The Four Companies Behind Whisky

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While there may have been a rise in independent distilleries in recent years, the majority of Scotch brands are still owned by only FOUR companies.

This means that a whopping ¾ of all Scotch is made and distributed by these four companies alone.

Here we take a closer look at these companies and give you an idea of just how much of the Whisky industry they own.

Diageo (Market Share Value 2015 – 36%)

Diageo are by far the biggest company on the list with an incredible 36% market share.  As well as owning Whisky brands such as Johnnie Walker, Haig and Lagavulin, they also own a number of other beverages such as Guinness, Captain Morgan Rum and Gordon’s Gin, to name but a few.  The company was first formed in 1997 when Guinness and Grand Metropolitan merged.  As well as having such a huge market share, they also oversee about 1/3 of all whisky production in Scotland.  They own distilleries such as Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Mortlach, Caol Ila, Dufftown and Oban, again, naming only a few.  Scotch Whisky has become one of their main focuses after announcing a £1 billion investment in the industry in 2012, to be stretched across the following five five years, and that investment continues to grow.

Pernod Ricard (Market Share 2015 – 19%)

While not owning quite as much as Diageo, French company PernodRicard still have an impressive hand in the Whisky market.  Together with Diageo, these two companies own around 55% of the Scotch Whisky market.  This is unsurprising considering Pernod Ricard bought Seagrams’ distilled beverages division all the way back in 2000.  This gave them a massive boost in their market share as well as all the distilleries previously owned by Chivas Brothers.  Like Diageo they own other drinks brands, including Havana Rum and Beefeater Gin.  They also own some of the biggest names in the Scotch industry, including The GlenlivetBallantine’s and Aberlour.

William Grant & Sons (Market Share 2015 – 7%)

While William Grant & Sons do not own a massive portion of the Whisky industry, they certainly have more of a claim to it.  They are the only company here that is still family run and entirely Scottish.  That’s not to say that they don’t own other types of drinks, since they do, including Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum.  But they have a great connection with their roots and still own many distilleries that were originally started by William Grant himself, including Glenfiddich and The Balvenie.

Bacardi (Market Share 2015 – 6%)

Barcardi may be known for their Rum, but they also have a good share in the Whisky market.  This stems from their buy over of John Dewar & Sons in 1998, which gave them control of five distilleries including Aberfeldy and Royal Brackla.  In recent years they have moved closer into the single malt market, with the release of their Craigellachie, Royal Brackla, Aultmore, Deveron and Aberfeldy brands as single malts, which has seen great success.  Since their release they have won a host of awards, including two of the top gongs in world whisky going to Craigellachie 23 and Craigellachie 31. This could be the start of a further push from Bacardi to gain a larger share of the market…

Tags: BacardiDiageoPernodRicardWhiskyWilliam Grant & Sons
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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