Pernod-Ricard starts Irish whiskey initiative

Pernod Ricard-owned Irish Distillers is aiming to attract younger drinkers to its Black Bush and Bushmills Irish Whiskey brands with the appointment of integrated agency Beeching Dowell Stubbs.

The agency will develop an international communication strategy, and is also understood to be planning a TV ad campaign.

Former Allied Domecq scotch whisky marketer Martin Riley is leading the marketing drive. Riley joined Irish Distillers as international marketing and sales director last October.

Irish Distillers, which produces the flagship Jameson brand, hopes to broaden the two brands’ appeal in international markets.

“Irish whiskies are among the few whiskies currently experiencing growth,” says Derek Irvine, international marketing manager at Bushmills.

“They’re seen as different in the international market, and are considered by younger consumers as having novelty value. Also, because they are triple distilled, they are more digestible and as such appeal to a younger market,” he adds.

Mintel research shows that the blended scotch sector is suffering from an ageing consumer base, while Irish whiskey is becoming increasingly fashionable, mirroring a trend for Irish beers and pubs.

The main markets for Bushmills and Black Bush include the UK, US, France, the Netherlands and the duty free sector.

Beeching Dowell Stubbs has been appointed to look at a number of international projects, such as retail initiatives, after the proposed abolition of duty free sales in June next year.

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