Wednesday, 2nd September 2020: Irish Distillers, producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, has today announced results for the 2019/2020 financial year (ending 30th June). The results show the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting uncertainty in markets in the latter half of the financial year, while also demonstrating Jameson’s resilience globally.
Overall, Jameson experienced a small decline in value growth (-1%), as COVID-19 restrictions suppressed growth in the second half of the year. Despite COVID-19, Jameson recorded solid growth in key markets including South Africa (+1%), Russia (+1%), UK (+9%), Ireland (+2%), Australia (+17%) and Germany (+30%). Jameson continued to attract new consumers in key emerging markets with double- or triple-digit growth achieved in Nigeria (+163%), China (+48%), India (+25%) and Japan (+16%). Within the broader Jameson family, Jameson Black Barrel posted impressive growth of +16 percent globally.
Conor McQuaid, Chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers, said: “We had a very strong start to the financial year, with sales of Jameson Irish whiskey growing by +9% in the first half of the year. The brand had its busiest December ever, selling 940,000 cases globally. But like many others around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our business. We saw growth slow in some markets – and in cases like global travel retail, come to a relative halt in the second half of the year. However, despite that, Jameson achieved growth in over 50 markets, including key markets like South Africa, Russia, the UK and Ireland, and experienced solid growth in emerging markets including Nigeria and China.”
“Growth across our super premium whiskeys was led by Redbreast (+14%) and Midleton (+15%). Interest in our single pot still range has been growing year on year, with our portfolio leading the way in establishing the category with knowledgeable whiskey drinkers globally.
“Innovation remains at the heart of everything we do, and the team in Midleton Distillery continued to push the boundaries in 2020. In February, we launched the first of our Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection. A collection of six releases, the first release was a 45-year-old Irish single malt. There will be one release annually until 2025, ranging in age from 45 to 50 years old, all from the Old Midleton Distillery (operating 1825-1975). The last release will coincide with the Old Midleton Distillery’s 200th birthday. We also added a new permanent expression to the Redbreast family with the launch of Redbreast 27.”
The ready-to-drink (RTD) trend continued in 2019/2020 with value growth of Jameson RTD up by 31% compared to the previous year, driven by strong growth in Australia (+28%) and Canada (+307%).
“The growth in the RTD category shows the direction of consumer trends – the desire for innovation and convenience. Jameson Cold Brew, a combination of Jameson Irish whiskey and cold brew coffee, was piloted in Ireland initially and then officially launched in the US in January. Despite the impact of COVID-19, this new release has gotten off to a fast start with a fantastic consumer reaction,” he added. “There is no doubt that this is a challenging business environment, however, we know from history that the Irish whiskey industry has proven itself to be very resilient. Having experienced a remarkable decade of export-led growth, we remain confident in Jameson’s ability to bounce back and continue its growth trajectory. The priority over the coming months will be the health and safety of our employees as we look to effectively navigate the current environment. We continue to be positive about the future and the undoubted better times ahead” he concluded.