Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Diageo's choice - profit before people

Yes, it's the nature of the beast. Nàdar na beiste rather than Airigh nam Beist. Diageo have just posted £2billion in profits. Sounds good except is was down slightly. The fact that they have made some $2 less than they did last year means that they have to 'rationalise'. And, what could be more rational than a whole raft of job losses?

I'm not a Diageo doomsayer. The nature of the beast is that we live in a more-or-less capitalist society with some socialist reins to make sure the beast doesn't eat everything. Diageo keeps open many small distilleries. But can it ever be justified to sacrifice hundreds of jobs and history in one fell swoop? Let's have the community buyouts.

Yet while Diageo is 'streamlining' in Kilmarnock, it is also unveiling a new Manager's Choice range of single-cask bottlings from it's range of distilleries. 'Good news' thought many when it was announced. Tasting some cask-strength drams straight from the tocasaid from the likes of Lagavulin, Inchgower and even Glenkinchie got many a mooth slavering. Then came the price tag. Between £200 and £300 per bottle!!! An ann às an rian a th'ad?! The Keepers of the Quaich, above, may be pleased but many of us plebes won't get a sniff at it. I can't see the Diageo stall at next year's Whisky Fringe handing out free drams of the Mason's Choice.

Fortunately, we also have 'Our Ane Choice'. So, it's down to places like the Scotch Malt Whisky Society vaults where a huge range of single-cask whiskies can be tasted before bought. The SMWS Vaults aint exactly a proletarian drinking-den along the lines of the Bothan Eoropaidh in Lewis but if you like serious whisky, it's the place to go. Therefore, i picked up one of their new Caol Ila bottlings (cask 53.131 'Turbuso Humo', 9yo, 67.9%) at a mere £38. Diageo will apparently release their Caol Ila manager's choice in March 2010 at a hefty £300. You do the sums.

1 comment:

naldo said...

Community buy outs are a great concept and i wish communities had more cash to fund them.

It's a shame we had so many distillery sell outs by the previous generation of owners and that such a creative and wonderul industry is now the plaything of a few huge and remote corporations.

Maybe future governments will do more to bring ownership closer to the people whose lives really depend on whisky. I hope so.