Thursday, 8th of February 2018: Irish Distillers, Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, has today announced that Chairman and CEO, Jean-Christophe Coutures, will leave his current role to take up a new position as Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, the scotch whisky business of Pernod Ricard. Mr Coutures served as Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers since July 1st, 2016 and oversaw the continued growth of Irish whiskey on the world stage. He will be replaced by Conor McQuaid, who currently serves as EVP Global Business Development at Pernod Ricard. Mr McQuaid, who joined Irish Distillers as Regional Manager for Southern Europe in 1998, has worked across the Pernod Ricard group for almost 20 years and will take up the role as Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers on July 1st, 2018.
Commenting on the announcement and the performance of Irish Distillers’ half year results, Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and CEO said: At Irish Distillers we are incredibly proud to lead the sustained growth of an iconic Irish product that is truly loved the world over. As these results demonstrate, the great growth story of Irish whiskey continues, and I am very proud to have played my part in the continued success story that is Irish whiskey. I look forward to taking up my new role in London and relish the new challenge. I know that Conor will be a great ambassador for Irish whiskey on the world stage and I am honoured to be handing over the reins of such an incredible organisation at this important moment for our industry.
Jameson, which has been driving the growth of the category for the past 28 years, continues to thrive and is now in double or triple digit growth in 80 markets across the world. In the six months to the end of December 2017 we are growing value (12%) ahead of volume (11%) with all regions contributing to this success. While the growth has been driven by the USA, Europe, Africa and the Middle East we have also seen a particularly strong growth coming in the Asian and Latin American markets.
Consumers, particularly millennials, are showing signs of appreciating higher end and super premium products and at Irish Distillers we are well placed to meet this trend. Growth of our prestige range led by Redbreast and Midleton Very Rare, reflects the growing consumer appetite for premium Irish whiskeys, and the resurgence of the time-honoured single pot still Irish whiskey.
The Republic of Ireland Spirits market remains challenging with volume growth of +3.7% now outpacing value growth of +3.3%. Against this backdrop, our premium Spirits brands have recorded strong net sales growth during H1: Jameson (+ 5%), Powers (+11%), Prestige Irish whiskeys (+30%), premium vodka (+5%) and premium gin (+29%).
Irish whiskey tourism is another important part of the Irish whiskey story. In 2017 the number of tourists travelling to Ireland to visit Irish whiskey distillery centres increased by 11%. The reopening of Jameson Distillery Bow St. the original home of Jameson in March 2017, undoubtedly played a role in this growth. Our brand homes in Bow St., Dublin and Midleton, Cork will continue to support the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy target of trebling the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually, to 1.9 million by 2025.
It is important to note the global success of Irish whiskey is in danger of being undermined by developments in Ireland, most notably the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The unintended negative consequences from the advertising measures being proposed will undermine the industry’s ability to trial innovative new products in Ireland and prove that they are export ready. The labelling requirements will act as a severe barrier to entry for new companies and will also cause serious reputational damage to Ireland’s premium drinks products. The measures in the bill run the risk of needlessly endangering one of Ireland’s biggest export successes and damaging future innovation, job growth and economic contributions.
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About Irish Distillers
Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Led by Jameson, our brands are driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey. Jameson is the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey, experiencing 28 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of 6.5m cases in 2017. Our brands are exported to 130+ markets, with over 71 of those experiencing double- or triple-digit growth.
Irish Distillers was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and Cork Distilleries Company. In 1988 Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard, gaining access to unprecedented levels of investment and an extensive global distribution network. Since 2012, we have invested over 250m to double our production and bottling capacity to meet global demand for our products.
We employ over 600 people across our operations in Cork and Dublin.
About Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard is the world’s no.2 in wines and spirits with consolidated Sales of 9,010 million in FY17. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has undergone sustained development, based on both organic growth and acquisitions: Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005) and Vin&Sprit (2008). Pernod Ricard holds one of the most prestigious brand portfolios in the sector: Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Malibu liqueur, Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes, as well Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo and Kenwood wines. Pernod Ricard employs a workforce of approximately 18,500 people and operates through a decentralised organisation, with 6 Brand Companies and 86 Market Companies established in each key market. Pernod Ricard is strongly committed to a sustainable development policy and encourages responsible consumption. Pernod Ricard’s strategy and ambition are based on 3 key values that guide its expansion: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual trust and a strong sense of ethics.
Pernod Ricard is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI; ISIN code: FR0000120693) and is part of the CAC 40 index.