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MD, Malt Whiskies

Paul Ross

"The second half of the year has brought encouraging signs of recovery, with consumers pivoting to enjoy trusted quality brands at home"

This was a uniquely challenging year for Malt Whiskies. Imports of single malts to the USA faced 25% tariffs, which increased prices and put our brands at a commercial disadvantage in our number one market. Widespread closures in the hospitality trade and the effective closure of travel retail added to the pressure, resulting in a significant reduction in sales in our key markets.

The second half of the year has brought more encouraging signs of recovery, with consumers pivoting to enjoy trusted quality brands at home. This has generated good performance for Highland Park 12 year old in the USA, UK and Germany.

Thanks to our colleagues in Scotland and around the world, we brought a selection of ultra-premium malt whiskies to consumers last year. The Glenrothes 50 year old confirmed the brand's appeal within the prestige market.

Highland Park also launched a 50 year old expression, as well as Highland Park Cask Strength, which sold out within five weeks. The brand's new Wild Harmony campaign first appeared in Germany with great success and will be rolled out in our core markets this year.

Our blended malt, Naked Malt, has been relaunched in new packaging and is currently the fastest-growing contemporary whisky in the world. We're excited about the potential for this brand in a number of key markets.

After a very challenging start to last year, I am convinced that our malt whisky brands are positioned to do well in the coming year.