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Jameson owner seeks to avoid financial hangover as US tariffs threaten to dampen booming sales

Conor McQuaid, Chief Executive and Chairman, Irish Distillers

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Conor McQuaid, CEO and chairman of Irish Distillers, is braced for the possibility of US tariffs and tougher alcohol laws here. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Conor McQuaid, CEO and chairman of Irish Distillers, is braced for the possibility of US tariffs and tougher alcohol laws here. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Conor McQuaid, CEO and chairman of Irish Distillers, is braced for the possibility of US tariffs and tougher alcohol laws here. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Pernod Ricard boss Alexandre Ricard had some salient advice for Conor McQuaid when the Dundalk native took over as CEO and chairman of its Irish Distillers subsidiary in 2018: "There's a standing joke that every time he offers this job, he just gives one objective, which is 'don't f**k it up'."

And it's also little wonder the top brass in Paris keep such a watchful eye on the Irish operation. In the course of just over a decade, Irish Distillers' Jameson has become a global heavyweight.

Somewhat astonishingly, given its long-time role as a wallflower in the international spirits trade, it's now the second-biggest profit contributor for Pernod Ricard after its Martell brandy.