Whyte & Mackay

Whyte & Mackay is a company producing alcoholic beverages. It was founded in 1844 and is based in Glasgow, Scotland. Whyte & Mackay is now owned by Philippines-based Emperador Inc. (a subsidiary of the Alliance Global Group holding company).

Whyte & Mackay Ltd
HeadquartersGlasgow, Scotland, UK
Key people
Andrew Lim Tan (Chairman)
ProductsScotch Whiskies , Liqueurs, and Vodkas
OwnerEmperador Inc.
Number of employees

Whyte & Mackay's self-branded whisky holds about 3 per cent of the UK whisky market.[1]


Whyte and Mackay bottles

Charles Mackay (1850–1919) and James Whyte founded a company as whisky merchants and bonded warehousemen in Glasgow in 1882. W&M Special was their first blended whisky and it was successful in the United Kingdom and other English speaking countries. After World War II the company focused on the home market and now sell more than 1 million cases a year.

The brand was purchased by Hugh Fraser's SUITS group in 1971.[2] SUITS was acquired by Lonrho in 1981 and subsequently Whyte & Mackay was sold to Brent Walker in 1988 and then to American Brands in 1990, which was renamed as Fortune Brands in 1997. In 2001 Fortune Brands sold Whyte & Mackay to its management for £208 million[1] in a deal part-financed by brothers Robert Tchenguiz and Vincent Tchenguiz and brother-in-law Vivian Imerman and a £190 million loan from German investment bank WestLB. Initially chairman then CEO, Imerman instituted an aggressive cost-cutting programme[3] and bought out 60 shareholder employees[3] before, in 2005, purchasing the remaining interests in the firm with the Tchenguiz brothers. In 2007, they sold the company to Indian-based United Spirits Limited for £595 million (then, USD 1.2 billion).[3][4][5][1]

In August 2013, key members of United Spirits Limited (USL), the subsidiary of United Breweries that owned Whyte & Mackay, resigned from positions at Whyte & Mackay in the wake of the purchase of a controlling share of USL by Diageo, including USL Chairman Vijay Mallya, Whyte & Mackay CEO John Beard, and director Ayani Nedungadi.[6][7][8] Regulators in the UK are investigating whether to force United to divest itself of Whyte & Mackay due to anti-trust concerns over Diageo's dominant position in Scotch whisky production.[7][8] On 16 September 2013, Whyte & Mackay appointed Bryan Donaghey as its new CEO. Donaghey formerly served as managing director of Diageo for Scotland and prior to Diageo held posts within the Scotch Whisky Association.[9]

Since 31 October 2014, Whyte & Mackay has been owned by Philippines-based Emperador Inc. (a subsidiary of the Alliance Global Group holding company), after being sold by the India-based United Spirits Ltd for £430m.[10]

United States

In October 2011, Whyte & Mackay formed an import company in the U.S.—Whyte & Mackay Americas—to handle its portfolio in the U.S. market with products including the Jura, The Dalmore, Cluny, John Barr, Glen Salen, Whyte & Mackay and Mackinlay’s whisky brands, as well as Glayva Liqueur, Snow Leopard and Pinky vodkas in the U.S. The company appointed former Bacardi executive Jorge Gutierrez as president of Whyte & Mackay Americas.[11][12] In July 2013, Gutierrez left Whyte & Mackay Americas to become CEO of Voli Vodka.[13][14][15] In September 2013, Whyte & Mackay appointed alcoholic beverage specialist Park Street to provide importing, back-office and enterprise resource planning services for its Whyte & Mackay Americas unit.[16][17][18]


Master blender Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay

The company sells Single Malt and Blended Scotch whiskies, Liqueurs, and Vodkas. Their brands include the W&M blends;[19] Dalmore, Jura, and Fettercairn single malts; Glayva liqueur; and Vladivar Vodka.

