Fred Laing has taken total control of Douglas Laing & Co, the independent whisky blender and bottler, and the business his father Fred Douglas Laing established in 1948. The news follows the decision by Fred and brother Stewart, who have run the company for the past 40 years, to go their separate ways.
The assets of Douglas Laing & Co have been split between the two brothers. Stock, brands and other functions of the business have been divided, giving both brothers equal value. Stewart retains Old Malt Cask, the Old & Rare Selection, Douglas (of Drumlanrig) range of Single Malts, Douglas Blend, House Of Peers, Sovereign Single Grain and John Player Special blend as well as the bottling facility in East Kilbride and the name of his company is Hunter Laing & Co. Fred will continue to head up Douglas Laing & Co, while Stewart has launched a new company, Hunter Laing & Co.
Douglas Laing, under Fred, will continue to offer their Single Cask Provenance range, Director’s Cut, Double Barrel, Premier Barrel, Clan Denny Malts and Grains, Epicurean Blend, the King Of Scots range, McGibbon’s and Big Peat.
In a joint statement, the brothers said, “The Scotch whisky industry is in great shape at the moment and this presents each of us with the perfect opportunity to diversify and explore different projects with the next generation of our families.
“As drinkers around the world expand their whisky repertoire and seek out new flavours, the opportunities for niche players will flourish. Our commitment is to creating a solid business for the next generation of our families and the business structures now in place allow us to capitalise on the opportunities the market place provides for their long-term benefit.”
Fred will continue to hand-select all of Douglas Laing’s casks as well as writing the tasting notes in conjunction with Malt Ambassador, Jan Beckers. Fred has also retained other key members of the original Douglas Laing team, including Finance Director Alick Bisset plus Head of Logistics Archie Hamilton and Head of Production Stephen Gardiner who cumulatively bring more than 50 years experience with the company. The 12 strong Douglas Laing team will be expanded on in the coming months with several senior new appointments.
The first of which has already been revealed, Fred’s daughter, Cara, has joined the company as Head of Brand Marketing. She was formerly at Morrison Bowmore Distillers where she led both Bowmore and Glen Garioch Single Malts as Marketing Manager, to take up this role. Specialising in brand strategy and innovation, Cara was previously Global Brand Manager of Jura and also worked on Dalmore Single Malt at Whyte and Mackay.
The two now plan to develop fresh, innovative, new brands for Douglas Laing. The first of these new brands – a premium Single Cask range – for the company is expected to be unveiled in September. Most recently Fred created and launched the Big Peat brand; a modern, quirky Islay malt with a big personality that continues to grow YOY, out-performing the Malt category. It has also won numerous awards, most recently stealing the show at the ISW International Spirits Awards 2013, to win ‘Grand Gold’.