>Tough times ahead for whisky industry


Independent whisky producer Burn Stewart Distillers is warning of tough times ahead for the industry due to a widespread de-stocking across the global supply chain.

The company, producers of Scottish Leader, Black Bottle, Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Deanston and Ledaig whiskies, reported double digit growth for 2008 this week and strong sales in both home and overseas markets.

Fraser Thornton, managing director, is adamant consumer demand remains high for Scotch but predicts the next 18 months will be “extremely difficult” for the industry due to the lack of working capital in the supply chain.

He expects whisky sales will drop significantly as importers, wholesalers and licensed distributors struggle to fund new stock purchases.

Thornton said: “From what we have seen globally, consumer demand hasn’t dropped at all, but the availability of stock is certainly becoming an issue.

“We have seen evidence all the way through the distribution chain – from the importer, retailer and wholesalers – of a systematic destocking to protect their own cash positions, which is essentially a banking issue.