A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
The barrel-aged beer producer also attributed its growth to the addition of the Rum Cask edition to its core range and the move to put its original recipe beer on draft in the UK.
International trade constituted 77% of Innis & Gunn's turnover, with the brand’s largest market being Canada, and the US providing the chief catalyst for export volume sales growth of 178%.
Dougal Sharp, CEO of Innis & Gunn, said: “We have built the right infrastructure around us to deal with the challenges inherent with importing to and trading in the States.
“Over the last year, we have strengthened our sales force and established good relationships with our first-tier distributors to make sure Innis & Gunn is a key player in their brands’ portfolio.”
Since its formation in January 2010, Innis & Gunn USA, led by managing director Dan Deluca, has secured distribution in 20 states.
In the UK Innis & Gunn saw 33% volume growth and 38% value growth in 2011.
Crawford Sinclair, UK director of sales, said: “The launch of Original Draught at the start of the year combined with strong packaged sales saw our on-trade business almost double in size.
“This expansion, combined with consistent growth in the off-trade puts Innis & Gunn in a very strong position as we are able to meet the needs of the trade and the consumer going forward.”