Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Black Bottle, the only whisky that contains all the renowned single malts from Islay, has been awarded gold at the prestigious 2009 International Spirits Challenge held in London recently.
Judged by experts from 12 countries across the globe, the entries are tasted blind and reviewed by some of the best palates in the world.
A firm favourite in Scotland, Black Bottle celebrates its 130th anniversary this year.
Black Bottle was launched less than two years ago in South Africa and has already carved a niche for itself amongst local whisky connoisseurs, who savour its distinctively full-bodied, smoky character, says spokesperson, Brian Glass.
“Black Bottle is a true reflection of the diversity of Islay, and is a blend of all the whiskies produced across this famous island in the Southern Hebrides. The expert craft of combining only the finest single malts from Islay with mainland malt and grain whiskies has resulted in one of the smoothest, most balanced Scotch whiskies that has developed an international cult following.
“It’s the skilfully crafted bold and smoky flavours that set Black Bottle apart.”
Islay, lying off the west coast of Scotland, is known the world over for its distinctive and award-winning whiskies. These whiskies are largely influenced by the fertile soils, extensive peat bogs, soft, peaty water and sea breezes, unique to this island, that combine to produce highly expressive malt whiskies. The distilleries in the south of the island - Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig - produce the most peaty and medicinal flavoured whiskies in Scotland whilst those along the west coast –Bowmore, Bruichladdich – and in the north east Caol Ila - have a lighter profile. The distillery on the furthest north-eastern tip of the island, Bunnahabhain, produces the gentlest of tastes with a relatively light peat character.
Black Bottle was developed in 1879 for his personal use by Gordon Graham, a tea merchant from Aberdeenshire. His self-styled creation proved so popular amongst his friends and customers that he gave up the tea business to focus exclusively on whisky.
Today, the whisky’s recipe traditions are maintained by master blender Ian MacMillan, a whisky industry veteran of more than 30 years.
The whisky takes its name from its early packaging. Initially sold in ceramic bottles, it later appeared in a black bottle, shaped to resemble a potstill. However, a glass shortage in 1914 brought on by World War I forced the company to look for another glass supplier, and ever since then the blend has been packaged in its distinctive trademark dark green bottle.
It retails for about R180 a 750ml bottle.
Notes to the editor
Black Bottle belongs to the portfolio of Burn Stewart Distillers, an integrated Scotch whisky producer and brand owner with a portfolio of leading brands, including Bunnahabhain. Burn Stewart is owned by CL WorldBrands, the UK-based global drinks group with distribution networks in Europe, the US and the Far East. Distell is in a joint venture with the company that also involves distributing a selection of its whiskies in sub-Saharan Africa.

DATE 28 July 2009


The growing thirst for specialist whisky in South Africa has prompted the creation of the first local single grain whisky and the establishment of a new sub-category to acknowledge its origin.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, crafted by master distiller Andy Watts at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, is being classified as a Cape Mountain Whisky and is made from the finest quality South African grain.

This distinctive whisky is double-matured in specially selected oak casks. After the initial three years’ maturation period, it is released from the wood and then once again re-vatted into oak casks for a further two years’ maturation to continue the extraction of flavours.

Watts says that with the growing accent on connoisseurship for South African consumers and their interest in provenance, he was inspired to create a whisky made exclusively from South African grain. “There is an increasing understanding of the impact of origin on a range of beverages and that includes spirits. Our grain, which is locally grown, provides the ideal source for the whisky which is complemented by the sweet notes of the oak in which it is aged, resulting in an intriguing profile.”

He says that the whisky shows an exceptional interaction between spirit and wood to produce a mix of toffee, floral and vanilla aromas and flavours with a hint of spice softened by sweet undertones. The result is a warm and extended mouthfeel with an exceptionally smooth finish.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky takes its name from the Bain’s Kloof Pass, opened in 1853 and which is a national monument. According to Watts the pass “harmonises seamlessly with its natural surroundings.

“At its base the road cuts into the mountain slopes and winds its way through pine forests and fynbos where many protea species grow on the higher mountain slopes. The whisky pays tribute not only to one of the most picturesque and magnificent passes in South Africa but also honours Andrew Geddes Bain, the creative mind behind its construction.”

The leopards on the crest represent the Cape Mountain leopards which have lived in and roamed the area of Bain’s Kloof Pass for hundreds of years. Regal and agile, these reclusive predators keep to the steep, inaccessible slopes of the rugged mountains. Today, the numbers of these endangered cats have been dramatically reduced but rare sightings are reported from time to time.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is available in a distinctive, square 750ml bottle (with or without an attractive gift tin) and is expected to retail for about R153.

DATE 27 July 2009

ISSUED BY De Kock Communications (DKC)

ON BEHALF OF Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky

ENQUIRIES Andy Watts, master distiller, Bain’s Cape

Mountain Whisky (021) 873 1161

Kathryn Henshilwood, brand manager

(021) 809 7000

Linda Christensen, DKC (021) 422 2690

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tough times ahead for whisky industry

Independent whisky producer Burn Stewart Distillers is warning of tough times ahead for the industry due to a widespread de-stocking across the global supply chain.

The company, producers of Scottish Leader, Black Bottle, Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Deanston and Ledaig whiskies, reported double digit growth for 2008 this week and strong sales in both home and overseas markets.

