Distiller warns that new laws could hit whiskey sales

Distiller warns that new laws could hit whiskey sales
Tommy Keane, production director, in one of the Maturing buildings, in the Midleton Distillery plant, Midleton, County Cork.Picture: Denis Scannell

A SENIOR figure at Midleton Distillery has warned about the potentially damaging impact of proposed new alcohol laws on Irish whiskey sales.

Production Director of Irish Distillers Limited (IDL) Tommy Keane said Irish whiskeys are under threat from proposals to put health warnings on the bottles as part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

“The issue for us is Jameson is a premium brand and it is acknowledged as such. This would be the first country to put the type of health warnings on the bottle that are being proposed. This would put us at a huge disadvantage to global brands,” he said.

“For example, if you have one of our brands in Duty-Free, visitors will pick up that brand and bring it overseas, which is quite significant business for us. On the shelf, you have global brands lined up next to our bottles which have health warnings on them. It gives the impression that there is something inferior, that there is an additional health warning that is not on other brands.

“It is a huge threat to our growth and the equity of our brand.”

Mr Keane was speaking after the latest figures revealed that sales of Jameson Irish Whiskey surpassed four million cases in the second half of 2017.

The Production Director also said the whiskey is now experiencing double or triple digit growth in 80 markets across the world, with record growth in Asia and Latin America.

The company, which has been focusing strongly on progressing as a global market, said the growth was down to the unwavering determination of outgoing chairman and chief executive Jean-Christophe Coutures.

“Mr Coutures has a single-minded focus around launching Jameson as a global brand, spreading the base and making it more stable,” said Mr Keane.

Mr Keane also said the new Chief Executive Conor McQuaid will be an excellent asset to the growth momentum built up by his predecessor.

“Mr McQuaid, who has been with the Pernod Ricard group since 1998, will be taking up his new position in July.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content