Pernod Ricard Aims To Make Glenlivet World's No. 1 Malt
The company is pumping $14.7 million into Glenlivet to expand distilling capacity and storage/aging buildings. The investment is significant considering that many experts see an over-supply of whisky in the next five years.
The French group also markets blended whiskies Chivas Regal and Ballantine's. Those brands are recipes that rely on whiskies of different ages and from dozens of different distilleries. So, expanding production of those brands is easier than growing single-malt sales. To be called single-malt, though, the whisky must come from one distillery. A distillery such as Glenlivet blends its own whisky of different ages to create its "expressions," but they must all come from one distillery to be called "single-malt."
The plan calls to grow Glenlivet sales by 75%, though it will be 2022 before the additional production can be bottled for its top selling 12-year old whisky.
Glenlivet sold almost 600,000 12-bottle cases in 2008, and would need to increase sales over 50-percent to overtake Glenfiddich, which is owned by William Grant, which sold 951,00 cases in 2008.
Christian Porta, Chairman and CEO of Pernod's whisky business describes Glenlivet as a $35-40 a bottle "affordable luxury." He says the company sees significant growth coming in developing markets like India, Taiwan and China, but also sees growth coming in mature markets like France and the U.S. when the world economy bounces back.
Pernod has reason to be bullish on Glenlivet. Since acquiring the Speyside distillery and distribution in 2001 from Seagram in 2001, it has nearly doubled sales. And while single-malts have grown about 3% over the last four years, Glenlivet has grown 9.3%.