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Issue 32 - The Miller's Tale

Whisky Magazine Issue 32
July 2003


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The Miller's Tale

As I write, the football season in the UK has just come to a close. Which prompts me to ask a question. Is Highland Distillers to whisky what Manchester United are to European football's Champions League? Diageo is Real Madrid. Its attacking heart comprises Raul (Cragganmore: great all-rounder with flair), Luis Figo (Mortlach: pure magic and instantly recognisable) and Zidane (Caol Ila: probably the first name on the team sheet).

It has Ronaldo up front (Lagavulin: finisher without parallel) and can boast Roberto Carlos too (Talisker: explosive). Other teams drool over its substitutes.

So what are the parallels between Manchester United and Highland? Manchester United are always prepared to sell. Highland has just sold Bunnahabhain/Black Bottle and Glengoyne/Langs: it's reminiscent of the periodic clear outs of Sir Alex Ferguson in the 1990s when fans were
left aghast by the sale of favourites such as Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes.

But, then – as now – the manager knew what he was doing. United's success – on a domestic level – since those days has been without parallel. That will be his legacy.

In football, the sale of high-profile individuals is nearly always used to generate spending money. Highland has banked a lot of cash.

In addition, it has never been cheaper to borrow money. So what is it going to do? Sit on the money? I don't think so. What is on Ian Goode's shopping list?

Highland is a whisky company. Let us all pray it stays that way. As whisky lovers, ...

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