Page 1

Established names continue to impress Brands founded more than a century ago take all three podium spots in this year’s Scottish alcohol top ten table CONGRATULATIONS to the top ten brands that feature on our list. There’s no change in the top ten brands since last year, with the only difference being a jostling for position. Tennent’s remains in top spot, and with the brand’s current strapline, “Turning Scottish rain into beer since 1885”, some of this success may well be attributed to our lovely climate. Rain is also a feature of the brand sitting in second place, The Famous Grouse, which was established in 1896 and cites Scottish water as a key ingredient. The fact that these two brands, alongside Whyte & Mackay (in third place), have been around for over 100 years is testament to their loyal following among Scottish consumers.

Brewdog is the fastest climber of the pack, going from tenth place last year to fifth this year. This time last year the main topic of conversation was Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) and whether it would have the intended effect on Scotland’s alcohol intake. Our latest data show that it has certainly had an impact on sales of alcohol, with value sales growing faster and volume sales declining more sharply than in Britain as a whole. It has also had an effect on the share of spend between private label and branded lines, with a heavier decline in volume terms in private label than in Britain overall. The impact of the policy is to accelerate the existing trend of consumers drinking less, but better. That said, we will need

Scotland’s biggest alcohol brand, Tennent’s, has been pushing its provenance.

Lesley Ann’s overview LESLEY Ann Gray, strategic lead for Scotland at market research company Kantar – which provides the listing of the top 50 Scottish non-alcohol brands in Scotland and the top 25 Scottish alcohol brands in Scotland – analyses the year for the leading Scottish brands in Scottish food and drink retailing.

to take a longer term view before we can judge how successful the policy has been in terms of improving the nation’s health.

year nationally, seeing value growth of 24%. Currently, beer and wine are the main players in this field, with the former seeing

The growth of no alcohol beers accelerated after the introduction of MUP in Scotland. Health and wellbeing are at the forefront of many shoppers’ minds, and in the alcohol sector this manifests itself in an ambition to moderate our drinking. As a result, one area increasingly favoured by shoppers is no and low ABV alternatives. The growth of no alcohol beers accelerated after the introduction of MUP in Scotland, with half of the buyers returning to buy again. Overall, the low ABV alcohol market has attracted an additional 200,000 shoppers this

the fastest growth (49%) as brands grow their portfolio to offer an alcohol-free alternative. Brands like Brewdog, with its no-alcohol beer Nanny State, are setting the pace in this blossoming market. Another element of the healthconscious trend is that calorie content is becoming a factor in consumers’ choices with Michelob Ultra showing clear labelling of calorie content. Of course, one result of the low and no alcohol trend is that the alcohol category is losing December 2019 · Scottish Grocer · 71

PIP p71&72 Alcohol brands intro.indd 1

22/11/2019 14.03

Scottish brands 2019 The low and no market is also extending from beers to spirits, with 180,000 British households having purchased 0% spirit, such as Seedlip, in the past year. significant spend to soft drinks. This also poses the question about how fixtures will look in the future as the no and low category grows and blurs the boundaries between soft drinks and alcohol-free. The low and no market is also extending from beers to spirits, with 180,000 British households having purchased 0% spirit, such as Seedlip, in the past year. “All things in moderation” is definitely a saying that can be applied to this industry, with two in five 18 to 24 year olds actively trying to moderate their intake. In addition to reducing their alcohol consumption and creating a market for new prod-

ucts, there are also the consumers dropping out of the market completely, with 15% of women no longer drinking alcohol whilst the figure for men is lower at 10%. Special occasions are of key importance to the alcohol market, and another trend is the rise of ready to drink (RTDs) and pre-mix options. Both have attracted more shoppers every year since 2015. This area continues to be a ripe opportunity for new product development, especially if new lines tap into the consumer trends for moderation and incorporate a lighter alcohol version into the portfolio. Looking forward to 2020, concern about the environ-

Close to half of consumers believe manufacturers should be reducing their waste.

ment will continue to shape and influence what consumers are looking for from their brands and how they shop. Some 48% of consumers believe manufacturers should be leading on reducing plastic waste, and already we are seeing initiatives such as refillable wine featuring in Spar. Tennent’s has also become the first brewer to join John

Lewis, Tesco, Unilever and Coca-Cola in becoming a member of the UK Plastics Pact, which will ban single-use plastic in its packaging by 2021. Whist the consultation continues to take place on the government’s proposed deposit return scheme, our own data shows that 75% of consumers in Scotland believe it is a good idea.

