Glenmorangie, which is owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, had been the number one-selling single malt in the Scottish off-trade for the past 13 years, according to Nielsen.
However, sales of Glenfiddich in the UK have rocketed 24% to £27.1m, while Glenmorangie has plummeted 24% to £17.5m over the past year [Nielsen off-trade 52w/e 23 February 2010]. While it was already the leading single malt in the UK market overall, taking the top spot in Scotland had previously eluded Glenfiddich.
James Stocker, marketing controller for premium dark spirits at First Drinks, the distributor bought by William Grant & Sons in 2006, put the success down to continued investment in the brand.
"Despite the tough market conditions, we have continued to invest in Glenfiddich when other people have decided to cut back," he said. "William Grant is still a family-owned company and sees Scotland in particular as a key market. The fact we continue to invest in our Scottish distilleries and employ Scottish people is very important."
Education-focused marketing, increased PoS and "heavy" above-the-line investment had also helped, he said.
"Our promotional activity has been broadly in line with the market and aside from the duty increases we passed through in January 2009 we have kept the shelf price the same," he added.
In a bid to reinforce its premium status in the off-trade sector, First Drinks introduced the new 14-year old Glenfiddich Rich Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky (rsp: £30.99) into Sainsbury's this week.
The newcomer has been aged in brand new, untouched American and European oak casks a first for the single malt whisky industry, claims Stocker.
Further NPD and marketing activity were in the pipeline for the company's Grant's and The Balvenie whiskies, added Stocker.
Glenmorangie was not available to comment.