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Benriach earmarks £25m to expand warehouse capacity and buy mature stocks to fuel growth

Published:  07 July, 2015

Scotland's Benriach Distillery Co will focus its growth plans on the top end of the whisky market after announcing a £25 million investment plan over the next two years.

The company - which owns the Benriach, Glendronach and Glenglassaugh single malt whiskies - has revealed record annual pre-tax profits of £11.1 million for 2014, a 24% increase over the previous year.

Sales director Alistair Walker told the money would be spent on expanding warehouse capacity and building up whisky stocks.

"We're in the process of both building and acquiring additional warehouse capacity for maturing stock," he said.

"It's one thing to increase production but you've got to have somewhere to put it.

A new-build warehouse is being constructed at Glenglassaugh, in Aberdeenshire, which the company bought two years ago, and it is looking to expand the main Benriach site by buying existing warehousing nearby.

Walker added: "We also have an ongoing initiative to buy back casks of our own whisky that are with previous owners or on the market. Having access to more mature stocks would be a huge boon."

Privately-owned Benriach, on Speyside, was bought by managing director Billy Walker in 2004 and added Glendronach, also in Aberdeenshire, four years later. The company took over a bottling plant at Newbridge in 2010. The firm currently employs 120 people across its four sites.

Billy Walker said: "We continue to make significant strides in brand development where we are concentrating our efforts on the top end of market. We are an independent, boutique business and we see each distillery as having grand cru chateau provenance."

Alistair Walker added: "We don't have any direct relationships with the supermarkets in the UK. Most of our customers tend to be high end specialist retailers. They tend to have a very interesting customer base for us. Without going to any of the multiple retailers, the UK has become our third biggest market.

"Glendronach is commercially the biggest brand because it has been established as a single malt since the 1960s."

Taiwan and Germany are Benriach's biggest markets, and Walker said the company had "really pushed on" in Africa and the US in 2014

"We have a wide customer base and currently ship to over 40 countries but there is still potential for growth in the likes of Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and much of Africa and South America," he added.

Billy Walker said further acquisitions were possible. "We're open-minded and if something came up adding value and balance to the business, we would certainly consider it," he said.