Top 10 Scottish take-home alcoholic drink brands in Scotland Brand

Rank 2019

Rank 2018

Tennent’s 1 1

The Famous Grouse


Whyte & Mackay



Glen’s Vodka














Innis & Gunn



Edinburgh Gin








Moving Up

Source: Kantar take-home sales in Scotland for the 52 weeks to the w/e 8 September 2019. NE = New entry. 72 · Scottish Grocer · December 2019

PIP p71&72 Alcohol brands intro.indd 2

22/11/2019 11.34

TENNENT’S LAGER The No.1 Off-Trade Alcohol Brand for Scotland*


Tennents - SG - linda.indd 1


19/11/2019 15.35

Scottish brands 2019

1. Tennent’s

STILL top of the off trade in Scotland, Tennent’s has thrived in 2019 with plenty of consumer engagement to keep customers coming back to the brand. Iain Telford, marketing services manager at Tennent’s, said he was “delighted” with the brand’s performance in 2019, suggesting that strong sales ultimately derive from the quality of the product. “This success comes down to the crisp and refreshing liquid we produce. “We pride ourselves on only using the finest quality Scottish ingredients, including 100% Scottish barley and fresh highland water from Loch Katrine. “As a brand, we feel we understand our drinkers and know exactly what they want, which has helped us to keep refreshing and entertaining them for 130 years,” he said. A quality liquid isn’t the only key to success though, and Telford said the brand’s re-

lationship with retailers has helped to drive sales. “Another key success point is understanding our retail customers,” he said. “From providing support via our campaigns, providing category and consumer insight, to ensuring that the correct packs are available at the right times, we ensure that our customers know they have our full backing in everything they do.” Tennent’s support for retailers in 2019 included two bursts of on-pack activity. The first of these, Tennent’s ‘Win a Key to the Brewery’ campaign, offered consumers the chance to host a party for 30 people at the brand’s Wellpark brewery in Glasgow. Tennent’s also teamed up with the Scotland rugby team for the “Best Seat in the House” promotion, offering pitch-side seats for the winner and three friends for next year’s Scotland v England Six

Nations fixture. Sustainability has also been a focus for Tennent’s in 2019. The brand’s ‘Because Life is Bigger than Beer’ campaign has seen the brewer commit to removing all singleuse plastic from its Pack promos were a feature of 2019 for Tennent’s, packaging by 2021, with two big giveaways for Scottish consumers. as well as installing formats and promotional plans a carbon capture facility to rewill continue to be a key foduce its CO2 footprint. cus for the brand for the year Looking to the future, Telahead. ford said the brand will contin“Finally, continuing to have ue to pursue its environmental fun and exciting activations for goals, while focusing on the our consumers to help excite needs of retailers. and engage them is something “A successful 2020 will see we are putting a lot of effort us stay on track for achieving into next year. our sustainability goals and “These activations really help help to do our bit in tackling to engage and entertain conthe pressing issue of climate sumers and encourage them change. to choose Tennent’s, which is “Alongside this, continuing the ultimate goal when conto support our retail customducting this type of activity,” ers through insight and unhe said. derstanding, appropriate pack

2. The Famous Grouse

SWOOPING back in at number two, The Famous Grouse is yet again Scotland’s top spirits brand – proving that blended whisky gets results. The brand’s tagline ‘Famous for a Reason’ isn’t just marketing talk, as The Famous Grouse has been a favourite among blended whisky fans for over 200 years. Founded by Matthew Gloag at the turn of the 19th century, The Famous Grouse is as relevant today as it ever was. Retailers may have seen the brand’s winged mascot flying onto TV screens in recent months, as part of a new advertising campaign for The Famous Grouse Smoky Black. Smoky Black is just one of a range of The Famous Grouse expressions that have been rolled out in recent years, as the brand seeks to appeal to a broad range of consumers. In addition to the core The Famous Grouse blended whisky, the range now includes: The Famous

Grouse Smoky Black, The Famous Grouse Bourbon Cask, The Famous Grouse Ruby Cask, The Famous Grouse Toasted Cask, The Black Grouse, The Famous Grouse Mellow Gold, Snow Grouse, and The Famous Grouse 16 Year Old Vic Lee. This autumn also saw the whisky brand unveil the latest in its Cask Series range, The Famous Grouse Wine Cask. Tasting notes for the new dram describe it as a fuller bodied whisky with the smoothness of The Famous Grouse. The Famous Grouse Wine Cask was finished in Spanish red wine casks, which are said to add notes of dark chocolate, cherries, nutmeg and hints of black pepper. Chris Anderson, head of brands at parent firm Edrington-Beam Suntory UK said: “These innovations are contributing to the inauguration of an everyday premium category for blended Scotch whisky and this approach demonstrates our commitment to bringing fresh opportunities for growth.”

