THE BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd, owners of the BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh single malt whiskies, has today (August 7) announced record annual pre-tax profits of £8.9m on a turnover of £34.5m.
Profit before tax is up 116% and turnover is up 39.4% on the corresponding figures last year.
In 2004, Billy Walker and his two South African partners Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter purchased BenRiach, turning it into one of Scotland’s most admired distilleries. GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh and a large five-line bottling plant at Newbridge followed.
When The BenRiach Distillery Company posted its first full year’s figures in 2005, turnover was £4.62 million, pre-tax profit was £241,716 and the company employed just 12 people. The growth over the last ten years has been impressive. GlenDronach Distillery was purchased in 2008, the Newbridge bottling plant in 2010 and, most recently, Glenglassaugh Distillery was acquired in March 2013.
The firm currently employs 120 people across its four sites.
Billy Walker – also a Master Blender and a Master of the Quaich – said: “It’s terrific to be able to announce record profits of some £9m in our tenth anniversary year.
“It’s been a fascinating journey over the past ten years…though I’m not sure that when we bought the train ticket we quite knew where the destination was! We’ll see where that journey takes us in the next ten years.”
He added: “We find ourselves in one of the golden periods of the industry. There’s unprecedented demand for high-end brands like ours in places such as Asia, North America, Russia and Europe as well as in our home market, the UK.
“Taiwan is the number one export market for our single malt brands but we have a wide customer base and currently ship to over forty countries. However, there is still potential for growth in the likes of Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and much of South America…and you’ve also got untapped Africa waiting in the wings. I see it as our duty and responsibility to develop all of these new markets.
“We are a privately-owned, independent, creative, boutique business. We see each distillery as having ‘Grand Cru Chateau’ provenance. Our people are totally passionate. We recognise the privilege that we enjoy by owning three very historic distilleries and that we have the freedom to express the personalities of these distilleries in the marketplace.”
Further acquisitions have not been ruled out.
“If something came up adding balance to the business, we’d consider it,” said Mr Walker. “But we are not going to diversify. I know nothing other than whisky.”