Macallan whisky boss Scott McCroskie warned yesterday the single malt’s sales could suffer in a trade war between the US and Europe.
The European Union has just introduced tariffs on a raft of American goods, including bourbon whiskey, in retaliation for the US hiking tax on steel and aluminium imports.
Mr McCroskie, managing director of the Edrington Group, a subsidiary behind one of the world’s top-selling single malts, said a further tit-for-tat move by US President Trump could see tariffs imposed on whisky imports. He added: “It’s a concern but we are in the fortunate position of enjoying growing worldwide demand for The Macallan.
“If supplies to the US should fall, we can deploy supplies elsewhere.”
He was speaking after Glasgow-based Edrington Group, which also owns The Famous Grouse and Highland Park whiskies, reported a 3% rise in pre-tax profits to £194.7 million during the year to March 31 2018.
Group revenue was £38m to £739.3m the same period, with growth led by a 7% rise in The Macallan sales. Edrington – led by chief executive Ian Curle – said its flagship single malt strengthened its leading position in some of the world’s most significant Scotch whisky markets, including the US, Taiwan and Japan.
The company also announced plans to put its Cutty Sark and Glenturret brands up for sale.
Mr Curle said the move would pave the way for “greater focus and investment” to support the long-term growth of the company’s premium portfolio, including The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Highland Park and The Glenrothes whiskies, as well as Brugal Rum.
He added: “Focusing our resources and investment on the brands best equipped to compete powerfully will help Edrington to capitalise on the long-term prospects from premium spirits.”
The sale process will start this summer and is not expected to involve any redundancies.
It is anticipated that all 31 employees at The Glenturret in Crieff, Perthshire, will transfer to a new owner.
The Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest single malt whisky distillery and the site includes the visitor centre for The Famous Grouse. Edrington said it expected to see a high level of interest from prospective purchasers
Cutty Sark is blended and bottled in Glasgow.
It has been owned by Edrington since 2010 and has leading positions in Spain, Greece and Portugal.