For William Grant & Sons (WG&S) Australia, 2023 was a year that solidified its leadership in the country’s premium and luxury spirits market. Innovative launches into Australia, complemented by local brand partnerships and activations, drove great results on our shores, alongside a significant global achievement.

Jonathan Sully, Marketing Director ANZ, said: “William Grant & Sons being recognised as Distiller of the Year for the eighth year in a row at the prestigious International Spirits Challenge 2023 was a global highlight. The industry-leading awards are known for setting the international benchmark for quality and recognising excellence in spirits worldwide, and to achieve such an accolade year after year is a testament to our commitment to excellence.”

Stars of the local portfolio in 2023 were single malt whiskies, headlined by the Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. Both brands launched exciting new SKUs last year (Glenfiddich Yozakura and The Balvenie 60 Year Old), and Sully noted they “represented key growth drivers through organic growth and localised brand collaborations”.

Highlight collaborations that elevated these brands included the continuation of the successful partnership between Glenfiddich and Australian Fashion Week, and a new partnership between The Balvenie and renowned chef Lennox Hastie from award-winning Firedoor restaurant, to create an immersive culinary experience and targeted lifestyle campaign.

Triple win strategy continues into 2024

In 2024, WG&S will be building on its leadership position to keep delivering the best.

As Sully noted: “Driving our ‘triple win’ strategy for consumers, our customers and the William Grant & Sons business will remain a core focus for 2024.

“We aim to achieve this through our commitment to building brands for the long term, supported by a highly capable team and ensuring that we are investing in disruptive activations and impactful advertising campaigns that deliver significant reach and engagement in the Australian market.

“Innovation in our premium liquids, doubling down on growth of our challenger brands and extending our luxury credentials will form the building blocks of 2024.”

This means we can expect an array of interesting developments from the WG&S portfolio this year. From Hendrick’s for example, this will include continued innovation in the concept-led gin space, off the back of the late 2023 launch of spring inspired gin Flora Adora, as well as through the limited edition ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’ range.

While the premium and luxury space is important to WG&S, one of the key strengths it has is a portfolio that caters to so many different consumers, tastes, trends and occasions. Sully noted this will be an important asset to staying ahead of consumer trends, understanding customer needs, and bringing its brands to life in ways that are creative, distinctive and memorable.

He said: “The opportunities [of 2024] lie in the breadth and depth of our portfolio that showcases multiple categories and speaks to an array of drinking occasions.

“From our luxury single malts under Glenfiddich and The Balvenie through to our premium crowd pleasers such as Hendrick’s and Monkey Shoulder and our cocktail enhancers with the De Kuyper range of liqueurs and schnapps, we are well placed for growth in 2024.”

Cocktail culture on the cards

Sully noted that consumers are continuing to develop their spirit repertoires, with cocktails set to drive spirit premiumisation this year.

“The resurgence of a cocktail culture through innovation in drinks is introducing people to new ways to drink and serve spirits… It is a huge growth opportunity for the industry,” he said.

This article was written by Brydie Allen and originally appeared in the 2024 Leaders Forum issue of National Liquor News.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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