In August 2010, it was reported that Whyte & Mackay would replicate a supply of whisky discovered in Antarctica from a 1907 expedition of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton's supplies.[20] The 11 bottles of whisky recovered were of the Mackinlay brand, and Whyte and Mackay now oversee those distilleries.

On 14 October 2010, Whyte & Mackay sold two bottles of their 64-year-old Dalmore Trinitas malt whisky for £100,000 each.[21] According to the master distiller, only three bottles of this whisky were ever made, and it cannot be made again.


In 2006, Whyte & Mackay whisky was entered in the 2006 World Quality Awards, organized by Monde Selection, and awarded a Gold Quality Award.[22]

In 2009, 30-year-old Whyte & Mackay whisky was voted the best blended whisky in the world in two competitions.[23]

In 2011, Whyte and Mackay whisky won International Wine & Spirits Competition Gold - Best in Class

In 2012, White and Mackay whisky won San Francisco Spirits Competition 2012 Gold medal

In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Whyte and Mackay whisky won Wine & Spirits Competition Gold medal

In 2018 and 2020 White and Mackay whisky won International Spirits Challenge Gold Medal

Former sports sponsorship

Whyte & Mackay were sponsors of the English football team Leeds United from 2003 to 2006. The brand also formerly sponsored Edinburgh club Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League, the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, the PDC Premier League Darts and the Force India Formula One racing team.

As treasure

Bottles of Whyte & Mackay were recovered by underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence from the shipwreck of the SS Regina, which had been sunk in Lake Huron in 1913. A People magazine article that told of the recovery, had a picture of Spence on the bow of the salvage boat hoisting a full bottle of Whyte and Mackay.[24]


  1. "UK | Scotland | Whisky giant sold to billionaire". BBC News. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  2. "Default". Whyteandmackay.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ES Magazine: The grapes of wrath" by Mark Hollingsworth
  4. Herald Scotland: "Imerman eyes a bid for Whyte & Mackay" by Greig Cameron 30 November 2013
  5. The Independent: "Vivian Imerman eyes Whyte & Mackay acquisition as Diageo agrees to sell over competition concerns" by Simon Neville 29 November 2013
  6. Millar, R., Mallya Quits Whyte & Mackay Board, The Drinks Business, 12 August 2013.
  7. Daily Briefs for 12 August 2013, Shanken News Daily, 12 August 2013.
  8. Vass, S., Surprise as tycoon Mallya quits Whyte & Mackay board, Herald Scotland, 11 August 2013.
  9. Hopkins, Amy, Ex-Diageo Boss Appointed Whyte & Mackay CEO, The Spirits Business, 19 September 2013.
  10. "Philippines firm Emperador buys Whyte & Mackay for £430m". BBC News. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  11. Whyte & Mackay Creates New Unit To Handle Portfolio In U.S., Shanken News Daily, 3 October 2011.
  12. Wehring, Olly, UK/US: Whyte & Mackay calls time on Shaw-Ross International US import tie-up, Just-Drinks, 4 October 2011.
  13. Daily Briefs for 24 July 2013, Shanken News Daily, 24 July 2013.
  14. Wilmore, James, US: Voli Vodka bags Whyte & Mackay exec as CEO, Just-Drinks, 6 August 2013.
  15. Gutierrez and Strader Lead New Voli Strategy, The Beverage Journal, 3 September 2013.
  16. Daily Briefs for 10 September 2013, Shanken News Daily, 10 September 2013.
  17. Whyte & Mackay, part of Diageo-controlled United Spirits Ltd., making moves in the U.S., Park Street News, 11 September 2013.
  18. Whyte & Mackay Selects Park Street, MarketWatch, 10 September 2013.
  19. Whyte & Mackay product-range[dead link]
  20. Archived 16 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  21. "Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post". Aolnews.com. 24 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  22. usl. "Awards". Unitedspirits.in. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  23. "Default". Themasterblender.com. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  24. Briggs-Bunting, Jane, and Ned Geeslin, "Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Mumm!" People, 16 November 1987, pp. 143-145