Business Irish

Thursday 22 February 2018

Boss hits out at Irish excise as Jameson ships 5.7m cases

Anna Malmhake left as chief executive to head up Absolut
Anna Malmhake left as chief executive to head up Absolut
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Jameson owners Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard shipped 5.7m cases of Jameson whiskey last year as the company reported strong growth across the board.

Over the last 12 months Jameson sales increased by 12pc in volume and 16pc in value as the brand continued its 27-year streak of consecutive growth.

The Irish whiskey has continued to grow in importance for its parent Pernod Ricard, which also has the likes of Absolut vodka, Beefeater, and Malibu under its control.

Jameson now represents 23pc of the company's total sales in the US with word of mouth and brand awareness a big factor in its popularity across the Atlantic.

Earlier in the year Irish Distillers reduced its Irish whiskey portfolio through the sale of Paddy to US firm Sazerac.

The spirits market overall here expanded by 3pc in value terms with on-trade sales increasing by 2pc nationally.

The company's Irish whiskey portfolio dominated the market here last year, making up 83pc of total Irish whiskey sales.

Irish Distillers chairman Jean-Christophe Coutures said the firm has seen the global whiskey renaissance continue "with gusto".

"Here at home we're proud to see our Irish whiskey sales growing due to a combination of increased tourism and also a growth in the cocktail market," Mr Coutures said.

"Ireland's emerging appreciation for cocktails is seeing our products mixed creatively by Ireland's bartenders to serve up something new and different for consumers and we applaud this," he said.

Irish Distillers employs around 600 people in Ireland across its bases in Cork and Dublin.

Despite the strong growth of the firm's brands, Mr Coutures said the home market is still proving problematic due to the economic climate here.

"Ireland has the third highest excise rates on spirits in Europe. It is damaging to our reputation that an American tourist can buy a bottle of Jameson in the US for almost half the price of the same bottle in Ireland, the home of Irish whiskey," he said.

The firm's tourism business improved by 4pc last year with 421,000 visits to its centres.

During the year Irish Distillers lost its chief executive, Anna Malmhake, who moved on to head up the Absolut vodka company.

Mr Coutures succeeded Ms Malmhake in February where he moved from his role as chief executive of Pernod Ricard's Winemakers.

Irish Independent

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