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malt category back in 1963, so we've got that
heritage of being the first mover, but we've got
to maintain that. Having others do it as well is
fine and is expected and there will be more of
it; we just have to make sure we stay ahead of
the curve," explained Pollock.
"There are two whiskies in the Experimental
Series, we are doing the IPA and then there
is the Project XX (pronounced Twenty). And
both of these are very exciting particularly
in terms of doing something unconventional.
We've had a pioneering spirit and when you
look back at things we did like Snow Phoenix
and The Glenfiddich Original, this is another
one of those real innovations."
And while consumers are willing to
experiment, innovation and experimentation
are also key factors for Diageo Australia, as
the company's Marketing Manager of Scotch
and International Brands, Jonathan Morgan
"Innovation is certainly a key part and for
me it comes in many different forms. At its
core is continuing to meet what consumers
are looking for, so that can be innovation
in product, but I think you can also have
innovation in the experience that you are
offering consumers as well. We've done a
lot of work over the last couple of years on
experimenting with spirits, such as the work
we've done with Matt Preston.
"That platform of entertaining with spirits,
and we are running into our second year of
that this year, and Scotch is going to play
a massive part in that year two program.
That is giving people new ideas on how they
can entertain with spirits and within that
entertaining with Scotch. That's around food
pairing, making it part of the more casual get
together occasions, those entertaining times
and having people round."
Morgan adds that one area where Diageo
has put those ideas into practice has been with
the Johnnie Walker brand. Not only with the
re-introduction of Green Label, but also with
new products and experiments, such as the
recently released Blenders' Batch.
"Experimentation is a big thing, and for us it is
about taking that trend across Malts and Blends.
So if we look at Blends, with the introduction
of the Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch Red Rye
Finish, that is an experiment ultimately. We have
hundreds of blending experiments going on in
Scotland and this is us lifting the lid a little bit and
giving a bit more of an insight into what blending
is all about and Johnnie Walker can really hero
that," Morgan said.
BLENDS AND MALTS
One key element to the Scotch whisky segment
is its further breakdown into Blends and Single
Malts. Both elements of Scotch are performing
well and both are experiencing growth in
Australia, a trend which bucks those that exist
in other parts of the world.
Currently Single Malts account for 12
per cent of the overall Scotch market, worth
approximately $96 million in Australia in the
last financial year, versus Blends, which were
worth around $717 million.
And Pollock believes as the trend of people
drinking less but spending more continues,
there is huge potential for further value growth
"There has been a lot more happening in the
Malt area and that has driven a lot of people's
interest. But I am convinced there is a lot more
room for growth for Malt whisky in Australia.
"When you look internationally and at the
UK, the US and the French markets, Australia
is in the top 10 for Malt markets, but when you
then look at how big our market is compared
to say the UK or France, on a per capita basis
we are much smaller. But the Scotch market in
Australia is pretty good, and there is a lot more
growth opportunity for Malt within Scotch. I
would hope that over the next three to five years
we should be able to see a doubling of Malt.
"Why is that? I think there is a lot more
interest in terms of people wanting to discover
and try new whisky, I think they are getting
a little bored with what's been out there,"
"IF ALMOST HALF OF THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE BUYING MALT
WHISKY ARE BUYING IT AS A
GIFT AND OF THOSE OVER HALF
ARE THINKING 'I DON'T KNOW
WHAT TO BUY', THERE IS AN
AWESOME OPPORTUNITY FOR
THE RETAILER TO UPSELL TO
SOMETHING THAT IS DIFFERENT,
THAT IS INNOVATIVE, BUT THAT
WILL ALSO YIELD THEM A HIGH
MARGIN," JACK POLLOCK,
WILLIAM GRANT & SONS.
William Grant & Sons Distillery in summer.
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