Douglas Laing & Co buys Strathearn Distillery

Independent whisky bottler Douglas Laing & Co has moved into distilling with the acquisition of Perthshire-based single malt Scotch producer Strathearn Distillery.

The deal – terms of which have not been disclosed – marks the first operational distillery in the Douglas Laing portfolio.

Highland single malt whisky distillery Strathearn began production in 2013 and is a “pioneer of the craft distilling scene”. The site, which also produces Scottish gin and rum, encompasses distillation, warehouses and bottling.

Strathearn’s gin and rum brands will be available under the ownership of newly established firm, The Whisky Garden.

The acquisition comes as Douglas Laing progresses with the build of its £10.7 million (US$14m) distillery in Glasgow. Clutha Distillery’s signature whisky, which will bear the same name, will be a “high-end single malt with a heavy Sherry influence”.

According to the company’s director of whisky, Cara Laing, the move gives the firm “the opportunity to create an extraordinary brand home for our family business and a global single malt brand steeped in our family firm’s history, heritage and passion”.

She said: “Today marks a proud and historic landmark for Douglas Laing. For its first seven decades in the wonderful world of whisky, our family firm has been renowned amongst the finest independent bottlers, celebrated for our Remarkable Regional Malts and Exceptional Single Casks brands.

“2019, our 71st year in business, is the year we take a monumental leap, adding ‘distiller’ to our credentials and beginning a new chapter in our journey.”

Chris Leggat, CEO of Douglas Laing & Co, added: “Strathearn is a wonderful addition to our portfolio. The distillery’s handcrafted and premium approach to single malt Scotch whisky production is entirely aligned with our own values, with no attention to detail spared.

“The acquisition comes at a time when Douglas Laing & Co is truly thriving. We are particularly proud to report double-digit growth for a fifth consecutive year, plus nine new recruits to our team and several new markets opened recently for our core brands.

“Douglas Laing’s Strathearn Distillery allows us opportunity to now invest further in our team, whilst becoming masters of our own destiny in terms of Scotch whisky distillation.”

Established in 1948, Douglas Laing’s Scotch whisky portfolio includes brands such as Xtra Old Particular (XOP), Old Particular, Timorous Beastie, Scallywag, Rock Oyster, Big Peat and The King of Scots.

Douglas Laing celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018 and released numerous bottlings to mark the milestone. A 10-year-old anniversary Scallywag single malt Scotch whisky was released in May last year, while a 1982 vintage Port Ellen and a 26-year-old Big Peat were brought out in December.

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