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Pernod GTR: digital-first approach to Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey must focus on providing digital-first experiences to attract Gen Z and Millennial travellers to the category, Jameson owner Pernod Ricard has advised.

Pernod GTR
Standing out: Jameson Taste House at Dublin Airport

Liya Zhang, Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail, vice-president of marketing, told The Spirits Business last month (April) that the future of e-commerce in global travel retail (GTR) will depend on digital and in-store experiences complementing one another.

“We believe that e-commerce is essential to the continued recovery and growth of the channel,” Zhang said. “As younger travellers make up a growing share of passengers post-pandemic, the industry must focus on providing digital-first experiences that merge online and offline worlds for Gen Z and Millennials.

“Rather than e-commerce becoming the future of the channel, our ambition is to blend e-commerce and in-store experiences to create a ‘phygital’ approach that is both omnichannel and profoundly 360.”

Zhang added how Jameson, the world’s leading Irish whiskey brand, was in a “strong position” to turn Irish whiskey into a “truly global category”.

“While we do have key market focuses, we believe there is a great opportunity to make Irish whiskey a truly global category led by Jameson,” noted Zhang. “We are in a strong position to expand in this area, having seen growth in the category across all regions globally.

“This has been driven in part by strong channel recovery in the Americas, particularly through our cruise business, as well as Western Europe, which has contributed significantly.”

Outside of Europe, Zhang highlighted increased demand for Pernod Ricard-owned Jameson in India.

“In fact, the brand has now grown by triple digits in the domestic market fiscal year to date and this is projected to continue accelerating,” she said. “We will also step up our presence in Southeast Asia to meet emerging demand, as well as plan for the opportunity and accelerating interest in our prestige offering in the wider Asia region.”

Record-selling year for Jameson
Pernod GTR
GTR-exclusive: Jameson Triple Triple

Jameson Irish whiskey looks set to continue its upward trajectory, according to Zhang. The brand is on track to break the 10-million nine-litre-case mark in 2022.

GTR-exclusive Jameson Triple Triple has given the brand a boost, Zhang also noted, “and is now the second biggest expression in the range”.

“As the leading Irish whiskey, we are seeing continued momentum behind our iconic Jameson, as the love for both the brand and liquid is adopted around the world,” Zhang said. “Now ranked as the ninth premium spirit globally and reaching the 10m case mark in 2022, Jameson is a key focus for us within the category.

“We also have an extensive portfolio of specialty premium Irish brands, including Redbreast and Midleton, which we plan to expand selectively working with strategic partners to elevate the prestige retail offering.”

In the coming year, there are plans to expand Jameson’s GTR offerings, and further bolster the brand’s growth.

“We are excited to share our innovation pipeline with our retail partners,” Zhang said. “These will be showcased both in our Taste House at Dublin Airport and further afield, with a focus on expanding our ultra-premium and prestige segments.

“Importantly, we will also retain a special focus on exclusive and limited editions in our brand home of Dublin, where we know there is an ever-evolving appetite for newness.”

Zhang added: “We know that Jameson evokes a sense of home for consumers and continues to make for a friendly travel partner as consumers reconnect by travelling across the globe. Additionally, as whiskey shoppers increasingly explore more premium offerings, our prestige collection is poised to showcase the incredible quality of the Irish whiskey category.”

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