Jameson becomes Supreme Brand Champion 2018

Innovation, bold marketing strategy and smart investment give Jameson an excellent position in the international spirits market

There’s no doubt: Irish whiskey is booming! Irish whiskey has made a comeback in recent decades and continues to cause excitement in the world of drinks. The market leader Jameson, the world's best-selling Irish whiskey, is lighting the way for the emerging Irish brands. Its market volume is impressive, and its steady growth in an increasingly competitive market was just one of many factors in awarding the brand the title of "Supreme Brand Champion 2018". The title was awarded by leading European drinks trade publication Spirits Business.

Innovation

Over the last 5-7 years, the focus has been on innovation – a decisive factor for Jameson's success. Last year, the Irish expanded their portfolio with the experimental Caskmates series. This is a triple distilled blended whiskey, finished in Irish craft beer barrels by the neighbouring Cork-based Franciscan Well Brewery. In addition to a Caskmates Scout Edition, there is already a new expression that has been finished in IPA-seasoned barrels – Irish Pale Ale. "We have established a very consistent approach to how we bring Jameson to market on a regular basis," says Simon Fay, international marketing director, Irish Distillers.

Investment

But it's not just innovative new releases that have led Jameson to attract new customers. The Jameson Visitor Centre in Dublin reopened last year after an investment of €11m under the new name of Jameson Distillery Bow Street. This place is steeped in history. The production of Jameson Irish whiskey began here in 1780, when the site was called Bow Street Distillery. In 1971, the distillery was closed and production moved to Midleton. The old buildings remained unused until they were converted into a visitor centre in 1997. "We have 300,000 people visiting annually," Fay continues. Many Dublin tourists come here to discover the history, heritage and family of the Jameson brand in a personalised and interactive way.

Irish whiskey on the rise

In 2014 there were only four whiskey distilleries in Ireland. Today, this number has risen to 18 and is expected to exceed 30 by 2020. According to Fay, the success of Irish brands clearly depends on quality. "We are absolutely focused on producing a high-quality product; that is critical." A look at the statistics suggests that Irish whiskey will continue to boom next year. This sector is the fastest growing category of spirits in the world and, according to the Irish Whiskey Association IWA, sold almost 120m bottles (10m nine-litre cases) in 2017. Forecasts predict that Irish whiskey sales will rise to 12m cases per year by 2020, and by a further 50% in the next 10 years.