Tullamore Dew owner spends €25m to boost distilling operations in Offaly
Tullamore Dew owner William Grant & Sons has put €25m into its distilling operation in the Offaly town this year as it seeks to drive sales.
The company is expecting to sell just under 1.2 million cases this year, compared to 840,000 three years ago.
William Grant has thus far spent €100m on bringing the whiskey production back to Tullamore after buying the brand from C&C. It also owns Glenfiddich, Drambuie and Hendrick's Gin.
Around 80 people are employed at the distillery and William Grant's global brand director, Caspar MacRae, has told the Sunday Independent that he expects that to grow in coming years.
"We think there's huge headroom for growth for Irish whiskey and Tullamore Dew specifically worldwide," MacRae said.
"I think Irish whiskey is central to a broader whiskey renaissance that we've seen over the last 10 years or so. Whiskey is a category, whether you're talking about scotch, Irish or American, that, broadly speaking, is doing extremely well.
"In 2014, we invested about €35m in the site in Tullamore and that was really to build the pot still and the malt distillery on site.
"But the evolution of that is that this year we've invested about another €25m in distilling capabilities in the site to build the grain distillery."
Tullamore Dew is a blend of three different types of whiskey; malt, grain and still.
MacRae said Tullamore Dew was growing at a double-digit rate in the United States, the number-one market for the whiskey, which lags only Jameson in the Irish whiskey category worldwide.
"We still perform really well in very important European markets like Germany, Czechia and increasingly Poland, where the consumers are developing a real appetite for Tullamore Dew.
"Beyond that, we look to EMEA and specifically Africa."
MacRae said there was an increasing trend of "premiumisation" in the industry, whereby consumers are consuming slightly less whiskey but switching to more expensive brands.
He explained that growth in the category was also helped by a revival of classic cocktails with whiskey as a base, which started in major metropolitan centres like London and New York and then spread out from there.
"We're seeing a lot more innovation in whiskey than we've ever seen before. People are really trying to do things that are very different to capture consumer interest because there is a lot of competition," he added.
Sunday Indo Business