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Profits up by £4m at Moray whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail

Gordon and MacPhail managing director, Ewen Mackintosh.

Whisky maturation and distilling specialist Gordon and MacPhail (G&M) is toasting steady sales and a £4million leap in profits during a year of “unprecedented trading conditions.”

Managing director, Ewen Mackintosh, said the Elgin-based company’s philosophy of “thinking longer term” had helped it weather the impacts of Covid-19, US tariffs and Brexit.

Annual results released by family-owned Speymalt Whisky Distributors, which trades as G&M, showed its pre-tax profits rose to £13.9m in the year to the end of February, from £9.8m in the previous 12 months.

The firm’s turnover also increased by 1% to £34.1m, from £33.7m in 2019/20, and its net assets grew by 19% to £65.7m over the period.

International sales rose despite pandemic

G&M said that, despite the impact of the pandemic, sales in international markets increased by 5%, to £13.8m, with demand remaining strong for premium, aged single malt whiskies.

It added that sales through its UK wholesale operation had been more significantly hit by lockdown restrictions and the absence of overseas tourists.

The business also completed bulk whisky sales totalling £11m to finance capital projects.

In July last year work started on G&M’s new £20m distillery, The Cairn, near Grantown, which is due to open in the summer of next year.

Gordon and MacPhail’s new distillery taking shape near Grantown.

G&M, which is owned by the Urquhart family and employs 135 people, also owns Benromach Distillery, in Forres, and a shop in Elgin, as well as its spirits selling operation.

Sales of the Benromach single malt range grew in value and volumes by 16% and 17% respectively in 2020/21, boosted, the company said, by redesigned labelling and packaging.

‘Delighted by progress’

Mr Mackintosh said: “Despite obvious challenges in the market, we are pleased to report this year’s financial results, with sales, profit and assets all increasing.

“Our philosophy of thinking longer term has not only provided the stability to navigate the difficulties presented by Covid-19, but also to continue the investment back into the business for future growth.

“We are delighted by progress at The Cairn Distillery and the completion of other major infrastructure projects.”

A still at Benromach Distillery, near Forres.

Mr Mackintosh also welcomed the suspension earlier this year of punitive 25% tariffs on imports of single malt Scotch whiskies to the US.

He said: “There is no doubt there was ongoing impact with those tariffs and it’s really pleasing that they have been suspended.

“We also got the win of America removing the need for Scotch whisky to be bottled in a 75cl bottle.

“That gives us much more flexibility, especially for some of our older, more premium releases, and gives us the ability to ship them to the US without having to put them into different bottles.”

Mr Mackintosh added: “We have had a really positive start to this year and, on the back of what was a difficult year, the business continues to be strong and the demand for single malt continues to be really strong.

“I think the business finds itself in a really good position looking forward.”

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