By James Atkinson
Cooley owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands. Beam says the distillery currently sells approximately 250,000 nine-litre cases per year – divided among its brands, private label products and bulk sales to third-party customers – and has production capacity to support substantial future growth.
The deal could be unfortunate timing for Suntory Australia, which became Cooley's local distributor just a few months ago.
But Beam Global Oceania managing director Steve Inch told TheShout the local distribution arrangements are yet to be finalised.
"We are currently in the process of looking at our routes-to-market for the brands and will attempt to streamline and align with our existing distributor partners around the world," he said.
"The initial focus will be the US where the Irish Whiskey category is a critical market, but there is ample opportunity to drive additional case volume into new markets including potential areas in the Asia Pacific region where the brands already have a foothold."
Beam says the Australian appetite for Irish whiskey is fast-growing, with a 14.8 per cent increase over the last two years (source: Aztec).
"We are excited about this great opportunity to grow Cooley's Irish whiskey brands by putting our marketing and distribution muscle behind them," Inch said.