The BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd, owners of the BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh single malt whiskies, has today (Monday July 6) announced record annual pre-tax profits of £11.1m and a major new £25m investment in the burgeoning business.
Profit before tax is up 24% and turnover, at £41.5m, is up 17.6% on the corresponding figures last year.
The record profits cap a highly successful year for the Newbridge-headquartered company. In the last twelve months, they were named Global Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine, the London Stock Exchange highlighted them as one of the top influential companies to inspire Britain and in the prestigious PWC awards they were recognised as “a high-growth company flying the flag for the UK”.
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.
All three award-winning distilleries produce unique whiskies with extraordinary depth, balance and character.
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 eleven 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.
Managing Director Billy Walker – also a Master Blender and a Master of the Quiach – said: “We’re delighted to announce record profits in our eleventh year and it’s all down to the hard work, passion and commitment of our people across our four sites.
“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.”
He added: “We are very much focused on the future and over the next two years we have ambitious plans for a significant investment of over £25m in the business. This is being done in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland whose support in recent years really has been magnificent.”
Sales Director Alistair Walker explained: “In the last twelve months we’ve seen unprecedented demand for high-end brands like ours. The top five markets for our whisky brands are Taiwan, Germany, UK, Africa and the USA where we have really pushed on in 2014. Of these, Taiwan continues to be huge for us. It’s part of the overall spirits boom in Asia and its consumers have a taste for premium brands so it’s a great fit with our growth strategy.
“Within our portfolios, special mention should be made of the Glenglassaugh range which has significantly outperformed against forecast. Our flagship GlenDronach twelve years old expression continues to be our best-selling brand, with fantastic worldwide sales and growth this year. And another recent high point was the launch of our BenRiach ten years old single malt in 2015, the first core range expression to be produced predominantly from whisky distilled under The BenRiach Distillery Company’s stewardship.
“Today we have a wide customer base and currently ship to over forty countries but there is still potential for growth in the likes of Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and much of Africa and South America. So I believe the future for all our brands is tremendously exciting.”
And, adds Billy Walker, further acquisitions are possible. “We’re open-minded and if something came up adding value and balance to the business, we would certainly consider it.”