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Tue 09 Mar 2004


Diageo scraps Cardhu Pure
By Dominic Roskrow

Diageo today sensationally announced that it is to withdraw its
controversial Cardhu Pure vatted malt and replace it once more with Cardhu 12 year old single malt by the end of the year.

And although the company denies that the move marks a U-turn, it accepts that its decision is to a great extent due to the huge opposition from the public to the company’s repackaging of a single malt as a vatted one.

The pure version will be phased out by the end of the year and the single malt will be made available in selected territories including Spain, where it is the leading malt brand.

Diageo says that it is responding to public will but is also pre-empting an announcement on labelling in general. It has been in talks with the Scotch whisky Association and is supporting a move to clear up definitions to make it clearer for consumers. Among the proposals is a ban on the use of an existing distillery name for anything except a single malt from that distillery.

Such a move would ‘outlaw’ Cardu Pure.

Announcing the changes Dr Nicholas Morgan, marketing director for Classic Malts at Diageo, said he was very proud that the company had worked as a team over Cardhu, been big enough to listen to the industry and whisky drinkers, and acted accordingly.

“Some people may see it as a u turn and others may try and claim credit for this change,” he said. “But we are in a different place from when this all blew up last year. We have moved on and no-one made this decision except ourselves.

“The only mistake we made was to underestimate how strong feeling among the public would be. We’re very sorry we caused so much upset and we apologise for offending people over the issue.

“But we believe that we are acting in the interest of everyone by taking this decision.”

Diageo does not rule out other innovative moves in the malt sector in the future, and Dr Morgan hinted that a new vatted product would be launched in a period of about a year from now and that the company intended to be at the forefront of a sector which it believes could be massively instrumental in bringing new drinkers to the Scotch malt whisky market.

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