Famous Grouse overtakes Jack Daniel’s as UK’s best-selling whisk(e)y

Blended Scotch brand The Famous Grouse overtook Jack Daniel’s as the UK’s best-selling whisk(e)y last Christmas, according to new data.

Famous Grouse enjoyed “outstanding” sales growth in the UK off-trade in the 12 weeks to January 2020, with value sales rising 2.6% and topping £71 million, according to the latest figures from Nielsen. The US whiskey had held the top spot in 2018 but, saw value drop 9.3% over the same period.

Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, a distributor jointly owned by Edrington and Beam Suntory which handles Scotch brand Highland Park, and American whiskeys Jim Beam, and Maker’s Mark, said the boost comes despite a decline in blended Scotch sales. Blended Scotch sales fell 4.1% over Christmas, according to Nielsen.

The Christmas boost comes after The Famous Grouse’s value sales had fallen by 8% in 2018. Edrington, which produces the whisky, attributed the brand’s sales dip to the “continued challenging trading environment for blended Scotch”, in results filed last June.

As a whole, the whisk(e)y category in total was valued at £393 million last Christmas, larger than both vodka and gin.

Edrington is not the only spirits group enjoying a blended Scotch resurgence. Pernod Ricard announced last week that its whisky brand Royal Salute experienced 17% organic sales growth and was one of the company’s top performers in its H1 FY20 results. The Glenlivet rose 15%, which it said was a result of strong performances in the US, China, Russia, India, Taiwan and Japan, while Ballatine’s sales rose 5%.

Mark Riley, managing director, of Edrington-Beam Suntory UK said: “The Famous Grouse for years has been the UK’s favourite whisky and driving force behind the blended Scotch category, so we are delighted to have reclaimed our number one spot in the UK’s largest spirits category.

“It’s fantastic to see a Scotch back in the top spot, particularly for The Famous Grouse, where success has been driven by our strong equity, premiumisation and increased demand for smaller bottle sizes.”

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