First launched in the United States 10 years ago, Dubliner Cheese and Kerrygold Butter have seen double-digit growth every year since their launch, with Kerrygold now the number one imported butter brand.
However, the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) has had a presence in the USA since the 1980s when it was involved in sales of commodity powders and casein products into the food ingredient industry. In 1989, the IDB purchased a speciality foods distribution business, which it developed and grew by acquisitions into the DPI Group of companies, with a view to accessing the retail market with the Kerrygold brand range.
In 1990, Kerrygold was launched in the USA, primarily focused on cheese products, including cheddar, emmental and 'Blarney'. As in other markets, the platform for the Kerrygold brand has always been the quality, character and taste of its product range.
In 1998, Kerrygold USA appointed two full-time Irish merchandisers to conduct in-store demos and tastings for the launch of Dubliner cheese. The success of that launch and the winning combination of in-store tastings conducted by young, educated Irish natives has been the blueprint for the growth in sales.
Team members are based throughout California and the Pacific northwest, in Texas and the Midwest and all along the eastern seaboard, covering markets from Maine to Florida and the 28-strong team drives a fleet of Kerrygold VW Beetles to catch the consumers' attention.
The current focus is on educating American consumers about Irish and Kerrygold food history, through advertising campaigns in epicurean print magazines and sponsorship of the launch of Rachel Allen's TV cookery show Food for Family & Friends on the US Public Television Network.