Fraser Thornton, managing director, is adamant consumer demand remains high for Scotch but predicts the next 18 months will be "extremely difficult" for the industry due to the lack of working capital in the supply chain.

He expects whisky sales will drop significantly as importers, wholesalers and licensed distributors struggle to fund new stock purchases.

Thornton said: "From what we have seen globally, consumer demand hasn't dropped at all, but the availability of stock is certainly becoming an issue.

"We have seen evidence all the way through the distribution chain - from the importer, retailer and wholesalers - of a systematic destocking to protect their own cash positions, which is essentially a banking issue.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Whisky Live Festival South Africa

Quick news:

Cape Town: Wednesday, 4th November to 6th November 2009 from 6pm-10pm at the Cape Town Convention Centre

Johannesburg: Wednesday, 11th November to Saturday, 14th November 2009 from 6pm-10pm at the Sandton Convention Centre.

More info closer to the time.

See you there.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Diageo announces restructuring plans in Scotland

1 July 2009

Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks company, today announces proposals for significant restructuring of its Scottish business.

The planned restructuring follows a major review looking at how Diageo can best ensure the long-term sustainability of its operations in Scotland in the current economic conditions.

The resulting plans – backed by a £100 million investment – will mean an overall reduction of up to 500 jobs in Scotland. The closure of Diageo sites in Kilmarnock and at Port Dundas in Glasgow will lead to the loss of up to 900 jobs over the next two years while around 400 new jobs will be created through the expansion of a packaging plant in Fife. A new coopering centre will be created in Clackmannanshire. There would be no compulsory redundancies at impacted sites for 12 months.

These plans – for implementation over the next two years – will be an important part of securing the long-term competitiveness of Diageo’s Scottish business and, by retaining all existing production activities in Scotland, underpin the company’s continuing commitment to Scotland.

The detailed outcome of the review proposes the following:

· Consolidation of packaging operations from three sites to two. This would result in the closure of the Kilmarnock Packaging Plant in Ayrshire over a two-year period with the loss of approximately 700 jobs by the end of 2011. To maintain its competitiveness Diageo would concentrate investment on two locations in Glasgow and Fife. The Kilmarnock plant faces infrastructure limitations and Diageo believes that investing in the two other sites will ensure a sustainable future for its Scottish packaging operations.

· An £86 million investment to expand the Leven Packaging Plant in Fife. This would include the construction – subject to planning approval - of a new packaging hall to open in mid-2011 and the creation of approximately 400 new jobs. The company hopes that a number of these jobs would be taken by employees transferring from Kilmarnock.

· The Shieldhall Packaging Plant in Glasgow would receive a further £3 million investment on top of the £15 million invested in the plant over recent years. This investment, along with some changes in working practices, would result in the loss of 30 jobs at the site.

· The closure of Port Dundas Distillery in Glasgow and the adjacent Dundashill Cooperage. These plans would result in a loss of up to 140 jobs although it is hoped that some employees would relocate to a new cooperage in Central Scotland. Diageo believes its long-term grain whisky requirements can be best met through continued expansion of the Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife. Cameronbridge has already received £40 million investment in the last two years. In addition, a £65 million investment announced last year – believed to be the largest ever by a private company outwith the utilities industry – will create a bioenergy facility that will ensure Cameronbridge meets the highest environmental standards.

· Relocation of approximately 80 office-based employees from Dundas House in Glasgow to another location in Central Scotland over the next two years.

· A new £9 million cooperage to be built at Diageo’s existing site at Cambus near Alloa by summer 2011. Diageo’s nearby Carsebridge Cooperage would be closed. The relocation of around 40 roles from Carsebridge Cooperage to Cambus, together with some roles relocating from Dundashill Cooperage, would bring the total number of jobs at the new Cambus Cooperage to about 70.

· Operations currently undertaken at the Hurlford consolidation warehouse in Ayrshire will be contracted to third party logistics company, Malcolm Group. The 64 despatch warehouse jobs at Hurlford will be transferred under TUPE regulations and Diageo will exit the site in early 2010. This proposal supports a more cost effective and efficient way of working for the whole logistics network. The 36 remaining Diageo jobs at Hurlford would be relocated to other sites.

· Haulage of distillery co-products will be contracted to third party transport company, McPherson Ltd. The 16 associated jobs based in Speyside will be transferred under TUPE regulations. This proposal is aimed at achieving more flexible and cost effective handling of co-products movement.

Having communicated its plans, Diageo will now engage in formal consultation with employees.

Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director of Diageo Scotland, said: “These decisions have been extremely difficult to take. We have only reached them after an exhaustive review of all the possible alternatives. I am sorry for the impact this announcement will have on our employees and their families in Kilmarnock and Glasgow and the difficulty this will cause in Kilmarnock where we are a major employer.

“We believe the plans announced today will help secure the sustainability of our business in Scotland. As Scotland’s largest manufacturing exporter, 85% of our output from Scotland is exported to over 180 markets worldwide. We therefore need to be competitive in a global context and the restructuring announced today is a key part of this.

“Our plans and the associated £100 million investment reflect the strength of Diageo’s continued commitment to Scotland. With these changes, Diageo would still employ nearly 4,000 people across the country.

“We will do everything we can to support our employees through this difficult time. We will also work closely with local political and community leaders in Kilmarnock so that together we can seek to address the impact this announcement will have on the town.”