Scot­tish whisky dis­tillery toasts Chinese dis­tri­bu­tion deal

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By BOLEUNG in Lon­don boleung@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com

One of Scot­land’s old­est whisky pro­duc­ers said it is tap­ping into the lu­cra­tiveChi­nese thirst for the drink af­ter se­cur­ing a ma­jor dis­tri­bu­tion deal with one of China’s food and bev­er­age gi­ants.

Loch Lomond Group, based in Alexan­dria in Scot­land, has en­tered into a part­ner­ship with China Na­tional Ce­re­als, Oils and Food­stuffs Corp, also known as COFCO.

The Scot­tish in­de­pen­dent dis­tillery full range of whiskies, which in­clude Loch Lomond, Glen Sco­tia and Lit­tlemill, will be avail­able to cus­tomers through­out China.

Loch Lomond, which was founded in 1814, is based in West Dun­bar­ton­shire in Scot­land. The com­pany’s Lit­tlemill dis­tillery was founded in 1772.

The­com­pany said the dis­tri­bu­tion deal would­makeChina one of Loch Lomond Group’s key ex­port mar­kets. COFCO has an ex­ten­sive net­work of 700 retail out­lets and more than 1,000 sub-dis­trib­u­tors.

De­mand for high-qual­ity whisky has soared in the Chinese main­land, driven in part by ris­ing mid­dle-class in­comes.

Ac­cord­ing to the Scotch Whisky As­so­ci­a­tion, the value of ex­ports to China in­creased 0.5 per­cent to 41 mil­lion pounds ($52 mil­lion) in 2016, with the­mar­ket con­tin­u­ing on an up­ward trend. That fol­lowed a pre­vi­ous drop in sales af­ter Bei­jing’s anti-cor­rup­tion mea­sures cur­tailed lav­ish spend­ing among pub­lic ser­vants.

But it is the in­creas­ing taste of China’s ris­ing mid­dle-class for sin­gle malt whiskies that is ex­cit­ing the in­dus­try.

Sin­gle malt ex­ports to the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy amounted to 12.9 mil­lion pounds last year, a 66 per­cent jump from 2015.

The Alexan­dria-based group noted whisky sales in­creased 12-fold in­China dur­ing the last 10 years.

“We’re very ex­cited about our new part­ner­ship with COFCO across the fast-grow­ing Chinese market,” said Loch Lomond CEO ColinMatthews.

“COFCO is a very am­bi­tious, en­er­getic and in­no­va­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion with a great team and ex­cit­ing plans for the fu­ture, which matches our own as­pi­ra­tions, both for China and as a group.”

Af­ter vis­it­ing Loch Lomond Group’s Alexan­dria malt and grain dis­til­leries, as well as its Glen Sco­tia dis­tillery in Camp­bel­town, Cas­tle Li, gen­eral man­ager of COFCO Wine & Spir­its, said: “COFCO is de­ter­mined to use all of its re­sources, en­ergy and strengths to suc­ceed in bring­ing the Loch Lomond and Glen Sco­tia Scotch whisky port­fo­lios to the Chinese market and its many mil­lions of con­sumers.”

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