74 · Scottish Grocer · December 2019

p82-90 alcohol brands.indd 1

22/11/2019 09.40

The UK’s No.1 Whisky

For further information contact Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution Limited. Tel: +44 (0) 333 016 1910 Web:

EdringtonBeamSuntory - SG - linda.indd 1

19/11/2019 15.28

Scottish brands 2019

3. Whyte & Mackay AS Whyte & Mackay moves up to third in the roll call of the top alcohol brands, it is no surprise that the man in charge of the brand is feeling “delighted.” Mike Greggs, Whyte & Mackay’s general manager for the UK, France and Germany said: “We have been able to get blended Scotch as a category back into growth in Scotland. “We are growing at 16%, the fastest growing of any of the whisky blends. And I think that is to do with the changes we have put in place. “The new packs give us more standout on shelf, and we are really pleased with the results we had. “We’ve invested quite a bit across marketing this year, more so than in the past. In digital, outdoor, and we are recruiting younger people. “We are trying to put the fun back into the brand.” But while Greggs is celebrat-

aging, this category hasn’t brought in as many younger consumers as other categories have. Categories like gin. “So we have been trying to bring in a bit of humour and playfulness into our story, specifically trying to recruit a wider set of shoppers and more younger consumers,” he said. And yet while gin has experienced an undeniable boom in recent years, especially among younger drinkers, whisky brands still make up four of the top ten alcohol brands in Scotland (and two of the top three). What gives whisky such an enduring popularity among Scottish drinkers? “Scotch whisky is a fascinating category. We are very proud of our Scottish, our Glasgow heritage. “The liquid makes it, and if you try it you can discover a love for it,” said Greggs. Whyte & Mackay has been

The fact that Whyte & Mackay is the fastest growing of any blended Scotch in the UK is important to us- we are determined to keep that trajectory upwards. ing the fact that blended whisky is back in growth, why does he think it was slowing down in the first place? “It is partly because we have seen malt whisky do really well across the UK, significantly outgrowing blend. “And that’s great for Scotch whisky, because people have moved from blended whisky into ‘acceptable malts.’ Overall that is a positive trend, because it means higher prices and more margins. “But I think what blended Scotch has needed to do is recruit more people. Our consumer on the whole has been

celebrating its enviable longevity by launching a competition, and a tongue in cheek advertising campaign, offering consumers the chance to win a rare 50-year-old bottle. “We try and get the right tone of voice that appeals to people,” said Greggs, “so things like ‘do you fancy a 50 year old?’ “In our 175th year we are delighted to launch this 50-yearold Whyte and Mackay. We think that story is a way we can talk to consumers.” But businesses don’t make it to 175 years without moving with the times. As well as

Mike Greggs, general manager for Whyte & Mackay for the UK, France and Germany.

its signature blended product, 2019 saw Whyte & Mackay launch an innovative new spirit drink. Whyte & Mackay Light, which is bottled at 21.5% ABV, was created to be both enjoyed with a mixer and served straight over ice. “Whyte & Mackay Light is something very different, we are really pleased with it. We see an emerging trend around people wanting to be thoughtful about their consumption. “With Whyte & Mackay Light, about 50% of the bottles we sell are entirely incremental to the category, so we are bringing new consumers for new occasions. “We see that people are tending to mix it more than core blended Scotch, and people are tending to buy it early in the week. The highest proportion are sold on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. “Consumers have been very positive, they think it is a great liquid. We would like to do more with it, and we are really hopeful it will go on to do bigger things,” he said. Pushing Whyte & Mackay

Light isn’t the only plan that the brand has for 2020 and beyond, as Greggs explained. “The things that have worked for us this year we want to double down on. “So we are going to continue to communicate with digital, we are going to continue to talk about our new bottle and do so with humour, and with fun injected back in. “We hope to see continued growth in blended Scotch. Continued growth across whisky as a whole. “For Scottish convenience, I will be expecting to continue to see a continued strong performance of blended whisky, particularly Whyte & Mackay. “The fact that Whyte & Mackay is the fastest growing of any blended Scotch in the UK is important to us – we are determined to keep that trajectory upwards,” he said.

76 · Scottish Grocer · December 2019

p82-90 alcohol brands.indd 2

22/11/2019 09.40


*By Volume, Nielsen KAD MAT to 5.10.19

Whyte&Mackay - SG - linda.indd 1

20/11/2019 11:22

Scottish brands 2019

4. Glen’s Vodka

WHEN you have the top Scottish vodka brand, it may be tempting to rest on your laurels a little – but the team behind Glen’s Vodka have done nothing of the sort. Glen’s continues to be a huge hit with Scottish consumers, but that hasn’t bred complacency at brand owner Loch Lomond Group.

