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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

Whyte & Mackay, the Glasgow-based distiller, unveiled new marketing strategies for its core brands last week, as it attempts to battle back from a disappointing performance and unsettling sell-off speculation. Glen Gribbon, brands director at Whyte & Mackay - the only director remaining from the original seven who instigated the buy-out from Jim Beam Brands two years ago - reiterated the company's commitment to its branded business and admitted that the supermarket own-label Scotch market remains difficult. He claimed that prices paid by buyers for Scotch have fallen by around 20% in the last two years due to oversupply, increased competition and distillers desperate to use their spare bottling capacity. The company's eponymous flagship brand will receive the bulk of the massive 50 million cash pool earmarked for brand support over the next few years (equal to almost a third of the company's turnover and over double last year's 20.6 million pre-tax profit). A new TV advertising campaign will be launched in Scotland (where it is the number two blended Scotch) while England and Wales will see a new press campaign and sponsorship of London Wasps Rugby Club as it attempts to win increased distribution in the on-trade. Vladivar, the company's vodka brand and its other main focus, will have its first TV advertising campaign for over 10 years. It will be backed up by trade activity, press advertising and PR support. Whyte & Mackay (formerly Kyndal Spirits) was recently the subject of speculation that the German bank WestLB was keen to sell off its shares in the company, following the recent announcement that the distiller is to close two of its bottling plants.

W&M teams up with GB In a new initiative, Whyte & Mackay and Gonzlez Byass are launching the first co-branded whisky. The 1973 Dalmore Gonzlez Byass Sherry Cask Finish will have a limited production and will retail for 89.99.