Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tamdhu Distillery to be Closed by Edrington! Very, Very Sad News.

The Edrington Group (the folks who own The Famouse Grouse, The Macallan, Highland Park, Glenrothes and Glenturret, and have a stake in Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd's Cutty Sark), have just decided to close the Tamdhu Distillery after 112 years of operation. Roughly 31 men and women in Scotland are losing their jobs with Edrington.

In other news, meanwhile, did I mention that the Edrington Group cleaned up 2008-9: Group turnover UP 44.0% at £419.9m (2008: £291.5m); profit before tax (excluding exceptional items) UP 30.5% to £94.8m (2008: £72.6m)s; Shareholders´ earnings (excluding exceptional items) UP 12.5% to £41.4m (2008: £36.8m); dividend UP 6.3% to 18.6p (2008: 17.5p); The Famous Grouse became the #1 blended whisky in UK (it has been #1 in Scotland for 29 years); and they successfully launched a sales and distribution alliance with Beam Global in 24 markets. As Edrington's Chief Executive Ian Curle commented:
"...Once again, we managed to grow shareholders´ earnings despite a softening of demand in a number of our main markets due to the global economic slowdown. Whilst this will affect our growth ambitions in the short to medium term, we remain confident about our long term prospects."
Too bad for Tamdhu and the 31 employees projected to lose their livelihoods that this largess isn't being reinvested in them so as to ride through the economic downturn! Bastards.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a knuckle dragging, right-wing, fiscal-libertarian-leaning free market warrior. Edrington can do what it likes with its assets. I have no stake in the risks, costs or profits. I'm just a consumer in a foreign market. Yet I can't help but feel that a little bit of Scotland's heritage has taken a beating, and clearly at least 30 families in Moray, Scotland will NOT have nearly as Merry a Christmas or as Happy a New Year. Very, very sad.

Here is the's story on the move:

Dram shame as bosses close down distillery after 112 years
Published Date: 21 November 2009

ONE OF Speyside's leading distilleries is to close with the loss of more than 30 jobs after a review by a major whisky producer.

The Edrington Group plans to put its Tamdhu distillery and maltings in Aberlour in "care and maintenance" from April.

It will then concentrate production at its three core distilleries – The Macallan in Craigellachie, Glenrothes in Rothes and Highland Park in Orkney. Glenturret distillery in Crieff is unaffected by the proposals.

Tamdhu, meaning "little dark hill" in Gaelic, was founded in 1897 and currently employs 20 staff.

The company said the planned changes would result in a net reduction of up to 31 jobs from Tamdhu, The Macallan, Glenrothes, Highland Park and Buchley warehouses in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, with some leaving through voluntary redundancy and others being relocated.

In a statement, the company said: "Whilst Edrington's brands continue to perform well in international markets, and the group is confident about returning to growth in the medium term, the current economic downturn has flattened sales over the past year.

"There are early signs of stability returning to the group's markets. However, the downturn has required Edrington to rebalance its distillation capacity."

Graham Hutcheon, group operations director, said that the proposed package of measures was designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of Edrington's Scotch whisky operations.

"It would allow us to ensure that our business is the right size and shape to support current and future activity levels."

Chief executive Ian Curle said the company remained confident about its long-term prospects though it was adopting a cautious approach.

Edrington employs about 2,200 people across the globe, with 840 in Scotland. It has invested over £42 million in its Scottish operations in the last five years.

The group owns the leading blended whisky, the Famous Grouse and other brands such as Cutty Sark and Brugal rum.

The news was greeted with disappointment last night.

John Russell, chair of Moray Council's economic development committee, said: "This is very bad news for staff who will be losing their jobs, particularly as the area offers very little alternative employment."

Moray MP Angus Robertson said: "It is important that those who are affected by these job losses are given as much support as possible in the coming weeks and months."


WHISKY tycoon William Grant was the driving force behind the creation of Tamdhu distillery, buying land beside the Knockando Burn, north of the River Spey, in 1896.

Grant, director of Highland Distillers, raised £19,200 from 15 partners including Robertson & Baxter, to fund his new venture. Designed by architect Charles Doig, of Elgin, it was commissioned in the summer of 1897.

Despite disputes over water sources, by June 1898 the distillery had produced 214,476gallons of good quality malt whisky.

The distillery was closed for the 1911 and 1912 whisky distilling seasons due to the decline in demand, then reopened output until 1925. In 1928, Tamdhu fell silent again, this time reopening in 1947 and in the post-war period the whisky built up a strong reputation among blenders. The number of stills increased from two to four in 1972 and there was a further expansion to six in 1975.

Here is the Aberdeen Press and Journal's story on this decision by the Edrington Group:
Closedown of distillery could mean 30 lost jobs
Blow for Moray families in run-up to Christmas
By Emma Christie

Published: 21/11/2009

More than 30 whisky jobs could be lost after a major producer announced plans to close a Speyside distillery and maltings and scale back operations.

The Edrington Group announced it was likely to shut its Tamdhu Distillery, at Knockando, as the firm concentrated its efforts on its Easter Elchies site for The Macallan at Craigellachie, at Glenrothes, and at Highland Park in Orkney.

Last night local politicians said it was a blow to families across the area.

Edrington employs around 840 people in Scotland. The company is proposing to restructure the organisation, however, in response to the current economic downturn.

Chief executive Ian Curle said when Edrington announced its annual results in June that there had been reduced demand in a number of main markets due to the global economic crisis.

He said the company remained confident about its long-term prospects, but was adopting a cautious approach in the meantime.

The proposed changes, which could come into place by April, would result in up to 31 job losses across workforces at Tamdhu, The Macallan, Glenrothes, Highland Park and at Buchley, Bishopbriggs.

All employees have been told about the plans, which are out for consultation.

The company’s group operations director, Graham Hutcheon, said he hoped the proposals would ensure the long-term sustainability of its whisky operations.

“It would allow us to ensure that our business is the right size and shape in order to support current and future activity levels,” he said.

Last night Moray MP Angus Robertson said it was disappointing news.

“Following the news of job losses by Whyte & Mackay and Diageo in recent months there has been concern that other companies such as the Edrington Group would find themselves having to make decisions on cutting production and jobs,” he said.

“Unfortunately that concern has proved correct with the news of the mothballing of Tamdhu Distillery and other job cuts from the company.” Mr Robertson said it was important affected workers were given support to find new work.

The area’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, said it was bad news for local families. “With only a few weeks to go till Christmas it is going to be a stressful time for the families affected and we can only hope that the pressure on the industry will ease in the near future.”

1 comment:

  1. This must be the first time in the history of Scotland that a grouse has shot itself in the foot.