GLOBAL sales of Jameson Irish Whiskey grew by 9% in volume terms and 12% in value in the last year, with the Irish Government’s 20% cut in excise taxes helping domestic sales.
The brand was one of the strongest performers for French drinks giant, Pernod Ricard – which ultimately owns it, via its ownership of Irish Distillers – in its latest financial year, to the end of June.
In all, 2.92 million cases of Jameson were sold during the period in question, with double digit growth evident in 24 of the 100 or so markets in which it is sold.
Sales of the product were especially strong in Britain, the US, France, South Africa, Russia, Portugal and Canada.
Jameson also grew its share in the Irish spirits market.
However, regarding its home market, Irish Distillers said that the economy here “remains mired in an unprecedented economic downturn, which is having a very negative effect on consumer confidence and, consequently, the performance of the drinks industry”.
However, while the relevant spirits and wine sub-sector of the drinks industry particularly suffered from the increases in cross-border shopping in Ireland, the Government’s “very welcome” 20% cut in excise taxes “had the effect of repatriating a significant portion of cross border purchases in the retail sector,” according to Irish Distillers. “Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard’s spirits portfolio suffered in this very fragile and difficult market, although it did benefit from the reduction in cross-border shopping and gained share in the very competitive and growing off-trade sector.”
Irish Distillers chief executive, Alexandre Ricard, said Jameson remains on course to become one of the world’s elite spirits brands in the next 10 years. “The figures speak for themselves. Jameson sold 466,000 cases in 1988, when Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard.
“In 1996, the one million case milestone was achieved. Ten years later in 2006, sales doubled to two million cases. The next milestone for Jameson is to sell three million cases, which will be achieved in the coming months – in addition to the achievement of selling one million cases in the US.”
A pivotal part of that growth will be the establishment of a warehousing and maturation facility at Dungourney, Co Cork, which is still awaiting planning permission.
“The continued success of Jameson – and our plans for its future – firmly establish the brand as one of Ireland’s great export successes, with 95% of volumes exported to over 100 countries around the world,” said Mr Ricard.
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