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Scotching the myth of independence

Those who control the Scotch whisky industry are overwhelmingly based outside Scotland.

Diageo has more than 35% of the whisky market, and if it can secure control of India's United Distillers, including Whyte & Mackay, that will push up to 40%. Pernod Ricard in France, has around 20%. LVMH, with Glenmorangie, Remy Cointreau, which recently paid a  £58m for Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, and Japan's Suntory which has Morrison Bowmore, control another 20%.

Professor John Kay, the UK's most influential business economist writing in Scotland's Economic Future, claims a mere 2% of the global retail sales value of Scotch whisky ends up in Scottish pockets. The reason is that more than 80% of the whisky distilled in Scotland is foreign-owned and the majority of value of leading brands values is accumulated overseas.

"Value added from Scotch whisky is reported as around £3 billion – about 2.5% of Scottish GDP – but this figure reflects essentially arbitrary tran…

a drop o' the hard stuff?

Scotch whisky is now outperforming traditional investments, including the stock market and gold.
Figures from investment firm Whisky Highland show that some portfolios’ value has risen by almost 300 per cent in the last year. Three-year figures reveal that an investment in the 100 best-performing whiskies in 2008 would have risen by 163 per cent in 2011, while gold – which has soared due to the recession – rose 146 per cent. Diamonds rose by just 10 per cent, while shares and crude oil stock values fell.Arthur Motley, buyer at Royal Mile Whiskies, said: “Collectors used to be interested in whisky as a drink and wanted a good bottle as part of their collection. Increasingly, people are buying as they see prices rising on eBay or at auctions. It is simply seen as an investment.”David Robertson, Dalmore’s rare whiskies director, said: “People see whisky as an asset and with stocks and shares being so tough and interest from bank accounts so low, investors have been starting to lo…