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Herald view

ACCORDING to many, the growth path of Scotch whisky is assured but the austerity measures imposed in China have blunted the trajectory of high-end spirit sales recently.

Diageo and Pernod Ricard are among the sector giants to have bemoaned the short-term effects of the clampdown on conspicuous consumption by the Chinese, while still affirming the long-term potential of that market.

So Edrington Group appears to have been fortunate, or canny, in this regard as while it has seen a slowing of sales there it has more than managed to offset it with progress in other places.

Rather than solely banking on China it is also targeting south-east Asia, where Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Phillippines have a combined population of around 500 million people, and is looking at growth opportunities in south and central America, Africa and the Middle East.

It also continues to do very nicely in a growing number of emerging economies, including Korea and Taiwan, while driving further sales in to the world's biggest premium spirits market in North America.

Underpinning that is an investment strategy which has included bringing its international distribution in key territories back in-house so the Glasgow company can have more control over where its brands are sold.

While some in the industry are questioning if the spate of new and extended distilleries may lead to over capacity Edrington is confident its own production additions are the correct way forward so it isn't caught short 10 years from now.

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