Pernod Ricard to invest €10m in capacity at Midleton distillery

Pernod Ricard has announced a €10.5 million investment in increasing Irish Distillers’ single pot still Irish whiskey capacity by more than 30% 

Three copper pot stills are to be commissioned and operational by June 2017 as the company gears up for Irish whiskey industry growth estimated at 300% by 2030.

The company say the project will support 60 jobs during the construction phase at the Midleton distillery, just outside Cork.

Pernod says Irish whiskey is the fastest growing premium spirit in the world and Irish Distillers has invested heavily to drive this growth.

Since 2012, Irish Distillers has invested €120m in the Midleton Distillery, €20m at its Fox and Geese bottling facility in Dublin and is currently investing €100m at its Dungourney maturation site. In August 2016, the company also announced an €11m redevelopment project at the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield, Dublin to showcase the best of Irish whiskey to the 600,000 whiskey tourists that come to Ireland every year.

Irish Distillers’ chairman and CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures, said: “Irish whiskey continues to enjoy phenomenal global growth, led by Jameson with sales of 5.7m cases in 2016. Irish Distillers has been driving the growth of the category since 1988, a commitment further underpinned by investments of over €230m since 2012. With this additional investment of over €10m at Midleton, the home of Irish whiskey, we will ensure that we are positioned to meet growing global demand and support the growth of Irish whiskey in the international spirits category.

“We are seeing growth accelerating across Jameson and the wider single pot still Irish whiskey range and we will continue to direct our focus for growth here. With our increased production capacity, we are confident that the category will hit the ambitious targets set by the Irish Whiskey Association - increasing exports to 12m cases by 2020 and 24m cases by 2030,” said Coutures.

Midleton Distillery’s general manager Paul Wickham said: “Single pot still Irish whiskey is the quintessential style of Irish whiskey which Irish Distillers saved from virtual extinction in the mid-1900s. Since then we have been investing to protect this traditional Irish whiskey and today’s announcement will help us grow Irish whiskey even further over the next 30 years and beyond.

“This investment will also see us increase our support for the wider Cork economy. All our barley comes from farms located within 100 miles of Midleton Distillery, supporting families who have produced barley for centuries. Using unmalted barley is a long-standing tradition of Irish whiskey and one which Irish Distillers continues, believing it contributes to the smooth characteristics of our products. At present, we spend €60m annually on cereals, energy, capital projects and payroll in the local economy and this will increase with the installation of these new stills,” said Wickham.

The company says the three copper pot stills, handmade by coppersmiths Forsyth’s of Scotland and weighing a combined 24 tonnes, were delivered to Midleton Distillery this week. Installation has now commenced and the stills will be operational by June 2017.