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Pernod Sets Out Global Ambitions For Jameson, Looking To Double Sales By 2020

June 16, 2014

With Jameson Irish whiskey continuing to soar in the U.S. and globally, brand owner Pernod Ricard is doubling down on the brand, announcing its intention to double Jameson’s sales to €1 billion ($1.4b) by 2020. Setting down that marker, Pernod Ricard head of brands Thierry Billot also told Bloomberg today that the longer-term aim is for Jameson to eventually have as wide a global reach as Jack Daniel’s.

While Pernod’s goals for Jameson are clearly ambitious, they’re not unrealistic, given the brand’s track record. According to Impact Databank, Jameson reached 4.6 million cases globally last year on growth of 14%, capping a three-year period in which it expanded by 1.4 million cases, or 44%. Taking a longer view, Jameson has more than doubled in global volume since 2006, when it was at 2.2 million cases. Moreover, that performance was achieved despite a limited presence for the brand to date in key whisk(e)y markets like China, India and Brazil—all areas where Pernod has powerful distribution platforms in place.

Even as it eyes significant global expansion, Jameson still has much room to grow in the U.S., where its popularity among millennials in the on-premise will likely propel it past the 2-million-case mark this year. Jameson’s U.S. depletions rose 16% to 1.9 million cases last year. Since 2010, the brand has added 820,000 cases in U.S. volume. To help buttress growth, Pernod has lately invested €200 million ($271m) in Jameson’s distilling and aging facilities.

As Pernod Ricard USA president and CEO Bryan Fry told SND earlier this year, “When it comes to Irish whiskey, and more specifically Jameson, there’s so much talk of ‘when’s it going to be finished?’ When you compare Irish whiskey to other whiskies—Scotch, Bourbon, Canadian—it’s still quite small in this market. We believe strongly in the Irish category, and feel there’s no reason why it can’t be as big as those others. While Jameson has had good growth, it’s still very small compared to a brand like Jack Daniel’s (which sold nearly 5 million cases in the U.S. in 2013, and 11.5 million cases globally). So we still have a long way to go.”

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