Saturday 16 February 2008

Weekly Whiskey Miscellany


Bushmills 1608 (John Hansell) and Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (John Hansell, Bill Dowd).

Irish whiskey volumes still growing fast

The two giants in the Irish whiskey business, Diageo and Pernod-Ricard, released interim half-year results recently. Sales of Bushmills (Diageo) rose 9% (according to The Irish Times business section on Friday; I couldn't find mention of this on Diageo's site).

Sales of Jameson were up 16%, in volume terms, and 23% in value terms, reflecting Pernod-Ricard's successful strategy to "premiumise" Jameson (i.e. persuade consumers that Jameson is a quality drink that is worth paying a little more for).

Jameson now sells 2.3m case equivalents per year (a case equivalent is nine litres of spirit). Pernod-Ricard aims to shift 3m c/e by 2010.

We also learned from the Jameson results that Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirit category globally (9.6%). Compare that to malt whiskey (5.2%, presumably excluding Irish malt whiskey) and blended Scotch (4%).

Of course the usual caveat applies: Irish whiskey is growing off a relatively small base.