Independent Irish whiskey supplier renews calls for market restructure



Andre Levy, Chairman of Protégé International, which supplies The Wild Geese Irish whiskey, has renewed his calls for a restructuring of the Irish whiskey market following the publication of Pernod Ricard’s annual results.

Commenting on the growth that the French liquor giant has experienced in the sales of Irish whiskey, led by its Jameson brand, Levy said: “The growth enjoyed by Pernod Ricard with regard to Irish whiskey is not at all surprising when we look at the existing market structure. This structure favors large dominant players, and jeopardizes the future of smaller brands that are expected to grow the category globally outside of Jameson.”

 Levy continued: “We have called for the development of a wholesale bulk Irish whiskey market to democratize the market and realize the future global growth potential of the sector. This market structure has driven the global success of Scotch whisky. Pernod Ricard, who are active participants in the Scotch whisky wholesale market, are a great example of a market player that has achieved successful growth within a functioning and progressive bulk whisky market structure.”

 Levy noted that operating a similar structure in Ireland would enable small and independent Irish whiskey brands to access a secure mature supply and not be reliant upon dominant players such as Pernod Ricard. “The reality is, however, that larger players are not willing to open the market up to smaller brands, actively controlling the sector and choosing to selectively supply one another to maintain their dominance and status quo.”

 Levy said the economic case for a wholesale bulk Irish whiskey market has been illustrated by Dr Pat Massey and has been called for by the Irish Whiskey Association in its ‘Vision for Irish Whiskey’.

 “The development of independent brands will drive the popularity of the category, ultimately benefiting all market participants, regardless of size,” he said. “We are therefore calling on the Irish Government to act on the recommendations of the Irish Whiskey Association vision to enable all players the opportunity to experience the growth and success of Pernod Ricard and other larger market players.”