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MD, Malt Whiskies

Suzy Smith

"We generated excellent results in the malt whiskies portfolio last year"

It is a privilege to lead a portfolio of brands with the potential of The Glenrothes, Naked Malt and Highland Park.

After several challenging years in which imports to the USA faced 25% tariffs and the pandemic took a significant toll on the hospitality sector, we generated excellent results in the malt whiskies portfolio last year, growing the value of our sales ahead of the increase in volume. That success has enabled us to increase our investment to record levels behind these three distinctive brands.

The Glenrothes is a rare gem of a malt whisky, with a reputation for craft and quality and a foundation of mature spirit stocks that position it perfectly for the prestige malt whisky category. In the past year we have launched new products including The Glenrothes 50 year old and a 36 year old single cask in partnership with the New Yorker magazine. Our route to market strategy for The Glenrothes developed this year with the brand transferring to the portfolio of Edrington UK and launching in Paris with the newly-formed Edrington France. 

Naked Malt was relaunched last year, and this versatile blended malt has bounced back with the reopening of the on-trade. Naked Malt has a strong reputation among bartenders as an outstanding base for cocktails and we are building on that relationship by entering into a three-year partnership with The World's 50 Best Bars to champion the talent, skill and excellence that underpins the hospitality industry. The brand is showing good momentum and we were pleased to see Naked Malt recognised by Drinks International magazine as one of the top trending Scotch Whisky brands.

Long admired by malt whisky lovers all over the world, Highland Park continued to grow its loyal fan base last year. We saw this most strongly in the brand’s core markets, which will continue to be a focus in the year ahead.

The brand launched a series of new products last year, including Highland Park 15 year old in a distinctive ceramic bottle. Highland Park 15 has been well received by consumers and also critically acclaimed, winning a Gold medal in the 2022 IWSC awards and a Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, along with its 12, 18 and 21 year old siblings. 

I am pleased to see the performance and momentum that our malt whisky brands have generated and I am confident that they are well-positioned for further growth in the coming year.