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Issue 73 - A tale of two distillers

Whisky Magazine Issue 73
July 2008


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A tale of two distillers

Dave reflects on recent changes announced in the whisky industry.

Amazing the difference a decent spin doctor can make. I open the Sunday papers to find Springbank being castigated for having to lay off seven employees amid talk of the distillery having to close down for two years because of rising costs, which seems strange at a time when demand for whisky is rising globally, and Springbank seems well set for sustained growth. The uncharitable comments of a rival distiller, who one would think should know better, certainly didn't help.

Three days later the same papers are filled with positive tales of the £45m investment which Glenmorangie is making in its business: increased capacity, new warehousing, new head office etc. All great news and further proof of the new attitude in the firm. Then you scan down a few paragraphs and discover that “there will be redundancies” because, as always, there's a price to pay, in this case, Glenmo' is closing its Broxburn bottling hall and selling the site to Diageo for warehousing. It's also pulling out of own-label supply and selling Glen Moray.

A phonecall to Campbeltown puts a different gloss on things. Yes, seven people are being laid off, but distilling is restarting at Springbank and Glengyle in January 09 and in the interim there will be work done on the stillhouse and new warehousing. In other words, investment. Sales are, according to the distillery growing at 20 per cent per annum. Is this, in the words of the distiller who should know better, “odd behaviour?” Not really. In fact, a...

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