Playboys' playboy with a taste for Scotch whisky COLIN DONALD
WHAT would Mr Whyte and Mr Mackay have thought? When in 1844 the Glasgow merchants formed their docklands whisky blending business, the idea of it passing into the hands of a bejewelled Indian multi-millionaire for £595 million would have occasioned the stiffest of nips.
Even in the globalised world of a century and a half later Dr Vijay Mallya's entrance into the conservative universe of Scotch is a seismic event.
Not because the industry is unused to foreign-owned production of our national spirit - Whyte & Mackay was sold on by a South African after all, and other owners are French, Thai and Trinidadian - but because the Scotch industry has never seen anyone with ambitions on the scale of Vijay Mallya.
For the definitively flamboyant, and controversial businessman-politician, listed by Forbes Magazine as the world's 746th richest man, Scotland's fourth-biggest Scotch producer is a crucial stepping stone in the construction of a dominant global drinks giant.
Already the fastest-growing and third-biggest spirits group in the world, Mallya's United Spirits is well placed to hitch a ride on the explosion in "aspirational" consumption in the future mega-markets of India and China. India, which imports only 500,000 cases of Scotch a year, is estimated to have the thirst to absorb 3 million of them. Vijay Mallya intends that a major proportion are Whyte & Mackay brands.
Full at: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=764862007
-- My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty. - Jorge Louis Borges