By Andy Young

Kirsten Grant Meikle, the director of prestige with William Grant & Sons has told TheShout, there are plans to bring some exciting and rare whiskies to Australia.

The prestige business was established by William Grant & Sons in the UK last year, to help boost the company's high-end retail in both on- and off-premise.

The company developed a prestige strategy, which has been implemented in London and Grant's now has around 200 high-end on-trade accounts. According to Grant Meikle, these are "five-star hotels, key influencer bars and Michelin star restaurants, and we also look after the global shop window stores, so the likes of Harrods, Selfridge’s and Harvey Nichols."

In terms of what makes a prestige product, Grant Meikle says that it depends on your perception. “Age statement is a big thing, particularly for the Asian market, they feel confident with, and like to have, an age statement; so that gives them a sense of confidence in the product. Packaging is also a massive thing for prestige brands and of course price.

"We’ve got a lot of old stock, we are a family business and we’ve been in the business for 127 years so we possibly have the largest stock of whisky of all the Scotch companies. There’s a big focus for us at the moment on Glenfiddich 21; it’s a really interesting product. If we weren’t a family business we wouldn’t make it the way that we make it and it really is quite an exceptional product. So if we wanted to say ‘where do we start in Prestige?’ 18-year-old Glenfiddich probably but there’s definitely a big focus on the 21 and then up to 50-year-old.

“We are a family business, and we work in 30 year planning cycles, so our stock management is critical, it’s the heart of the business. We very fortunate with some of the decisions that my uncles and cousins made 30 years ago are really paying off for us now."

But is Australia a focus for the Prestige business? “For sure,” Grant adds, “the paper that we wrote to start up the business in London is effectively a blue print for rolling out across the world.”

And as for some exciting and rare whiskies coming to Australia? “Yes, definitely,” Grant Meikle answered, but at this stage she wouldn’t reveal which ones they are. But she added that it is a “great time” to be in this prestige business. “Whisky is really booming and it’s a great place to be, we have such fantastic stocks at William Grant & Sons, so we have a great opportunity.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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