Saturday 20 July 2019

Irish whiskey measures up McGregor

Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor launching his Proper No Twelve Whiskey, the name of which has been called into question
Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor launching his Proper No Twelve Whiskey, the name of which has been called into question

Samantha McCaughren, Business Editor

Concerns have been raised with the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) over whether the name of MMA star Conor McGregor's whiskey Proper No Twelve might be interpreted as being a 12-year-old whiskey. It is understood that a committee of the IWA has been looking at the issue for some time and research has been carried out into consumer perception of the brand.

Proper No Twelve has been one of the most successful ever spirit launches in the drinks industry. It is named after Dublin 12 where McGregor grew up.

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The IWA declined to comment on queries from the Sunday Independent in relation to Proper No Twelve.

"We do not publicly comment on any questions in relation to possible complaints or referrals," said the organisation in a statement. "We do work to ensure Irish whiskey brands are in compliance with the laws governing Irish whiskey and in particular, with the recently published FSAI labelling guidelines."

It said the association is committed "to protecting the good name of Irish whiskey by ensuring the implementation of the rules as provided for in laws governing the labelling of Irish whiskey."

This mainly relates to the Irish whiskey technical file, EU regulation on spirits and food labelling and Irish statutory guidelines, it said.

"Where we have concerns about a label, or where we receive queries or complaints we deal with the matter in accordance with our own agreed internal procedures. We assess and evaluate each individual query or complaint confidentially, impartially and objectively; and we take the necessary steps to address any infringing brands."

Efforts to contact Proper No Twelve for comment were unsuccessful.

Some industry insiders are very supportive of McGregor's whiskey believing it will bring new customers into the category. However it may impact on the growth of other brands. Edward Mundy, analyst with Jefferies, suggested a slowdown of growth in Jameson could be partly due to Proper No Twelve and other new entrants.

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