Scotch whisky independent Loch Lomond Distillers has posted a 20% rise in annual turnover, taking this through the £100 million mark for the first time, while more than doubling profits.

Its latest accounts show it made pre-tax profits of £4.9 million in the year to last September, up from £2.1m in the prior 12 months.

They also reveal strong growth in turnover in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, and in other international markets, with Loch Lomond Distillers declaring that demand for its key spirits “remained strong”.

Turnover in the year to last September was £101.9m, up from £84.8m in the prior 12 months.

UK turnover jumped to £48.7m from nearly £42.1m. Revenues from elsewhere in Europe rose from £12.8m to £17.7m, while turnover in other international markets jumped from £29.9m to £35.4m.

The group, which describes itself as a distiller and blender of “some of the world’s finest and rarest Scotch whiskies”, employed 325 people in September 2022, up from 286 a year earlier.

Commenting on the backdrop during the year to last September, Loch Lomond Distillers said: “As much of the world emerged from the most acute impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for the company’s key spirits remained strong.

“However, in common with many drinks businesses, the company reports that many of the supply chain challenges persisted in 2022 and in a number of cases were compounded by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.”

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Loch Lomond Distillers noted that it had in the year to September 2021 recorded its first pre-tax profit since its “initial acquisition” in 2014, before more than doubling this in its latest financial year.

Private equity firm Exponent, which backed the 2014 acquisition of the Scotch whisky group from the Bulloch family, sold its majority stake in Loch Lomond in 2019, when China’s Hillhouse Capital Management acquired the majority of shares in the business.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of the distiller and blender, increased the size of his stake further to the Hillhouse deal, which is believed to have valued Loch Lomond at significantly more than the £210m for which it had been sold in the Exponent-backed deal.

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Commenting on the latest results, Mr Matthews said: “Recording another year of growth for our business was the result of another momentous effort from the whole Loch Lomond team.”

Reflecting on its portfolio and history in its accounts, Loch Lomond Distillers notes its history “is believed to go back to at least 1772 with the founding of The Littlemill Distillery”, at Bowling in West Dunbartonshire.

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The group says: “In 1814, the original site of The Loch Lomond Distillery was established near Tarbet towards the northwest end of Loch Lomond. In 1832, The Glen Scotia Distillery was founded in Campbeltown and is one of only three distilleries remaining in Campbeltown from that era.

“Our portfolio includes the Loch Lomond single malt, which is distilled and matured close by the ‘bonnie banks’, and Glen Scotia, a Campbeltown malt from the Victorian ‘whisky capital of the world’, as well as several high-quality blends. Each is a fine example of its region and style, redolent of the landscape and history which has shaped Scotland’s unique spirit.”

It adds: “Littlemill’s growing reputation as an ultra-premium silent distillery was further enhanced as it celebrated its 250th anniversary with a special release and collaboration with the world-renowned Austrian photographer, Stefan Sappert, the world’s leading exponent of the photographic methods that were at the cutting edge of technology when Littlemill’s similarly innovative stills were commissioned in the late 19th century.”

The group noted that its assets include the Loch Lomond distilleries at Alexandria, where it produces a range of grain and malt Scotch whiskies, as well as the Glen Scotia malt distillery in Campbeltown. They also include what Loch Lomond describes as one of the largest independent bottling plants in Scotland, at Glen Catrine.

This plant bottles all of the group’s brands, including High Commissioner Scotch whisky and Glen’s vodka as well as Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin, Littlemill, Glen Scotia, Clansman and other whisky, vodka, gin, rum and brandy products.

The group said: “The filing of these accounts comes just two weeks after the announcement that the Loch Lomond Distillery has won ‘The Most Awarded Distillery’ at the globally renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2023, picking up multiple double gold and gold awards for its collection of malt whisky brands.”

Mr Matthews meanwhile highlighted the group’s continuing partnership with The Open golf championship.

He said: “Amongst the double gold winners were the Open Course Collection and the Open Special Edition, two new releases this year to celebrate the partnership between Loch Lomond Whiskies and The Open…kicking off a second five-year deal between the two organisations.”