Kyndal, the whisky company formed by the management buy-out of the Scotch whisky interests of Jim Beam Brands (MW October 25, 2001), is linking up with Indian drinks company Shaw Wallace to launch the latter’s Royal Challenge whisky in Europe.
Shaw Wallace already sells the brand elsewhere in the world, but it cannot legally call it Scotch whisky in the European Union because it is not made exclusively from grain and produced in Scotland.
In the US, Royal Challenge is referred to as “American blended whisky”, and is made from various spirits including some distilled from molasses.
No one from Kyndal was available to comment, but it is understood that the company’s management is meeting Shaw Wallace representatives this week in Scotland. Kyndal and Shaw Wallace announced a marketing tie-up three months ago, and the Indian company now distributes Kyndal’s Whyte & Mackay in India.
Meanwhile, Shaw Wallace is one of four companies understood to have bid for Diageo’s Indian whisky business. Diageo is selling its Gilbey’s Scotch brand and Indian manufacturing plant. Other bidders apparently include a management team, Indian company UB Group and Bacardi-Radico Khaitan.
Matters could be further complicated as South African Breweries is understood to be interested in buying as much as 49 per cent of Shaw Wallace. Negotiations are understood to have been under way for the past year.