• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Glenmorangie takes a oui step towards luxury on the continent

The distiller which produces the best-selling single malt whisky in Scotland is to shed its Gaelic image for one a little more Gallic.

The distiller which produces the best-selling single malt whisky in Scotland is to shed its Gaelic image for one a little more Gallic.

Loading article content

Glenmorangie's range of single malts is to undergo a process the marketing men call "premiumisation" which will leave them looking more than a little French.

And it is claimed that in its efforts to portray itself overseas as a so-called luxury brand, Glenmorangie is willing to risk losing its leading market position in Scotland.

As part of the rebranding, the company - which has its headquarters and a warehouse in Broxburn, West Lothian, as well as a distillery in Tain, Ross-shire - will rename some of its most popular lines to give them a more continental flavour.

The prosaically named Port, Sherry, Madeira and Burgundy Wood Finish whiskies will be reborn under new names such as The Quinta Ruban, Nectar d'Or and LaSanta.

The bottles have also been redesigned and now look like "curvy cognac bottles", according to a company source. They will also feature an image of the Stone of Cadboll, a Pictish carved slab which was discovered in Easter Ross.

Details of the rebranding were revealed to more than 200 employees of the firm at its Broxburn headquarters, although the company is refusing to comment on the planned relaunch in October. Neither will it comment on claims it plans to increase the price of a bottle of single malt by £10 to project itself as an exclusive, expensive luxury brand.

But records show that the company has already registered a number of the new trademark names with the UK Intellectual Property Office ahead of the autumn relaunch.

The aim of the rebranding exercise is to propel Glenmorangie into the luxury goods market. Observers say this move was inevitable following the acquisition of the company by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy (LVMH) three years ago.

When Glenmorangie was sold by the Macdonald family in 2004 it was Scotland's last independent whisky distiller. The Macdonalds, who bought the distillery in 1918, made about £100m from the sale. The company was bought by Paris-based LVMH, the world's largest luxury brands group, for about £300m. LVMH owns a portfolio of luxury brands including TAG Heuer, Dom Perignon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Givenchy, Guerlain and Christian Lacroix.

A company source said: "It was only a matter of time before Glenmorangie got the LVMH treatment. There will be no change in what is actually put in the bottles, it's all cosmetic: it's purely an exercise in repackaging to make the product seem chic.

"The company seems willing to take the risk of losing market position in Scotland if it means capturing bigger and more lucrative markets abroad."

The rebranding is aimed at the emerging markets in Russia, Brazil, India and China.

A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said these "emerging markets" are key to the continued growth of Scotch whisky, which now represents a quarter of all UK food and drink exports by value.

He said: "Last year, there was a new high of £2.5bn worth of exports and that was an increase of 4% on the previous year."

Professor Paul Freathy, the director of the Institute of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling, said: "The French-sounding names are an unusual innovation, because what makes whisky unique is the traditional tie to Scotland. It's a brave strategy."

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

PARCH1.862674