For the Fred Laing interview a microphone in front of a laptop with whisky bottles on the screen

This week on GreatDrams Radio, (no longer available) a show co-hosted by Human Research and Greg Dillon from GreatDrams, we dip into the world of Independent Bottling.

We interview the whisky industry legend that is Fred Laing of Douglas Laing about all things whisky, independent bottlers, and his fantastic business. One of our favourite whisky companies, and people, not to be missed.

Hey Fred, please tell us about yourself and whats going on with Douglas Laing? 

We’re an independent bottler but conversely, we’re a hybrid. We come from a blending background. Next year we celebrate our 70th anniversary.

Although independent bottlers is how we’re seen by many, I think a lot of other people see us as bonafide blenders, more famed for our blended whisky than other brands we specialise in.

In fairness how we found ourselves in the single cask business, our market for our 25 and 30 year blends, packed in ceramic decanters for duty free international markets dried up in the late 90’s. We had great stocks of whisky, and there were plenty of other single cask guys in the industry.

But in order to change stock into cash we moved into single casks around the early 2000’s. So in terms in Old Particular, and the younger range we released under the provenance label, we are strong in that area.

And what about Big Peat? 

Big Peat is big in Islay we released it in 2009. We had some fun trying to kill of some excess, which is a contradiction in terms.

We put a fun label together, expected to sell out in 12 months, we sold out in 2 and we discovered we had something quite cool on our hands.

Some people don’t like the packaging they see it as too cartoony, but we like it. We’re biased but we like it.


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