Sunday, February 19, 2017

Diageo's Roe & Co. will be latest brand in Irish whiskey boom

The Irish whiskey scene, emboldened by improved domestic legislation and a major infusion of capital funding, is on a major growth spurt.

For generations, four distilleries -- Cooley, Bushmills, Kilbeggan and Midleton, the home of Jameson -- produced the vast majority of Irish whiskies. Now, there are 32 distilleries in operation or being built in Ireland. And, that means many new labels coming to market.

The latest example is from the beverage giant Diageo, the owner of Guinness. It has just announced it will be launching a new premium blended Irish whiskey named Roe & Co. Initially, it will be released across Europe in March, with the U.S. market being added on a schedule to be announced.

Diageo said it plans to invest as much as $27 million into this project over the next three years. This includes the construction of a new distillery in 2019 near its Guinness Brewery at St. James’ Gate in Dublin. The proposed site for the new distillery is the former Guinness Power House, a short distance from the brewery at St. James' Gate close to the old George Roe distillery from which the new whiskey derives its name.

Until the new distillery is constructed, Roe & Co. will be produced by blending different whiskies from various distilleries throughout Ireland, sourced by its master blender Caroline Martin.

In a statement, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said, "Irish whiskey is experiencing a renaissance and is truly an Irish success story. It is seeing a return to the success it experienced in its golden era in the 19th Century and is now the fastest growing spirit drink in the world with global sales increasing by over 300% and record exports of over €400,000,000 ($424,580,000) in the last 10 years."
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