Whisky maker Inver House Distillers (IHD) said yesterday sales of its flagship brands steered it to a strong 2014 performance amid difficult market conditions.
The firm added it also took steps to safeguard its future by investing more than £10million in its facilities during its 50th year of trading.
IHD said sales of Old Pulteney malt whisky, produced in Wick at the most northerly distillery on mainland Scotland, grew 8% last year.
Speyburn, a single malt made at Rothes, enjoyed the biggest jump in sales value, up 28%.
Sales of two other single malts, Balblair, which is made at Dornoch, and anCnoc, produced at the Knockdhu distillery near Huntly, increased by 12%.
Caorunn, a high-end gin made at IHD’s Balmenach distillery in Speyside, enjoyed an 18.5% sales surge.
The company said the increase in sales across its portfolio was buoyed by strong demand in the UK, the US, Germany, Poland and Africa.
But trading proved to be more challenging in the Russian market, which has been hit by soaring inflation and devaluation of the rouble.
Business was also less lucrative in China, where economic growth has dropped off and corporate gift-giving has been the subject of a clampdown.
IHD chalked up pre-tax profits of £11.8million in 2014, up 23.5% year-on-year, and turnover increased by 2.8% to £79.2million. Operating profits grew by 23% to £12.3million.
Last year saw the firm carry out a £4million expansion of its Speyburn distillery and spend £1.25million on renovating its Balmenach distillery.
It also stumped up £5million to increase storage space at its headquarters in Airdrie.
The company said its spending on stocks for future brand growth rose by 9% to just under £100million.
Managing director Graham Stevenson put last year’s success down to the skill and commitment of the company’s workforce.
He added: “The year has strengthened our determination to build our brands for the future, with strategic investments being made to meet the numerous and diverse challenges and uncertainties that the industry undoubtedly faces globally.
“There are challenging times to come but we remain confident about our strategy and the opportunities for our brands and our industry.”
IHD is the Scottish-based production arm of International Beverage Holdings, part of Thailand’s ThaiBev.