Jameson – ‘a key contributor to €1 billion export expansion’

As Irish food and drink exports approach a record €9 billion in 2011, the key contribution of Jameson Irish whiskey was recognised when it won the Bord Bia Food and Drink Export Award at the biennial Food & Drinks Industry Awards ceremony in Trinity College Dublin recently.

The iconic brand is set to reach four million cases in 2012.

Meanwhile, Irish Distillers and Pernod Ricard is investing over €100 million in Ireland over the coming three years to sustain Jameson’s rapid expansion.

Bord Bia Chairman Michael Carey told guests that exports had increased 12 per cent in the past year alone, adding that, “In spite of all the challenges we face – it is also probably the most exciting time ever to be in our industry. The increase in exports would be impressive at any time but against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty and our own domestic difficulties, it is truly remarkable”.

Michael Carey noted the success of whiskey and cider exports in particular.

Also speaking at the awards, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Mr Simon Coveney TD, described the Irish drinks industry as “shining a light ahead, even in very difficult times” in our efforts to increase Irish exports by 50 per cent by 2015.

“Irish Distillers has shown huge marketing commitment to Irish whiskey and its exceptional export performance is to be welcomed not only for the sustained double-digit growth in exports, but for the fact that it promotes the Irish identity in more than 120 countries around the world,” he stated, “It is proudly rooted in Irish heritage and tradition and its global reach provides a platform to build awareness and enhance the brand reputation of our entire food and drink industry, a key element of Food Harvest 2020”.

IDL employs 500 people and a further 280 jobs are to be created through the expansion of its Midleton distillery over the next four years. It sources 33,000 tonnes of Irish barley each year, supporting 11,000 acres of farmed land.

By the end of this year there will have been a 25 per cent growth in food exports since 2009, he said, adding that this was also because there had been a 26 per cent increase in world food prices “… and 30 per cent of this increase can be attributed to an increase in food export volumes”.

This growth in food exports had lead to wealth creation in the domestic economy. Food generates €24 billion for the Irish economy of which €22 million is sourced domestically, he stated.

Overall, 44 per cent of Irish exports are UK-bound while 34 per cent are bound for other EU destinations and 22 per cent for ex-Eu countries. For example, after the UK, Algeria is the second-largest market for our €40 million cheese export market.
In all, eight Irish companies were honoured at the Bord Bia awards ceremony which attracted over 220 senior representatives from the food and drink sector.

The evening also heard from Irial Finan, Executive Vice President of the Coca-Cola Company and President of Bottling Investments, who’s been with the company 29 years now.

He pointed out that companies represented at the awards employed some 130,000 people between them.
Like Bord Bia, Coca-Cola has a plan to 2020 which aims to increase what’s a $10 billion global operation at present into a $20 billion one by then.

But companies manufacturing and producing in Ireland should be aware of the unique advantage they hold.
“The products we’ve built here are valued throughout the world,” he said, “It’s our greatest asset, our heritage, our green island.”

He also suggested that we should embrace ‘discontent’.

“Be discontented every day,” he told guests, “Ireland will be a better place for it.”


Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free