'Primary Scotch brands can dominate emerging markets'

Pat Venning, global marketing director for Chivas Brothers believes that its primary Scotch portfolio has a “good future” despite global premiumisation.

Venning (pictured) looks after the Chivas portfolio of primary Scotch brands including; Passport, 100 Pipers and Clan Campbell and he told DI that these whiskies have a bright future in emerging markets.

“Each of our brands has a couple of dominant markets and our job is to match these brands with a suitable market,” said Venning.

“Passport is our more quirky brand whereas 100 Pipers is more traditional so they strive better in different audiences.”

According to Drinks International’s Millionaires’ Club, the volumes of Passport, Clan Campbell and 100 Pipers all surpassed 1m 9-litre cases in 2017.

Venning added: “In India, 100 Pipers is 10 times the size of Ballantine’s whereas in more established Scotch markets it’s often the opposite. We’re putting a lot of effort behind Passport at the moment and it continues to perform well in Brazil and Mexico.

“The hardest part for us is finding a focus for the brand and deciding where it is likely to fit in internationally. It’s not particularly difficult to grow volumes in a country but growing margins is the challenge.

“Our primary Scotch brands often benefit from economic downturn because of the lower price points. Of course all of our brands are real Scotch whisky brands with no shortcuts or additives and that’s why they do so well in emerging markets. “

As well as its primary Scotch portfolio, Chivas Brothers also owns a range of premium international blended Scotch brands such as Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Royal salute.

“After a period of time a market may begin to grow economically and develop a need for more premium brands and then we can re-evaluate the roles our brands play there,” added Venning.

“I foresee a good future for our primary Scotch portfolio because every global market is so dynamic and I believe there will always be a role to play for our brands. It certainly keeps me busy.”