World Cup Fever

World Cup Fever

William Grant & Sons announce sponsorship at Rugby World Cup

News | 17 Jul 2015 | Issue 129 | By Rupert Wheeler

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William Grant & Sons is proud to announce it is the Official Spirits and Champagne Tournament Provider of Rugby World Cup 2015. This partnership will mean William Grant & Sons' UK portfolio of premium brands including Grant's, Piper-Heidsieck, Glenfiddich, Hendrick's, Sailor Jerry and Zubrowka will have exclusive pouring rights at all Rugby World Cup 2015 stadiums. William Grant & Sons will also have access to highly coveted tickets to every match.

This is the first time that family owned, independent distiller William Grant & Sons has partnered with Rugby's showcase event, due to take place between 18 September and 31 October 2015. The tournament brings together 20 nations, participating in 48 matches, across 13 stadiums.

During Rugby World Cup 2015, William Grant & Sons' brands will be undertaking a range of activities to engage fans and will be offering once in a lifetime opportunities to attend matches.

Gary Keogh, Marketing Director, William Grant & Sons UK said, "We are incredibly excited about our association with Rugby World Cup 2015. This tournament is one of the world's greatest sporting events and we're looking forward to engaging millions of rugby fans with our portfolio of brands in and around match venues, at a bar or at home."

This partnership allows William Grant & Sons the opportunity to reach a discerning audience who appreciate premium spirits and value memorable experiences.

With England 2015 on track to be the biggest and most viewed Rugby World Cup to date, engaging new and existing audiences, this showcase event is set to deliver an unparalleled platform to project the sport, its unifying values and is a perfect fit for William Grant & Sons' portfolio of brands.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said, "We are delighted to welcome another brand sector leader to the international family of Rugby World Cup 2015 commercial partners. The appointment of a company with strong values and globally-renowned brands as Official Spirits and Champagne Provider further underscores the prestige of our showcase event.

"With 78 days to go, we are confident that England 2015 will be a wonderful and truly global celebration of rugby and friendship and we look forward to welcoming the world to Rugby World Cup 2015."

Sale of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) is seeking to boost its overseas sales after being sold by Glenmorangie to a group of private investors for an undisclosed sum.

Managing Director Paul Miles said the society, which sells single cask whiskies directly to its members, had been talking to the French-owned distiller over recent months to review the best way of driving it forward.

Glenmorangie sold the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to a group of investors.

Miles told The Scotsman, "We'd been owned by The Glenmorangie Company for just over a decade and it's been phenomenally successful, but we want to get to the next level and that requires a different kind of investment."

The deal value has not been disclosed, but Miles said more than half the SMWS's shares will be in Scottish hands, and all the management team had invested in the change of ownership.

He added, "There's a small amount of international investment, and because we're growing so fast internationally that's an asset. Our biggest growth area remains the US, but beyond that our key markets include Taiwan, Japan and China." Latest available accounts at Companies House show that the SMWS, founded in 1984, generated a pre-tax profit of £578,087 in 2013, on turnover of £5.8 million. Sales to North America - its biggest market outside the UK - rose 17 per cent to £550,885.

Marc Hoellinger, President and Chief Executive of The Glenmorangie Company, said the sale of the SMWS was a continuation of its strategy "to focus our energies and efforts on developing the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg brands globally".

He added, "We believe this change in investor for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society will ensure the society continues to prosper and expand as the world's foremost whisky club. We wish them every success."

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded in 1983 to bottle and offer a wide selection of single cask malt whiskies.

Two major projects completed at Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace Distillery has just completed two big construction projects, having finished a 5,500 square foot expansion of its Visitor Centre and having completely renovated the historic Old Taylor House, the oldest structure on the Distillery's property.

The Visitor Centre

Buffalo Trace did a vertical expansion of its Visitor Center by expanding upward into the second floor where there is more room to grow as needed.

A newly constructed grand staircase made of white oak leads to the beautiful new space, which is complete with four additional tasting bar areas and a new meeting and event space. At the top of the grand staircase, guests are welcomed to the second floor by a huge mural of a landscape of the distillery. A collection of historic article clippings and photos from the distillery archives can also be viewed on the wall at the top of the stairs.

Display cases featuring old bottles and artifacts will also be installed on the second floor, including one dedicated to the Single Oak Project.

Old Taylor House

The Old Taylor House sits on the Distillery property today as not only the oldest structure at the distillery, but the oldest residential building in Franklin County, Kentucky. Constructed in the late 1700s, the house was originally built for Commodore Richard Taylor.

The renovated house features beautiful hardwood floors and fresh paint throughout, and is lit by hanging Edison bulbs. The second floor laboratory displays old beakers and artifacts once used in the house.

"We're so excited to have been able to restore such a significant piece of our history," Marketing Services Director Meredith Moody said. The Distillery intends to incorporate the restored house into some of its existing tours.

Jim Rutledge to retire

After nearly fifty years behind the Four Roses brand, Master Distiller Jim Rutledge announced his retirement today. Rutledge began his career with the Kentucky bourbon brand in 1966 in research and development, working his way up the ranks with then Seagram ownership. Seagram sold the brand to Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. early in 2002 and Kirin retains that ownership today. It was this sale that finally allowed Rutledge to realise his dream of returning the historic brand to American shelves.

Four Roses Bourbon dates back to the late 1800s. It was the predominant selling brand of bourbon in America during the 30s, 40s and 50s. At the height of its mid-century success, Four Roses occupied the top bill in Times Square, above brands such as Chevrolet, Planters and Coca-Cola. The advertisement even appears in the background of the iconic post-World War II photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor kissing a nurse upon returning home.

Jim has not yet announced his plans for the future but we can expect that his talents and expertise will not go to waste. His advice and tutelage is already in high demand from new and expert distillers alike and his retirement status is not likely to last. Operations Director Brent Elliott is to move to the new role as Four Roses Master Distiller in the fall. In both casual and formal conversations, Jim is often asked about jumping on the flavoured whiskey trend to which he heartily replies, "Not on my watch."
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