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Whisky challenge

Distiller Edrington facing ‘significant decline’ in sales

Scott McCroskie of Edrington

Scott McCroskie at the Speyside distillery (pic: Terry Murden)

Famous Grouse and Macallan distiller Edrington anticipates a “significant decline” in global sales and profits in the current financial year.

It said it does not underestimate the challenges it faces and its immediate response has been to minimise cash outflow and control costs.

Glasgow-based Edrington reported a 10% rise in pre-tax profits to £222.4 million for the year to the end of March. Core revenue was up 6% and there was a 13% rise in core contribution.

The results marked four consecutive years of profit growth which “validates the consistent long-term investment in our brands and our focus on strengthening critical business capabilities,” said Scott McCroskie, who last year succeeded Ian Curle as chief executive.

“However, it is important that we recognise that these results largely reflect a pre-coronavirus world,” he said.

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“While our business is on a sound financial footing, we do not underestimate the challenges we will continue to face as we navigate the crisis and emerge into an uncertain new environment.  

“We anticipate a significant decline in global sales and profits in 2020/21. Our immediate response has been to minimise cash outflow and control costs. We will continue to manage the business prudently whilst we adapt rapidly to our new situation and seek to capitalise on emerging opportunities.

“I believe the business is well-equipped to respond to changes in both consumer preferences and the channels through which spirits are sold. Fundamentally, our capabilities are strong, and our brands are in good health and remain desirable to consumers. 

“Edrington’s success is powered by great people and exceptional brands. I am proud of the results the business achieved last year, and I am confident that we will navigate through this crisis and emerge fit for future growth.” 

The Macallan turned in a good performance but was a “mixed year” for the other single malts, Highland Park and The Glenrothes in a competitive category. 

Macallan single malt whisky

The Macallan enjoyed a good year

The Famous Grouse cemented its position as Scotland and the UK’s top selling whisky, but the blended scotch whisky category continued its long-term decline. 

Blended malt, Naked, continued to appeal to existing and new consumers in the increasingly important contemporary whisky category. 

Brugal, Edrington’s premium rum continued to premiumise, with exceptional growth in its home market (the Dominican Republic) and a focus on key cities around the world. 

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