Speaking at Pernod Ricard’s 2015-2016 half-year financial results press conference in London, CEO of Chivas Brothers, Laurent Lacassagne, told journalists the “centre ground” made up 60% of whisky sales and it was thus where the group aimed to “grow share”.
Only last month Diageo’s CEO Ivan Menezes set out a strategy to exploit the growth opportunity in the "mainstream" market.
Lacassagne defined centre ground as “two moments of consumption: 'Premium lifestyle’ and ‘Impress’" and said Ballantine’s Finest and Chivas Regal were the two strategic brands to optimise these opportunities.
Chivas Regal finished H1 2015/2016 at -4% in volumes and -2% in value, while Ballantine’s saw volumes grow 2% and value flat-line.
In the “periphery” of the Scotch whisky market, Lacassagne described the fastest growing areas as “craft and discernment” (which was said to be satisfied by brands such as The Glenlivet and Abelour), “luxury” (Royal Salute and Chivas Regal The Icon), “innovating in taste” (Chivas Extra, Ballantine’s Brasil and Hard Fired) and “introducing to international" (Passport and 100 Pipers).
He said Passport Scotch had been one of the success stories of the results period and one of the fastest growing Scotch brands in the market with growth of 22%.