REMY Cointreau has highlighted “strong momentum” behind its Islay-based Bruichladdich whisky and gin division, and its continuing recovery in China, as it lifted underlying sales nearly five per cent to about €1 billion.

Paris-listed Remy said its Progressive Hebridean Distillers operation, which includes the Bruichladdich and Octomore malts and Botanist gin, saw “double-digit” percentage growth in the year ended March 31. It flagged building momentum behind the brands in key markets such as the US and Europe, as well as in travel retail stores.

Remy, best known traditionally for its Cognac brands, made its first major move into the Scotch whisky industry when it acquired Bruichladdich for £58 million in 2012.

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The company yesterday pointed to its “clear acceleration” in Asia Pacific, notably in China and Australia, as well as its strong performance in the US and Canada.

Remy’s improving fortunes in China underline the gradual recovery that luxury spirits makers are seeing in the market, after years of decline attributed to government-led austerity measures. Pernod Ricard, owner of Chivas Brothers, reported in February that its whisky sales were “still suffering” in China, but noted its position in the market had been stabilised by growing Cognac sales.

Remy reported underlying growth of 4.7 per cent to nearly $1.01bn in the year to the end of March. Its growth was driven by group brands, up 7.4 per cent on an organic basis to $983.8m, with sales of House of Remy Martin rising 10 per cent to $707.5m. However sales of partner brands fell 14.2 per cent to $111m after a Champagne distribution contract came to an end.