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Ground breaking deal opens UK market to world whisky producers

By Dominic Roskrow

I am delighted to announce a major new deal which will allow distillers from across the world to sell even single bottles of whisky directly to British consumer and trade customers, and to do so quickly and at a fair price.

I have teamed up with Glasgow-based Bondeau, a storage, logistics and distribution company, for the launch of a new initiative, which provides world distillers with the framework to access the United Kingdom market directly without incurring large costs.

The Bondeau deal ensures that the lion's share of the income generated from sales goes back to the distiller.

Indeed, Bondeau is not a retailer or conventional distributor, and the deal ensures that the lion's share of the income generated from sales goes back to the distiller. What we are offering is an alternative route to market which gives distillers control of where their whisky goes and at what price. It allows direct contact between distiller and customer and it will provide information that will help distillers understand what is happening with their whiskies.

My role is to source potential distilleries, to approach them about joining the scheme and to pretty much continue what I do now - promote and write about them, and take their whiskies to tastings.

The joint venture is a small part of an ambitious Bondeau business model which links the latest e-commerce technology with a large business network which includes large bonded warehouse space and full transport and distribution facilities.

Distillers will be invited to send stock to be kept under bond in Scotland, where they will retain ownership of it. But each distiller's sales website will be linked to Bondeau, and when out recognises a UK sale, the information is passed back to Scotland where the whisky is sent out through the company's distribution network. Duty is automatically calculated and paid directly to customs and excise, and after Bondeau's fee is deducted the rest of the money goes to the distiller.

From a personal point of view, I am delighted to be part of this business because after years of writing about new world whisky and taking it to tasting events, I will now be able to advise my readers and guests that they can buy it in the UK.

A key part of my role going forward will be to write tasting notes and background information and to continue to do what I am doing now.

World Whisky Review will now be linked closely but not exclusively with the new initiative, and there will be links with my other businesses such as my corporate tasting company, The Craft Distillers Alliance, my Wizards of Whisky World Whisky Awards and The Whisky Tasting Club, an online business which offers packs of five miniatures and which will be able to sell 'taster' packs.

All of this is a logical extension of what I have been doing for the last seven years and will accelerate the already growing interest in whisky from different parts of the world. I will also be offering a marketing, public relations and events service for organising tastings, launches and other events, which will be offered on an event by event basis or for a small monthly fee.

The new venture is ready to go, and as soon as distillers sign up they will be featured on the new business website.