This year, the spirits firm extended Glen’s with a major piece of NPD for the brand. Glen’s new flavoured vodka range saw the brand diversify its offer, with a lower ABV option for those seeking something with a bit of fruity flavour. Glen’s Strawberry & Apple and Glen’s Passionfruit and Peach are both crafted using

Glen’s core vodka as a base, but the final liquid has an ABV of 20%. Alisha Goodwin, brand manager for Glen’s, said the lower ABV would meet demand for lower alcohol options. Goodwin said: “Flavoured spirits are becoming increasingly popular among consumers and our Glen’s Flavours offer an exciting, new taste without the costly price tag. “The market is adapting all the time, and to remain relevant and in demand it is important to be flexible. “Our range now includes a lower-alcohol option, which will accompany our premium Glen’s Platinum and Glen’s Original spirits.” • Glen’s Vodka has been produced in Catrine, Ayrshire for over 20 years. The brand also offers a premium variant, Glen’s Platinum, launched in 2015.

5. Brewdog WHEN craft beer first burst onto the scene there were definitely sceptics, but what was once a trend now looks like a firmly fixed category in its own right. And of all the craft beer brands in the UK, it’s Aberdeenshire-based Brewdog that has turned hoppy IPAs into a global empire. Brewdog’s position as the second beer brand on this year’s list is testament to the huge changes that have taken place in the beer category and the brand shows no signs of slowing down. No strangers to grabbing headlines, brewery owners James Watt and Martin Dickie have pushed the bounda-

Brewdog bosses Martin Dickie (left) and James Watt have built a craft beer empire with dozens of branded bars worldwide.

ries of the publicity stunt, from driving tanks around London to attempting to bribe Fifa, and earned themselves legions of bearded beer loving fans in the process.

But craft isn’t just for niche beer lovers anymore, as Brewdog has proven. Success in Scotland’s stores has been mirrored globally, with the brewery opening bars

around the world. With pints of Punk IPA on sale from Sao Paulo to Tallin, the Brewdog brand is in rude health and its place is well earned in the top five.

78 · Scottish Grocer · December 2019

p82-90 alcohol brands.indd 3

22/11/2019 09.40

IanMacLeod - SG - linda.indd 1

20/11/2019 11:22

Scottish brands 2019

6. Grant’s

LAST year, Grant’s launched a major brand refresh, renaming its signature blend ‘Grant’s Triple Wood’ in recognition of the fact that it is aged in three different types of casks. Against a backdrop of increasing competition in the spirits category, Grant’s has done well to maintain its place in the top 10. To be the third biggest whisky brand in Scotland is also a major achievement.

7. Bell’s

BELL’S is a brand with grocery roots, the popular dram was founded by Perth retailer Arthur Bell almost 200 years ago. Bell was one of the pioneers of whisky. The retailer turned a few heads in the 1850s when he made the decision to mix together several fine whiskies to create the Bell’s blend. Today’s blend includes whiskies from Speyside, Islay and the Highlands.

8. Innis & Gunn EDINBURGH-based brewer Innis & Gunn has come a long way since it was founded in 2003. Since then, owner and master brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp and the team at Innis & Gunn have enjoyed the kind of success that any entrepreneur would dream of when founding a business. Innis & Gunn is now available in 35 countries, the brand has a growing on-trade operation and its beers have listings spanning independents and specialists, to major multiples across the UK. And expansion hasn’t

slowed up for the brand, which launched a crowdfunding bid last month to raise £3 million to invest in the construction of a new Edinburgh brewery. This latest push for expansion comes just three years on from Innis & Gunn’s acquisition of the Inveralmond Brewery, on the back of a similar crowdfunding scheme. Commenting on the launch of this year’s crowdfunding activity, Dougal Gunn Sharp said: “At this time of division, doom and gloom, the originality and inclusivity of the Innis & Gunn brand and business is a

shining light of optimism that brings people together in celebration of great beer. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime – to be part of the project to build Edinburgh’s first large-scale brewery in over 150 years. By investing in Innis & Gunn Beer Money, you will be helping to create a new legacy for our brand and for brewing in Edinburgh, and Scotland, that will last a lifetime. “We are excited that our new brewery will bring all production and packaging in house, simplifying the current outsourced model and reducing costs, while simultaneously reducing the company’s carbon footprint. It will also create around 30 jobs, with doors set to open in 2021.” Sharp added that part of the strength of the Innis & Gunn business comes from its community of fans, who have helped the brand achieve 16 years of uninterrupted growth. Innis & Gunn isn’t just a hit with its devoted fans either. This year, the brand scooped the ‘Scottish Brewery of the Year’ prize at the New York International Beer competition. More than 600 beers were judged at the competition, where Innis & Gunn also picked up a Gold medal for

