Ian MacLeod set sights on expansion after a profitable year
One of the beneficiaries of record-setting whisky exports from Scotland has been Ian MacLeod Distillers.
Ian MacLeod has seen a post-tax profit for this financial year of £33.7 million, an increase over last year of around a third.
The recent growth in sales can mostly be attributed to the aforementioned exports from the UK.
International growth in whisky sales for Ian MacLeod
In 2022, whisky exports worldwide from the UK exceeded £6bn, and the growth in international whisky sales is clear for Ian MacLeod Distillers.
Total sales per region for Ian MacLeod in the year to September 2022:
- EU: £19.9 million (39.9% growth)
- Rest of the world: £79.3 million (34% growth)
- UK: £60.4 million (2.5% growth)
The UK growth is noted to be due to the popularity of Edinburgh Gin, which is part of the group. Ian MacLeod is further investing in gin in the UK by the construction of a new gin distillery at East Market Street.
In the strategic report in the accounts, directors noted: “Over recent years the group has benefited from the strong worldwide demand for packaged and bulk single malt whisky and the recent strength of the UK gin market.”
Challenges of the industry
The success of Ian MacLeod Distillers is despite some challenges in the whisky industry.
Similar to many businesses in the alcohol industry, the whisky industry will be impacted by the cost of living crisis and the Alcohol Duty tax coming into force in August 2023.
The Scotch Whisky Association state that the alcohol duty is: “The largest tax increase for decades means that 75% of the average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky will be collected in tax.”
In fact, the saviour for most whisky businesses in 2023 may be in exports. The cost of living crisis has impacted UK consumers, so drinking a luxury product is likely to be beyond the affordability of consumers.
However, there has been some good news for the industry. The plans for an alcohol advertising ban have been scrapped by the new leader of the Scottish National Party, Humza Yousaf. So the industry has one less challenge to face in 2024 and beyond.
Ian MacLeod plans for expansion
Last month, Ian Macleod Distillers announced plans for a whisky storage facility in Stirling. Yet, with this new development, they have made known further plans for expansion.
In 2017, the company purchased the historic Rosebank Distillery which close in 1993. Ian MacLeod has been using the whisky stock that was produced before the distillery closed.
Now they are planning to open the new Rosebank distillery in Falkirk with production starting later in the year and a visitor centre opening at the end of 2023.
Another distillery is expected to be constructed on Islay in the future.
Further to the Scotland expansion, the company has a subsidiary in India which supplies whisky to local drinks firms. The subsidiary is planning to build a malt whisky distillery, in India.
What does this tell us about the whisky industry?
The whisky industry is on the increase. In both revenue and profit.
Whisky producers both large and small are taking advantage of the rapid expansion of international exports whilst the UK market is stagnating.
There are plenty of untapped markets that the industry can take advantage of with new trade deals with India bearing the largest potential for Scotch.
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