Two business ladies, Scotch Whisky and an Asian adventure
15PL Ltd is promoting whisky in Asia’s most promising markets
Whiskydo interviews Leigh McGrotty and Dea Macleod, two Scots with a whisky mission and a passion for travel, about their Asian initiative.
Tell us something about yourself. How did you get into the whisky industry?
Leigh: Well, my background is actually in spirits branding and Dea was previously involved in Marketing & Hospitality.
Two best friends, proud Scots with a passion for whisky and travel. We were fascinated by the appetite and appreciation for whisky in Asia. Things got started for us initially in Malaysia, when we were invited to host a prestigious Whisky Tasting in Kuala Lumpur.
You’re working in the Far East as consultants. We’d like to know more about your company and its mission.
Leigh: We established 15PL Ltd initially as a Whisky promotion company. Our concept was to create a promotional solution for some of Scotland’s independent brands or emerging distilleries who had a desire to trade in Asia.
The business got started in 2014 when we aligned with The Whisky Ambassador Programme to deliver their accredited course in Asia. We got started in Malaysia firstly, then Hong Kong and have further expanded into territories like Macau and Taipei.
We believe that whisky education is a form of promotion in new markets and we have had a lot of interest and success.
Over the past 5 years we have been working with clients such as DFS Duty Free and have been helping to promote some of Scotland’s most exciting distilleries, such as Arbikie Highland Distillers.
Asia is a big market for whisky. What are the numbers behind it and the market forecasts?
Dea: The Asian Whisky market is massive.
Every year the SWA publish figures on growing markets such as Taiwan, but what really interests us is the market variables, and identifying new trends. For example Taiwan is such an exciting market for independent bottling, whilst Hong Kong is widely respected as a vibrant promotional market to showcase premium Scottish Whisky brands. Hong Kong is a fantastic whisky destination with a fantastic bar and festival scene.
How is your work organised?
Dea: We are a relatively small consultancy, so we do have to carefully balance work and travel commitments. We are a Scottish company based in Fife, so our time in Scotland is focused on our distillery projects and we also operate Whisky Tours for Asian visitors.
Our Asian adventures are generally focused on promotion and education and we are lucky to work with renowned trainers, such as Eddie Nara in Hong Kong, who manages our Whisky Ambassador Programme in the region.
Our business model is built on solid partnerships and this helps us to manage our opportunities.
We really enjoy travelling and Asia is an exciting market to operate within. We love the culture, the people and it’s an honour to promote Scotland in a glass with every dram we pour.