By Andy Young
Pernod Ricard has announced it is making a €10.5m ($14.1m) investment in Irish Distillers to increase its single pot Irish whiskey capacity by more than 30 per cent.
The new Midleton Distillery stills being delivered
The investment will see three copper pot stills, which were delivered last week, operational by June this year as the company looks to meet the ambitious growth targets of the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA). The IWA is eyeing global growth of around 300 per cent by 2030, by increasing exports to 12m cases by 2020 and then to 24m by 2030.
This follows a pattern of significant investment by Irish Distillers, with €120m ($170m) pumped into the Midleton Distillery since 2012. Additionally a €11m plan to redevelop the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin as a tourist destination was announced last year.
Irish Distillers’ chairman and CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures, said the investment will help meet the growing global demand for Irish whiskey, which is currently led by Jamesons.
“Irish whiskey continues to enjoy phenomenal global growth, led by Jameson with sales of 5.7m cases in 2016,” he said. “Irish Distillers has been driving the growth of the category since 1988, a commitment further underpinned by investments of over €230m since 2012. With this additional investment of over €10m at Midleton, the home of Irish whiskey, we will ensure that we are positioned to meet growing global demand and support the growth of Irish whiskey in the international spirits category.
“We are seeing growth accelerating across Jameson and the wider single pot still Irish whiskey range and we will continue to direct our focus for growth here. With our increased production capacity, we are confident that the category will hit the ambitious targets set by the Irish Whiskey Association – increasing exports to 12m cases by 2020 and 24m cases by 2030,”
Midleton Distillery’s general manager Paul Wickham added: “Single pot still Irish whiskey is the quintessential style of Irish whiskey which Irish Distillers saved from virtual extinction in the mid-1900s. Since then we have been investing to protect this traditional Irish whiskey and today’s announcement will help us grow Irish whiskey even further over the next 30 years and beyond.
“This investment will also see us increase our support for the wider Cork economy. All our barley comes from farms located within 100 miles of Midleton Distillery, supporting families who have produced barley for centuries. Using unmalted barley is a long-standing tradition of Irish whiskey and one which Irish Distillers continues, believing it contributes to the smooth characteristics of our products. At present, we spend €60m annually on cereals, energy, capital projects and payroll in the local economy and this will increase with the installation of these new stills."