Stateways Jan-Feb 2013

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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Irish Spirits Express Indeed, Irish whiskey remains the fastest-growing category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). Volume was up 24% to 1.7 million cases nationally in 2011 (the last full year for which statistics are available), according to DISCUS. "2011 was a solid year for Irish whiskey and 2012 looks to be the same," said DISCUS President Peter Cressy at the industry's annual briefing. Driving much of that growth, as it has for the past several years, is Jameson. The category leader was up 28.7% nationally in 2011, according to Beverage Information Group's Liquor Handbook 2012 [In the control states, Jameson sales increased by 23.2%.] Jameson sales continue to grow significantly in the U.S., increasing nearly 30% annually in recent years; its Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel is a step up from the original and has been doing well, the company says. Growth continues on the fast track, and everyone's jumping on for the ride. By Thomas Henry Strenk A ll aboard. The Irish spirits segment is following many different tracks. For years, the big story out of Ireland has been the double-digit increases in the whiskey category. That phenomenal growth shows no signs of slowing down, agree all the major players. That momentum has spurred many new developments, including a new major player, distillery expansions, tourism, additional expressions, packaging changes, re-launches, and even a new category of liquid. That's the Ticket "W hiskey has a lot of cache right now, whether it's American, Scotch or Irish," says Yvonne Briese, marketing director for Diageo North American Whisky and Irish. Diageo's internal projections show Bushmills and the Irish whiskey category continuing to grow at the same high rate over the next few years. "We aren't seeing signs that growth is slowing down; there is still a lot of upside in this category," notes Briese. StateWays I I January/February 2013 "Jameson has been driving a lot of the growth; in fact, in 2011, we drove about 86% of the category growth," explains Wayne Hartunian, vice president of Whiskies and Cognac for Pernod Ricard USA. "The pace of growth is accelerating, and I feel there is a huge amount of additional upside still for Irish whiskey and Jameson in particular." New Kid on the Block J oining the Irish market is Beam Inc., with its purchase last January of the Cooley Distillery, the last independent Irish producer. That acquisition included the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands, as well as aging inventory and Cooley's malt and grain distilleries in Dundalk and Kilbeggan, Ireland. Still to be seen is what this new major player's impact will be upon the market. "[Beam's entry into the category] is an encouraging development for Irish whiskey overall, and we are looking forward to the challenge," says Ken Reilly, Category Marketing Director who oversees Tullamore Dew for William Grant & Sons. "I believe Beam will bring its Agame to Irish whiskey, which will force us as competitors to think about every dollar we spend and how we differentiate ourselves." 19

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