WGS pours marketing into single malt whisky segment

William Grant & Sons (WGS), an independent family-owned distiller, is focusing on Thailand as a key market in Asean after enjoying rapid sales growth here the past three years.

``Thailand has great potential as a whisky market, particularly for single malt, as it's the top sales market in Asean, followed by Malaysia and Indonesia,'' said Marcus Low, regional marketing services manager at WGS.

Single malt whisky is a rising star after the growth of blended whisky has been stable for three years.

WGS will market its Glenfiddich single malt whisky to attract more Thai consumers, who love to socialise with friends, he said.

Sales growth the past three years for Glenfiddich averaged 18% without marketing, so the brand is quite popular in Thailand.

Mr Low said the company will conduct more social media and event marketing to strengthen whisky sales. It aims for 18% sales growth in Thailand this year.

Last year's alcohol excise tax increase (based on alcohol content) is not expected to affect WGS sales because its target market is premium customers who can afford the higher price.

WGS has been operating in Thailand for 30 years and Italasia Co is its local distributor.

Mr Low said the decision to utilise aggressive marketing for the first time in three decades is the result of a good local economy and higher purchasing power for Thais.

He is confident single malt whisky will command a larger share of the overall whisky market in five years.

Glenfiddich is No.2 among single malt whisky brands in Thailand, and it aims to be the leader in two to three years.

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Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn