Distell doubles profits as whisky sales defy Covid

Annual profits doubled for the owner of the Bunnahabhain single malt Scotch whisky, despite Covid restrictions during the period.

Distell International said it had enjoyed an “exceptional” year, given that some of its key markets had been still subject to coronavirus lockdowns and limitations during the period. Pre-tax profit rose to £17.7 million for the 12 months to the end of June 2022, from £7.8 million in the previous 12 months.

The company has a blending, bottling and warehousing base in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, as well as the distilleries Bunnahabhain on Islay, Tobermory on Mull and Deanston in Perthshire. It has a portfolio of single malt and blended whisky brands including Ledaig, Deanston, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader, as well as distributing wine and other spirits.

It is part of the wider Distell Group, a South African drinks conglomeratethat paid £160 million in 2013 to buy what was then known as Burn Stewart Distillers. Distell Group is selling part of its business to Heineken subject to regulatory approvals, although the Scotch whisky division is not included in that deal.

Annual accounts for Distell International show turnover increasing by almost 16 per cent to £133.4 million. Britain retained its place as the group’s largest market, with sales rising 32 per cent to £45 million.

Only Africa, down 21 per cent to £5.3 million, showed any decline in sales across the year.

The company said both the Bunnahabhain and Deanston single malts had recorded double-digit percentage growth in revenue in the year. It noted that “spirits as a category performed strongly during the past year”, with the company’s brands doing well in retail and online environments.

Image credit: ALAMY

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