Jameson sales at a record high with 5.8m cases sold in its first half

Irish Distillers’ owner Pernod Ricard optimistic on full-year earnings after strong start

A record 5.8 million cases of Jameson were sold in the first half of its financial year, up 22 per cent on the same period in 2020.

Irish Distillers’ flagship product recorded volume growth in a number of key regions, including the all-important US market where sales jumped 8 per cent.

Sales of Jameson Black Barrel meanwhile rose 35 per cent globally.

Irish Distillers’ “prestige” portfolio, which includes Redbreast, also performed strongly. Sales of Redbreast grew at a record first-half rate of 19 per cent. The Spot range was up 7 per cent.


Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey in the world, selling 8.6 million cases last year. The Irish Times reported earlier this week that whiskey sales rebounded strongly in the US last year, rising 16.3 per cent or $185 million, to a record $1.3 billion (€1.1 billion).

Irish Distillers' owner Pernod Ricard, which also reported figures on Thursday, said it was more optimistic about its outlook for fiscal year 2022 after strong demand in the US, China and Europe helped the spirits maker beat first-half profit and sales forecasts, lifting its shares by over 3 per cent.

Pernod Ricard, which also owns Martell cognac, Mumm champagne and Absolut vodka, said it now expected “strong” sales growth in its 2022 fiscal year, which ends on June 30th, despite potential disruptions tied to the Covid-19 virus.

Previously it had guided for “good” sales growth.

The world’s second-biggest spirits group said sales growth would drive operating margin expansion, although this would moderate from the first half due to increased investments.

Sales growth

Resilient consumption by people staying at home, the reopening of bars and restaurants, and a gradual recovery in travel retail would fuel sales growth across regions, it said.

Chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard said, however, that it was too early to make a quantitative guidance for sales or profit growth in fiscal 2022.

The strong first half reflected a 9 per cent jump in sales in the US, Pernod’s top market, with growth driven by Jameson. In China, sales growth was 14 per cent with very good demand during the mid-autumn festival.

With recurring free cash flow of €1.4 billion as of the end of December, Pernod Ricard also increased its share buyback programme by €250 million in the first half.

Shares in Pernod Ricard, which have slipped 9 per cent this year after rising 35 per cent in 2021, were up 3 per cent in morning trade.– Additional reporting: Reuters

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist