Canada plus key emerging territories in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa from Spring 2013.
Notes to editors: The 1824 Series
The Macallan has unveiled The 1824 Series, a range showcasing two of its greatest strengths; oak sherry casks and natural colour.
Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, has created four expressions by identifying the natural colour formed during maturation in different casks types to create the character informed by these colours. The expressions are Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby, all names reflecting the actual colour of the whiskies in the range, but also describing naturally occurring minerals and metals.
This innovative approach to whisky making is the first to derive the final character from the natural colours drawn into The Macallan from the oak sherry casks over the years of maturation. It has allowed Bob Dalgarno to assess the broadest range of casks delivering an unrivalled range of natural colours.
Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker, The Macallan, said, “The Macallan world of colour is the true inspiration of the 1824 Series. Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, allowing us to explore different casks and take a more flexible approach to our stock. We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. For me, the key thought in this range is that a great single malt doesn’t need to be 30 years old to taste like a 30 year old.”
By drawing on his broadest range of skills in cask selection, Bob has been unshackled by the need to draw on casks selected first and foremost for their age. His expert skills ensure consistency through the effective management and selection of the casks which provide the spectrum of natural colour and character essential to The Macallan.
Gold – a burnished gold spirit offering a lemon citrus nose, then orange peel and sweetness that softens but doesn’t eliminate the zest. A note of vanilla followed more assertive by dark chocolate – with lingering floral and light oak notes. Citrus and boiled sweets dance on the palate, along with hints of ginger and cinnamon, while soft oak tones reveal toasted apples. The finish is medium sweet, malty and slightly dry.
Amber – a floral, citrus sweet nose gains presence, commanding a chorus of sweet vanilla notes over freshly harvested grain. Raisin, sultana and cinnamon look on as toffee apples and candy floss step into the limelight. On the palate, fresh green apples and lemons mingle with cinnamon. Ginger notes hover as fruit takes over, with subtle oak lingering. The finale is light to medium, with soft fruits and cereal, slightly dry.
Sienna – a warm opening with a subtle vanilla nose, persistent yet not overpowering. Orange arrives, turning zesty and sharp, though tempering green apples add freshness and balance. Next comes white chocolate truffles, chewy and sumptuous, with elegant oak notes. Dates, figs and raisins lead the palate then make way for nutmeg and ginger with a splash of oranges and apples, before vanilla returns. The final fanfare is gentle, smooth and warming.
Ruby – Spanish Oak piques the nose before reluctantly admitting rich, dried fruits and an edgy trickle of treacle. A hesitant sweetness enters, then oak returns, burnished and mature. On the palate a rush of ginger, nutmeg and resin herald orange, sultana and raisin with their restrained but pervasive sweetness. Clove is here and gone, leaving oak the undisputed maestro. The finish of this ruby-red spirit is long, lingering and reflective.
Sotheby’s has auctioned a bottle of The Macallan 1962 from its fine and Rare collection, distilled the same year as the first Bond film was released, achieving an impressive £9,635.
Since this prestigious single malt whisky featured in key scenes in SKYFALL, the highest-grossing Bond film ever, The Macallan is thrilled to be part of its celebration and achievement by donating the rare bottle of whisky to the auction that commenced at this morning. The bottle auctioned featured a unique signed label that included signatures from Bond himself, Daniel Craig, along with Javier Bardem and Bérénice Marlohe.
All proceeds of the auction will be donated to charities that support members of the British security and intelligence services, selected by Prince Charles to benefit from the SKYFALL world premiere held in October 2012.
David Cox, Director of Fine and Rare Whiskies, Edrington, owners of The Macallan, said “We are delighted with the result of today’s auction. Following on from The Macallan’s ‘cameo’ in SKYFALL we were honoured to be able to take part in this prestigious, Finest & Rarest Wines sale and are ecstatic with the amount raised. The charities that will receive the monies raised are very fitting and will help support members of the British security and intelligence services.”
Today The Macallan is one of the world’s most collectable whiskies, sitting at the top of the auction table and the owner of the current Guinness World Record™ for the most expensive whisky ever sold at auction.
“The Macallan is a First Growth Malt, the tops, with all that this means in terms of excellence and excitement” comments Serena Sutcliffe MW, Sotheby’s International Head of Wine.
For further information please contact either:
Sarah McDonald or Sarah Bailey at The BIG Partnership via email at email@example.com or telephone 0131 557 5252
Sotheby’s Wine auctions in 2012 brought an overall global total of $64,462,965. Sotheby’s overall total of $88.27 million for global wine auctions in 2010 is the highest in the company’s forty-two years of wine auctions. 2011 brought an overall global total of US$85,467,096. The Lafite Ex Cellars sale – of First Growth Bordeaux directly from Château Lafite-Rothschild – held by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2010 set a new record for a single standard sized bottle at auction when a bottle of Château Lafite 1869 sold for $232,692. This means that Sotheby’s now holds the world records for a standard bottle, a bottle in any format – the Jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945 which fetched $310,700 in February 2007 in New York – and any wine lot at auction – 50 cases of Château Mouton Rothschild 1982 which sold for US$1,051,600 at Sotheby’s New York in 2006.
Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, and two retail businesses, Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine. Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).
Scotch Whisky: ‘From Grain to Glass’ to open at Mitchell Library – Friday 31 May – Wednesday 31 July 2013
An exhibition exploring the rich heritage of Scotland’s national drink will be on display in the main hall of Glasgow’s Mitchell Library from the end of May.
The Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass exhibition was created to mark the Centenary of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the industry trade body, in 2012.
The exhibition’s only previous outing was its display at The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh for two months at the end of last year. When it comes to Glasgow, new exhibits will be added to be seen by the public for the first time.
The exhibition brings together an array of images and artefacts from several Scotch Whisky producers and enthusiasts. Many items on display have been stored in archives and personal collections until their inclusion in this exhibition. The display also tracks landmark events in the last 100 years which have shaped the SWA and the industry.
Scotch Whisky’s rich past is showcased, highlighting its position as an iconic Scottish product and demonstrating how vital Scotch Whisky is to the country’s economy and society. Scotch Whisky exports are worth around £4.3 billion a year and the industry directly employs more than 10,000 across Scotland, many in and around Glasgow.
Visitors will learn everything from how Scotch Whisky is made to how it is marketed and exported. The exhibition explains, through images and words, how the “What is Whisky?” debate of the early 20th century led to a Royal Commission report which helped establish the modern day Scotch Whisky industry.
Visitors will also find out why a full size model of a white horse and a papier mâché giraffe are on display at a Scotch Whisky exhibition.
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “We are delighted to bring the exhibition of images and artefacts from across the Scotch Whisky industry to Glasgow for the first time. The spectacular main hall of the Mitchell Library, an historic building which has been part of life for Glaswegians for over a century, is a perfect setting for this display.
“For more than 100 years we have been committed to promoting and protecting Scotch Whisky. We hope as many people as possible will visit the Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass exhibition to find out more about the heritage of Scotland’s national drink.
“Visitors will find out exactly how Scotch Whisky is made and how marketing has changed through the decades. Everyone, from Scotch Whisky aficionados to novices will learn something new from the exhibition.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Whisky is an essential part of our shared heritage so we are very much looking forward to welcoming the definitive story of our national drink and one of our most recognised international exports to the Mitchell Library.
“The exhibition will also feature items from Glasgow’s own collection alongside images and objects brought together by the Scotch Whisky Association for what is a unique insight into this global industry.”
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