Sales of Jameson break four million cases in six months
Chairman and chief executive of Irish Distillers to depart
Sales of Jameson Irish whiskey surpassed four million cases in the second half of last year, as the spirit recorded sales growth of 12pc year-on-year.
The whiskey is now experiencing double or triple digit growth in 80 markets across the world.
Outside of Ireland, Jameson products recorded growth in USA, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and particularly strong growth in the Asian and Latin American markets.
However, in Ireland the spirits market remains "challenging" for Irish Distillers, the company behind a number of well-known brands including Powers, Huzzar, and West Coast Cooler.
Volume growth in the Irish market increased by 3.7pc in the six month period, out-pacing value growth of 3.3pc.
The group’s premium spirits brands recorded strong net sales in Ireland during the six months to 31 December, with Powers recording sales growth of 11pc, Prestige Irish whiskeys recording sales growth of 30pc, while premium vodka and gin sales recorded sales growth of 5pc and 29pc respectively.
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The group used the trading update to announce the departure of its chairman and chief executive Jean-Christophe Coutures, who will leave his current role to take up a new position as chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers, the scotch whisky business of Pernod Ricard.
Mr Coutures is set to be replaced by Conor McQuaid, who is currently serving as Executive Vice President of the global business development arm at Pernod Ricard.
Mr McQuaid, who joined Irish Distillers in 1998, has worked across the Pernod Ricard group for almost 20 years, and will take up the role as chairman and chief executive in July.
"As these results demonstrate, the great growth story of Irish whiskey continues, and I am very proud to have played my part in the continued success story that is Irish whiskey," Mr Coutures, said.
"I know that Conor will be a great ambassador for Irish whiskey on the world stage and I am honoured to be handing over the reins of such an incredible organisation at this important moment for our industry," he continued.
The group noted the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which it said was creating a “danger” to the global success of Irish whiskey.
"The unintended negative consequences from the advertising measures being proposed will undermine the industry’s ability to trial innovative new products in Ireland and prove that they are export ready," Mr Coutures said.
In addition, he said that the labelling requirements would act as a severe barrier to entry for new companies, and would also cause, what he said was, serious reputational damage to Ireland’s premium drinks products.
"The measures in the bill run the risk of needlessly endangering one of Ireland’s biggest export successes and damaging future innovation, job growth and economic contributions."