Whisky Focus - Billy Walker Consortium Set To Buy Glenallachie Distillery

Billy Walker Consortium Set To Buy Glenallachie Distillery

27th July 2017
The future looks good for Glenallachie as Pernod Ricard agree its sale to a Billy Walker lead consortium.

Pernod Ricard, owners of the little known Glenallachie distillery have signed an agreement to sell the Speyside distillery to a three person consortium lead by the former BenRiach Distillery Company managing director Billy Walker.

Billy Walker is a familiar name to Scotch whisky enthusiasts, Billy has been involved in the Scotch whisky industry for over 40 years. With a degree in chemistry Billy has been involved in most aspects of the production of Scotch whisky, having spent time at Ballantine's, Inver House Distillers and Burn Stewart. More recently he was instrumental in establishing and building the BenRiach Distillery Company prior to its sale in 2016.

Joining Billy in the three person consortium is Graham Stevenson, a Chartered Accountant who has spent almost 30 years in the Scotch whisky industry. He initially joined the North British Distillery Company in Edinburgh before moving to Inver House Distillers in 1994. He has remained there for the past 23 years, most of that time as managing director.

Trisha Savage the third person in the consortium has over 30 yearsí experience in the Scotch whisky industry. Starting at Burn Stewart she has worked closely with Billy throughout her career and was also instrumental in establishing and building the BenRiach Distillery Company.

The transaction includes not only the Glenallachie single malt brand but also MacNairís and White Heather blended scotch brands and importantly the relevant inventories to support future development of those brands.

Pernod Ricard say that the sale is "in line with their strategy to focus on their priority spirits and wines brands and to adjust its industrial footprint to its needs".

The completion of the sale of the Glenallachie distillery to the Glenallachie Consortium is subject to customary conditions and is expected to take place before the end of 2017.

The Glenallachie distillery has long been a feeder distillery for the Chivas Brothers blends, in my experience of some independent bottlings it is typically a light bodied whisky, sweet and a little fruity. Historically it was rated as 2nd Class by blenders and almost all of the whisky produced at Glenallachie went into the Chivas Brothers blends.

Currently there is only one official bottling of Glenallachie single malt whisky readily available for whisky drinkers, the young, easy drinking Glenallachie Distillery Edition which certainly demonstrates that there is potential for the whisky produced at Glenallachie. If matured in quality casks for the the right length of time I suspect we could see some good stuff from Glenallachie in the future.

I don't know exactly when the sale to the Glenallachie Consortium will be completed but I would think that it will take some time for Billy to assess the maturing stock before we see any releases and hopefully a core range from Glenallachie some time in the future and no doubt some older vintage single cask bottlings that he may find in the dark corners of the Glenallachie warehouses.

I would predict by this time next year Billy would have given us something from Glenallachie to talk about, meanwhile you will find the Glenallachie Distillery Edition and a few independent bottlings available
from specialist online whisky shops such as Master of Malt

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