Irish Distillers, which owns the Jameson Whiskey brand, released full-year financial results this morning.
It said Jameson sales rose by 14% in value and 12% in volume terms in the 12 months to June, with the whiskey now in double or triple-digit growth in more than 80 markets across the world.
Chairman and Chief Executive of Irish Distillers Conor McQuaid said the company saw a strong performance in its key markets “including the US, Russia, and South Africa and encouragingly starting to see some emerging marketing coming to the table.
“We’re really, really happy with the performance and specifically in terms of innovation, Caskmates – one of our premium innovations – has started to deliver 300,000 cases to the franchise.”
Jameson has seen exponential growth over the past year with 7.3 million cases sold, up from 500,000 cases during the mid-90s.
We’ve also seen a surge in the number of distilleries opening across Ireland.
On potential bubble fears in the sector, Mr McQuaid said: “Pernod Ricard has committed to the category and invested heavily since we joined the PR family in 1988, so that’s a sustained investment that we have placed behind the category in a belief in the Irish whiskey category.
“It’s great to see other distilleries come on stream and join the opportunity that Irish whiskey represents. We’re still, at a global level, relatively small versus our Scottish and American cousins.
“Some 9% of the total Scotch whisky sales globally is all that Irish whiskey represents – so the headroom is definitely there for the category, and I think a rising tide should hopefully lift all boats.
“I wouldn’t share the concern there’s a bubble in the category.”
Media reports yesterday suggested Irish Distillers might be opening up a new distillery to cope with increasing demand.
The company’s head said there are “definitively no plans in place at the moment. I think the speculation with regard to a new distillery is somewhat premature. That said, it’s the perennial challenge of every distillery to wonder and plan for the future as to how demand will be met.
“With a brand that’s growing as fast as Jameson, the opportunity is clearly there for us to continue that momentum,” Mr McQuaid added.
On the alcohol bill, which is working its way through the Oireachtas at the moment, the Irish Distillers CEO said: “Obviously we will comply with and respect fully what comes through” from the bill.
“That said, I would be mindful we are seeing a renaissance in the Irish whiskey category and much of that is driven by the tourism as people come and experience Irish whiskey here in Ireland and it’s important that they get a superlative experience when they do so.
“Irish whiskey tourism currently accounts for about 600,000 visitors and there’s a target within the Irish Whiskey Association to take that to 1.9m visitors.”
Reference: RTE News