A trio of Moray whisky brands grew sales by nearly 30% in the first half of their owner’s 2021-22 trading year.
The sharp jump in demand helped French drink giant Pernod Ricard achieve a 17% jump in organic sales – those from ongoing activities and excluding any generated by acquisitions.
Blended whisky Royal Salute, whose spiritual home is Strathisla Distillery, in Keith, notched up year-on-year sales growth of 41% during the six months to December 30.
Launched in tribute to the Queen on the day of her coronation in 1953, Royal Salute has enjoyed strong performances in China, South Korea and the US during the pandemic.
Paris-based Pernod said first half sales of Chivas Regal, another of its blended whiskies and also based at Strathisla, raced ahead by 23%.
The Glenlivet – one of the world’s best-selling single malts and made at Ballindalloch, on Speyside – saw a 21% surge.
Pernod’s half-year figures reflect average growth of 28.3% for these three Moray-based whiskies.
Another strong performer among the group’s “strategic international brands” was Ballantine’s, with 29% higher sales.
Though based in Dumbarton, near Glasgow, blended whisky Ballantine’s has two core single malts from Moray at its heart – those from the distilleries at Miltonduff, near Elgin, and Glenburgie, between Alves and Forres.
Ballantine’s is hugely popular in southern Europe and Latin America.
Other drinks on the up
Pernod’s Perrier-Jouet Champagne, Beefeater gin, Absolut vodka and Jameson Irish whiskey also achieved strong first half growth, up 51%, 31%, 23% and 22% respectively.
Group chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard said: “The execution of our ‘transform and accelerate’ strategy delivered an excellent and broad-based
performance in the first half, with brand share gains in most countries and with all our must-win markets showing very strong growth.”
Mr Ricard – whose grandfather, Paul Ricard, launched a business making an aniseed-based liqueur and carrying the family name in 1932 – said the company expected strong full-year growth, despite an “ongoing volatile environment”.
This will be driven by a continued rebound in on-trade sales, such as in bars and restaurants, as well as off-trade “resilience” – drinks bought for home – and a gradual recovery in the travel retail market, he said.
He added: “We will increase investments to fuel growth momentum.
“A successful mix of robust fundamentals, the dedication of our teams and our portfolio of brands, has yielded a very strong set of results and seen us through this crisis, emerging even stronger.”
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