Malt sales grow ahead of overall spirits market

27 August, 2008
Page 17 
Premium blends have always been the linchpin of the duty-free whisky category in the Middle East but the region's largest operator, Dubai Duty Free , has noticed a significant jump in malt sales .

Sales of malt whisky rose 32 per cent in the first half of 2007 despite DDF suffering from a lack of floor space to showcase the category properly. By contrast, overall whisky sales increased only 23 per cent, lagging behind overall liquor sales, which were up 28 per cent in the same period.

"We believe that as customers get more sophisticated in choosing their whisky they will increasingly switch from blended to single malt whiskies to highlight their status, taste and superiority over regular whisky drinkers," said DDF purchasing and research manager Sharon Beecham.

She added that DDF's recent introduction of limited quantities of The Macallan 40 Year Old was proof that regional travellers' tastes were becoming more sophisticated.

And, in another sign of the growing market for malts, Dubai-based distributor The Dead Whisky Society now provides DDF with rare, ­collectable whiskies from mothballed distilleries such as Dallas Dhu.

DDF is also seeing strong sales growth for the bourbon sector, where sales grew by nearly 35 per cent in the first half of 2007. Premium lines such as Makers Mark, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel's Silver Select and Jim Beam Black are driving the trend.
----=== Duty- Free ===
  • According to the European Travel Retail Council's sales tracking service INDEX, European duty-free and travel-retail liquor sales increased 6.6 per cent on average over the first half of 2007, despite the current concerns over airport restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels.
  • Award-winning Hong Kong international airport beauty concessionaire Nuance-Watson is branching out into fine wine. The company's 2,000sq m Atrium store at the newly-opened Venetian Maca o-Resort-Hotel on the island's Cotai Strip features a Watson's Wine Cellar, which boasts some 300 top vintages from the New and Old Worlds.
  • Bacardi Global Travel Retail Division has appointed Erwin van Outheusden regional manager for the Middle East, Africa and Greece with immediate effect. The appointment of van Outheusden marks the first time that Bacardi (GRTD) has had a dedicated travel-retail resource for the region.
  • Blue Grass airport in Lexington, Kentucky, is set to open a Knob Creek Tavern at the end of year as part of a wider retail expansion project. The new outlet will showcase various cocktails made from the local small-batch bourbon, which is owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wines. Tipples will include the Knob Creek Mint Julep, Manhattan and Old Fashion.
  • The Nuance Group has opened a larger and refurbished departures shop at Melbourne International airport.

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