Friday, June 11, 2010
Not directly applicable to Islay scotch, but the great expansion of Glenlivet speaks to the new money being poured into scotch. In 2002 when at the third largest distillery under new ownership the goal was to become the largest single malt scotch. Since then they have moved into second and with this expansion are poised to move into third. The 75% jump in potential capacity that it adds to The Glenlivet equates to around 4.5 million litres per annum, or equal to Highland and two Ardbeg combined.
So what is Glenlivit's strategy? They are not currently looking into doing a lot of small batches or blends, so they are not looking into becoming an Ardbeg. They are not interested in catching the peaty trend. They are also not selling any for blends. What is going on here? Very simply they are trying to produce enough to become the market leader and a household by driving down costs through volume, keeping quality high, and making money by being the market leader by selling a lot at lower margins. Could a Glenlivit be as popular as a Johnny Walker? Very doubtful, but it could become a close alternative with a perceived more sophistication because of it being a single malt.
Their scotch is not to my taste and there is little to indicate that it will change in 12 years when the added capacity will be truly hitting stride.
For more on the expansion check out this excellent post on the Wiskey Exchange blog.