Speymalt Whisky Distributors Ltd, trading as Gordon & MacPhail, has seen record results in the year to the end of February 2018, as the company’s strategy for growth comes to fruition.
Sales from its main trading activity increased by 11% to £31.4 million. International sales were up 22% to £10.9m with UK sales at £20.5m – an increase of 6%. Profit before tax increased by 26% to £5.1m.
The Elgin based firm, owned by the Urquhart family, which also operates Benromach Distillery, has previously flagged its intention to expand, including the development of a second distillery. In a move designed to build up reserves to finance the project, this year’s accounts include the proceeds from bulk sales of mature single malt whisky stocks, to the value of £8m.
As a result of this activity, overall sales increased by 39% to £39.4m with profit before tax of £12.9m.
As Benromach embarked upon its 20th anniversary year since distilling restarted, sales continued to increase, with focused brand building activity contributing to 22% growth. Notably, Benromach 15 Years Old was named Best Speyside Single Malt at the World Whisky Awards and plans were announced for additional warehousing at the site to accommodate the increased demand.
The company unveiled plans to create its first gin, handcrafted on the Benromach site. Named after an iconic feature of the distillery, Red Door Gin launched in summer 2018.
Gordon & MacPhail whiskies also performed well with an increase in sales of 14%, buoyed by exploiting new routes to market. The company continued to invest in the purchase of new and seasoned sherry casks and fillings from distilleries around Scotland.
Strong performance in premium single malt whisky and gin led to good progress for the UK wholesale operation and the decision was taken to focus on this aspect of the business and withdraw from wine and beers wholesaling in the future.
Gordon & MacPhail Managing Director, Ewen Mackintosh, outlined the vision for the future, saying: “We’re pleased to be in a solid financial position to pursue our growth plans. This involves investing across our whole business, including building a second distillery at Grantown and various developments at the Benromach site. Our performance this year has been oustanding and this is in large due to impressive performances, in particular, by Benromach and Gordon & MacPhail whiskies in key markets world wide.“
Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige and a member of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, owners of the business, said: “Investing in the future has always been a cornerstone of my family’s philosophy towards business and it’s pleasing to see this approach continuing to bear fruit with the strong financial performance this year. It’s a privilege to be part of an exciting new chapter in the company’s history as we plan a second distillery and continue to build a long term legacy for the benefit of future generations of family, colleagues and customers.”
The company appointed a new non executive director this year. Jim Bishop suceeded Michael Urquhart who stepped down from the family-owned company after more than 30 years. New posts within the business were focused on internationalisation and premiumisation of the brands. The head count averaged 154 throughout the year.