While Scotch accounted for record global shipments of £3.45bn last year [Scotch Whisky Association], the domestic market remains crucial. For Maxxium, product innovations aimed at younger drinkers and women could be the key to fuelling long-term growth at home.
It is particularly excited by the potential of pre-mixed spirits and has just run a five-week trial in the on trade of The Ginger Grouse a 6% abv premix of The Famous Grouse and ginger beer that it says has gone down well since its March launch.
"We are always looking to break new ground within the drinks industry and we are encouraged by the results from our initial trial of The Ginger Grouse in the Scottish on-trade," says Helen Potter, innovation manager for The Famous Grouse, adding that the brand is not yet looking at the off-trade.
The beer industry, too, is turning its attention towards women, and not before time, with women accounting for only 13% of all beer drinkers in the UK according to the Bittersweet Partnership, compared with 25% in the US and 36% in Ireland.
The 142-year-old Caledonian Brewery, home to Deuchars Pale Ale and Caledonian 80 Shilling, believes that the time is right for the launch of a female-friendly real ale. Although final details are still firmly under wraps, a spokesman for the brewery confirms that one of two beer launches planned by the company for the coming 18 months will directly target women drinkers.
"Our research suggests that many women love pubs, but they hate the gassy lagers that tend to dominate them," he says. "Our product will be lighter and more refreshing without compromising on quality."
Focus On Scotland