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Jameson hits 10m cases and eyes 15m by 2030

Irish whiskey brand Jameson surpassed 10 million nine-litre cases in the 12 months to 30 June 2022, and is targeting 15m cases by 2030.

Jameson remains the world’s leading Irish whiskey brand

Jameson officially broke through the 10m-case mark in March this year, Brendan Buckley, international marketing director at Jameson owner Irish Distillers, told The Spirits Business.

Buckley noted a number of reasons for the brand’s growth spurt. Following a “slight blip” during the Covid-19 pandemic – Jameson volume sales dropped during 2020, according to The Brand Champions 2021 report – the brand has since experienced a “strong” rebound.

“The close of the on-premise drove a lot of the initial flattening of sales but obviously people adapted very quickly to socialising at home, treating themselves at home, so we saw a definite change in what they were drinking, definite premiumisation,” Buckley said.

“Jameson benefitted from that – Jameson Black Barrel absolutely exploded over the last two years.

“And then, since Covid has begun to unwind and the on-premise has opened back up, we’ve seen the balance of the on-premise coming back. We’ve heard of things like ‘revenge travel’ and ‘revenge socialising’. But some of those at-home entertaining habits stuck, so you’ve got strong activity in the on-premise and off-premise.”

Market-wise, Buckley cited the US as “very strong” for the brand.

“We’re just shy of 4.5m cases in the US,” he noted.

New growth markets: Nigeria and India

Two markets that have “really accelerated” for Jameson Irish whiskey are Nigeria and India, which sit in the brand’s top-10 markets worldwide.

“They’ve been part of our long-term strategy. As we stride towards our next milestone, which is by 2030 we want to be at 15m cases, that would require some of our new growth markets to come on stream.

“Nigeria and India were not overnight; we’ve been investing in those markets for several years now, and we are beginning to see the results materialise. Nigeria is our second largest market in that part of the world now.

“India will be, in my view, our second [largest] market by 2030 after the USA.”

If the 150% import tax on alcohol brands is lifted before this, Buckley said this could come about sooner than expected.

The 15m-case goal will also need the global travel retail channel to “get back up to where it once was and more”, he added.

‘Big investment’ plans in Latin America

“We’re clearly on a strong trajectory to becoming a truly global brand,” Buckley said. “It’ll mean other markets coming on stream.

“In Latin America, we’re not strong, but we’ve got big investment plans going into markets like Brazil and, in due course, Mexico – two big whisk(e)y markets where we’re not present really.

“The headroom for growth, when you map whisk(e)y around the world, there are still a lot of dark spots for us where we haven’t really yet made in-roads, like Sub-Saharan Africa, where we’re already at a million cases.

“We’re pretty much, along with Johnnie Walker, the number-one whisk(e)y brand in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. So we’ve been doing that for years but we need to do a similar job now in Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

Jameson was crowned World Whisky Brand Champion in this year’s Brand Champions report.

These were the world’s biggest-selling world whisky brands by volume in 2021, spanning Ireland, the US, Canada and Japan.

During a trip to the Midleton Distillery earlier this month, SB sat down with actor, comic and Jameson ambassador Aisling Bea to chat comedy, favourite memories and whiskey.

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