Business Week – Glenmorangie drinks to growth.

Glenmorangie deputy chief executive and finance director Iain Hamilton is in high spirits and confident that consumers’ maturing taste in malt whisky will insulate the company from any economic downturn.

‘It’s an exciting company to work for. It’s growing, we have fantastic brands and we’re bringing in profits,’ said Hamilton, an ICAS member, who is preparing the company’s annual results, due to be announced next Wednesday.

He added that malt whisky, the company’s core product, is a sector that has grown for the past 20 years and will continue to grow because people tend to progress from blended whisky into malt.

‘This is a great company to work for and the whisky industry is a very enjoyable industry to work in,’ he said. ‘It’s one of the last independent whisky companies. It’s owned 52% by the McDonald family, so it’s like a halfway house between a family-owned business and a plc.’

Hamilton’s career has taken him from Ernst & Young, where he qualified and worked for 12 years, to electronics. Prior to joining Glenmorangie in 1997, he worked at electronics manufacturer SCI Europe, which is a Nasdaq-listed IBM sub-contractor and Fortune 300 company.

‘I knew a lot about whiskey before I went to the electronics sector, so coming here was like coming home,’ he said. During his time at Ernst & Young, he audited whiskey companies, such as White & Mackay distillers and DCL, now part of Diageo.

Besides dealing with Glenmorangie’s finances, Hamilton is also in charge of the commercial side of the businesses. He deals with the whisky stocks, which are the bulk of the business, and with commercial deals such as the Brown-Forman sales and marketing partnership, signed last year to grow Glenmorangie’s malt brands in continental Europe and emerging markets.

Recently, Hamilton negotiated a supply chain venture with The Drambuie Liqueur Company.

Hamilton finds that, along with the chief executive, he is a figurehead for the company. ‘A lot of it is presenting what the company does to the City,’ he said.

Glenmorangie has not so far felt any impact from the economic downturn, but, if the world should be plunged into recession, Hamilton said the company would not be affected as badly as some. He said he believed Glenmorangie’s brands and link-ups would keep it relatively insulated.

The company’s website is


Interim results to September 30, 2000

Turnover: #25.2m

Operating costs: #20.9m

Pre-tax profits: #2.9m

Market capitalisation: #101.9m

Executive directors: Paul Neep, chief executive, February 1997; Iain Hamilton, finance director & deputy chief executive, January 2001

Auditor: Ernst & Young

Company profile: Glenmorangie produces and markets malt whisky brands including Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch, Glen Moray and Ardbeg. The distiller’s Boxburn-based plant produces 1.1 million cases a year. The company was formed in 1893 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in November 1953.

Related reading

aidan-brennan kpmg