Unlocking maximum category value with a winning portfolio strategy

Our challenge.

In 1998, Bacardi acquired the Dewars portfolio of blended and single malt whiskys from Diageo. When demand for single-malts exploded in the mid to late 2000s, Bacardi saw an opportunity to re-launch and grow their malt brands.

The brands they inherited were under-leveraged. They lacked identity and purpose, and needed a home in a very fragmented market. And to compound the challenge: Bacardi were completely new to single malt whisky, so they came to us for a winning portfolio strategy.


To deliver their ambitious growth targets, the portfolio strategy would have to:

Simplify the competitive landscape to ensure each brand had a distinct and ownable consumer space to occupy

Uncover the current and future value spaces in the market to ensure each malt had a future-proofed commercial target

To do this, we built a Growth Map of the whisky category around the key drivers of choice and by overlaying category spend, forecasted growth and competitor activity, we prioritised 5 sizeable, growing and largely uncontested opportunity spaces, one for each of the lead malts.

Together, these spaces offered Bacardi comprehensive coverage across the category, whilst targeting individual need-states, to encourage cross-portfolio collecting among consumers, critical for growing market share.

Taking each opportunity in turn, we identified the drivers of differentiation and critical success factors and translated these into strategic guidelines for activation across channel, packaging and retail.

The strategy was embedded in the insight, brand and leadership teams to ensure consistency of language and implementation.

A huge amount of thought has gone into the personality of each distillery character, and this is reflected in the stunning packaging and storytelling that accompanies each one. Give them a warm applause.

Annabel Meikle, The Whisky Belle


In a highly fragmented and complicated category, and from having no presence in single malt whisky, the newly launched portfolio achieved double-digit market share in travel retail.

“The single malts have performed above expectation where they have been introduced and gained high single digit share of malts. What has been encouraging is that we have achieved strong initial impact and consistent sales growth. And that is because many have entered the “˜second stage of luxury’ we talk about, where they want to show they know about malts and about luxury, and because we have a good story to tell."

Mike Birch, Managing Director, Bacardi Global Travel Retail