Inver House reports strong growth alongside new Balblair vintages

by Becky Paskin

Inver House Distillers has announced a 43% increase in turnover in its 2011 financial results, alongside the release of three new Balblair Scotch vintages.

The Scottish production arm of International Beverage Holdings, whose brands include Scotches Hankey Banniser, Old Pulteney, Balblair, anCnoc, Speyburn and Caorunn gin, saw turnover increase to £80.6m in the year to December 2011, an increase of £17.7m. In turn operating profits rose to £14m up from £9.86m in 2010. Inver House also recorded a pre-tax profit of £15.46m, a 61% increase on the previous year. Graham Stevenson, managing director of Inver House said the group's growth was largely driven by demand for Scotch in emerging markets as well as its "investment in an award-winning product portfolio". "Our focus is on producing the highest quality products and on delivering innovative sales and marketing strategies," he said. "As a result each brand is distinctive, authentic and appealing to drinkers, which is the core factor in our ability to frequently out-perform the market, as our results confirm today." Sales of blended Scotch Hankey Bannister grew by 53% with demand emanating from Eastern Europe, Southern Africa and South America; Old Pulteney grew by 12%; Speyburn by 10%; and anCnoc by 13%. Balblair, which saw an initial drop in sales following its packaging redesign in 2007, also saw sales grow 13%. Caorunn Gin, which launched in 2009 and is now being rolled out in the US, has seen sales soar by 312%, catapulting it into third spot in the premium gin category. Balblair vintages Inver House has also announced the release of three new vintage expressions of Balblair, which switched to dated labelling from age statements in 2007. Balblair 2002 is currently being bottled and is set to replace the 2001 vintage with an RRP of £40. Slightly sweeter and more complex than the 2001 vintage, 2002 will be focused on Balblair's core markets of France, the UK and the US, although the company is 'increasingly looking at' Russia and Taiwan. Balblair 1975 is being rereleased by the distillery - the first time it has revisited a vintage - but has aged the whisky in American oak sherry casks instead of the Spanish oak used in the initial release in 2007. The vintage will replace Balblair's current 1975 bottling and will retail for £235. Lastly, Balblair is releasing a 1969 vintage aged in second fill Bourbon casks for 42 years. At 44.2% abv the 1969 will retail at £1500 and is designated for the US in particular and potentially Taiwan.