On-trade spirits sales up 1.4%

For the first time in a number of years on-trade spirits sales rose by 1.4% in the year to June 2015, reversing a 6% decline last year, according to a statement from Irish Distillers, released to co-incide with the annual results of parent company Pernod Ricard for 2014/15.

This small growth in on-trade spirits sales is put down largely to a strong tourist trade however the total spirits market in Ireland declined by 3.2% in the 12 months to the end of June, driven by a 5.2% decline in the off-trade, it states.

Internationally, Jameson whiskey continued to grow sales for the 26th year in a row, experiencing double- and triple-digit growth in 53 of its 130-plus markets worldwide.

Having recently doubled its capacity, IDL expects to have to re-double its capacity in the coming years to meet global demand for its products.

With sales of 5.1 million cases, net global sales of Jameson were up 10% in value on a 9% rise in volume.

The sustained progress of Jameson within the Pernod Ricard family of priority brands has been one of the group’s most eminent success stories, stated IDL’s Chairman and Chief Executive Anna Malmhake.

“As one of Ireland’s thriving exports, Jameson is playing a key role in the export-led recovery of the Irish economy as we continue to embrace this progress by honouring our heritage while also delivering new and innovative expressions of Irish whiskey.

“However in stark contrast to this growth and optimism for our export markets, the outlook for our industry here in Ireland is extremely concerning,” she again warned, “The penal excise increases on alcohol accumulated since 2013 endanger the export success of indigenous products such as Irish whiskey as well as the 92,000 jobs being supported by the drinks industry in every county throughout Ireland.

“In fact Ireland is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy Irish whiskey. A tourist visiting from New York has to pay almost €15 more when purchasing a bottle in Ireland than in New York,” she stated, “We regularly receive queries from visitors wondering why it’s so expensive to buy Jameson here. One has to ask, how sustainable is the current international growth of Irish whiskey without a solid local market in which to support home-grown brands as well as new market entrants.

“The price of alcohol in Ireland is now the highest in the EU at 178% of the EU average (Eurostat) however this has only served to damage the industry and increase costs for responsible drinkers doing little to address misuse. The industry is acutely aware of the need to act on Ireland’s complex societal relationship with alcohol, however I would urge the government to, first of all, reverse the excise increase from Budget 2014 in order to ensure the future commercial viability of drinks-related enterprises in Ireland and secondly seek to tackle the serious issue of alcohol misuse with targeted measures such as addressing deeply discounted alcohol prices and employing evidence-based solutions.”

Parent company Pernod Ricard achieved sales of €8.6 billion, showing organic growth of 2% on reported growth of 8% but it suffered a 14% drop in net profits to €880 million.

Organic profit from recurring operations at Pernod Ricard rose by 2% organically (9% reported).

This growth is put down to strong sales of whiskeys and Champagnes.

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