its Bourbon Barrel Porter, and Silver medals for its Blood Red Sky and limited edition release Kindred Spirits. Gunn said of the competition win: “Our team give 100% commitment to making amazing beers for people all over the world to enjoy, and we are very proud to receive recognition from the industry.” A little closer to home, Innis & Gunn also convinced Ian Rankin to take a break from his much loved Deuchars IPA and join forces with the brewery for the launch of a limitededition bottle. Coinciding with the paperback release of the Edinburgh crime author’s latest Rebus novel, the special edition beer was wrapped in an extract from the thriller.

80 · Scottish Grocer · December 2019

p82-90 alcohol brands.indd 4

22/11/2019 09.40

Innis&Gunn - SLTN - faye.indd 1

22/11/2019 09.26

Scottish brands 2019

9. Edinburgh Gin A NEW gin seems to come to market every week at the moment, but while some fade away, Edinburgh Gin has established itself as consistent top ten brand in Scotland. It is not hard to see why. Since it was founded in 2010, the team behind Edinburgh Gin has worked hard to diversify the brand’s offer. New products, engaging

marketing campaigns and – at its heart – a quality liquid, have kept customers coming back to Edinburgh Gin. This year has seen the brand introduce a host of new flavours that chime with contemporary trends. In the spring, the brand expanded its portfolio with the launch of a full strength version of its Rhubarb & Ginger Gin. The distiller first launched its 20% ABV Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur in 2014 – but fans had to wait until 2019 to get the first taste of a full strength version. Edinburgh Gin added even more flavour to its range in the autumn, with the launch of Edinburgh Gin Lemon & Jasmine. The 40% ABV gin combines the juniper flavour profile of a

London Dry gin with fresh lemon and aromatic jasmine. At the launch of Edinburgh Gin Lemon & Jasmine, Neil Mowat, UK marketing director for Edinburgh Gin brand owner Ian Macleod Distillers said: “2019 has been a defining year for Edinburgh Gin as we turn our premium distilling

ale drinkers for more than 160 years, but Marstons made the decision to relaunch the brand in 2018. It’s a decision that seems to have paid off, as McEwan’s finds itself among the top 10 Scottish alcohol brands yet again. Since taking the brand on, Marstons has sought to appeal to drinkers looking for a more premium option – and positioned the McEwan’s brand accordingly. A packaging revamp has revitalised the brand’s look, while the bottled range of McEwan’s Export, McEwan’s Champion and McEwan’s Headspace wouldn’t look out of

place in the trendiest of craft beer bars. Joanna McNeill, brand manager at McEwan’s, said that almost half of drinkers are now searching for a premium option in store, and she reckons McEwan’s is well-equipped to meet that demand. “McEwan’s Champion is currently enjoying annual volume growth of 22.9%; a 22.4% increase in the second quarter against Q2 last year; and growth of 12.8% for the four weeks to 22 June, compared with the same period in 2018. “The brand is also showing the strongest growth rates out of the top ten UK premium bottled ales. “Champion’s continued growth has cemented its place as the number one best-

credentials and flair for flavour to full-strength gins. “Lemon & Jasmine is the next chapter in this flavour story; celebrating the refreshing contrast of lively citrus and mellow florals, coming together to create an invigorating and versatile full-strength gin.”

10. McEwan’s THE McEwan’s brand has been on a bit of a journey since it was acquired by Marstons in 2017. Founded in 1856, McEwan’s has been enjoyed by Scottish

selling premium bottled ale in Scotland, and number five across the whole of the UK,” she said. And while branding clearly helps, McEwan’s was also recognised for its quality this year, picking up a Gold award at the International Beer and Cider Awards 2019.

82 · Scottish Grocer · December 2019

p82-90 alcohol brands.indd 5

22/11/2019 09.41



Kantar, 52 week end 08 Sep 19.

Martsons - SG - linda.indd 1 26027 MBC McEwan's McNIFICENT Range Scots No1 Ale 297x210mm Ad Scottish Grocer_AW4.indd 1

19/11/2019 16:19 15.24 08/11/2019

Profile for Peebles Media Group

Scottish Off-trade Top 10 Brands 2019  

Brands founded more than a century ago take all three podium spots in this year’s Scottish alcohol top ten table

Scottish Off-trade Top 10 Brands 2019  

Brands founded more than a century ago take all three podium spots in this year’s Scottish alcohol top ten table