Business Irish

Thursday 18 September 2014

Jameson exports soar but spirits dip at home

Published 29/08/2014 | 02:30

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An employee passes American oak barrels containing Jameson whiskey, produced by Irish Distillers Ltd., at the Pernod-Ricard SA distillery in Midleton, Co Cork

Irish Distillers' successful Jameson brand is powering ahead in export markets including the US, but the industry is slowing at home.

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Sales of Jameson reached 4.7 million cases in the full year 2013-2014, the company said. That is 9pc higher than the previous year, both globally and in the US, its biggest single market. By price, the gain was 12pc.

However, the company said sales of all spirits are down 11.5pc in the home market.

Pub sales, the so-called "on" trade, is down 6pc and off-trade sales have declined by 13.9pc in terms of volume, Irish Distillers said, citing research from Neilson.

"The sustained progress of Jameson within the Pernod Ricard family of brands has been one of the group's most eminent success stories, growing from 466,000 cases when Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard in 1988, to approaching 5 million cases in 2014," Irish Distillers chairman and chief executive Anna Malmhake said.

But she warned that Ireland is now one of the most expensive countries in the world in which to buy Irish spirits.

"The penal excise increases on alcohol accumulated in the last two budgets endanger the export success of indigenous products such as Irish whiskey as well as the 92,000 jobs being supported by the drinks industry in every county throughout Ireland," she said.

Meanwhile Pernod Ricard, which owns Irish Distillers, said it plans to cut 900 jobs globally to cut costs following a slump in demand from China.

But the world's second-largest distiller said the Chinese market is improving following a 23pc slump in sales in the last fiscal year.

International drinks brands were hit last year by a clampdown in China on corporate gift giving and entertainment of government officials.

"The flavor of the start of this year seems better" in China, CEO Pierre Pringuet said.

Irish Independent

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