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Ian Macleod Distillers to release first malt from Tamdhu

IAN MacLeod Distillers is poised to release its first single malt from the Tamdhu distillery since its acquisition from The Famous Grouse-owner Edrington Group in 2011.

The new-look Tamdhu brand will take its bow at this week's Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival at which 1000 limited edition bottles will be available.

The investment made by Broxburn-based Ian MacLeod in bringing the distillery back into production and revamping the brand was partly responsible for a dip in profits at the company in the year ended September 30, 2012.

Pre-tax profits at the distillers, which also owns the Glengoyne single malt and Isle of Skye blended Scotch brands, fell to £4.76 million to September 2012, from £5.4m in 2011.

However, group turnover soared by 16% to £50.01m from £42.96m on the back of bulk whisky trading, including the sale or exchange of the Tamdhu new fill spirit.

Turnover was also boosted by a "modest" rise in sale of cased goods and an increase in contribution from its Broxburn Bottles joint venture. The company has a 50% share in the spirits bottling business.

Ian MacLeod has spent £1m on Tamdhu so far, and has earmarked a further £2.5m to increase warehouse capacity.

It has added washbacks and a bioplant to deal with effluent as part of the project, during which time the company was not selling spirit from the distillery.

Ian MacLeod, which will use the malt made at Tamdhu in its Isle of Skye, Langs and King Robert II brands, recommenced distilling at the site in January 2012.

Managing director Leonard Russell, who holds the largest single shareholding in the business, declared himself "very happy" with the results.

He said: "We've been investing in our production facilities. We bought the Tamdhu distillery a year ago and that's been distilling away merrily. We're about to relaunch Tamdhu on Friday at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

"Last year was a year of continued growth and we're very happy. It's been solid, steady growth everywhere."

Since the last financial year ended, the company has repositioned its Glengoyne brand to communicate its status as the industry's "slowest-distilled" malt whisky in Scotland. Glengoyne enjoys its biggest markets in France, Germany, the US and Taiwan.

Mr Russell said the outlook for Scotch whisky continued to be bright around the globe, stating his belief that sales are set to grow significantly in mainland China in the next five years. By contrast he said he was content to see whisky sales decline across the board in the UK if it meant a reduction in binge-drinking.Mr Russell added: "The UK is quite tough at the moment. Whisky consumption has dropped in the UK ,which is no bad thing given the social issues surrounding binge drinking."

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