Pernod Ricard plans to increase the price of Irish whiskey brand Jameson in the coming months.

The decision to introduce the price hike comes on the back of Pernod's purchase of Scotch whisky brand Ballantine's from Allied Domecq last year.

Speaking to just-drinks yesterday (6 December), Michael Cunningham, regional manager for Jameson in travel retail and South Africa, confirmed the plans and hailed the arrival of Ballantine's as making it "easier" for Jameson to focus on growing value as much as growing volume.

"With the arrival of an international leading Scotch blend (into the Pernod portfolio), it actually makes it easier for us to communicate where we want to go and what we want to achieve," Cunningham said.

"As a decentralised group, one of the things you have to do for your brand is give it a unique and understandable place within the group portfolio, that it is not in conflict with any other group brand and that you have a very specific target audience that is different from other group brands."

Cunningham said that the company will be raising the price of Jameson in its markets on a gradual scale. "We want to see a widening of the gap between the retail price of Jameson and the retail price of standard Scotch," he continued. "This was happening naturally anyway, because there is downward pressure on the retail pricing of standard Scotch. Even though standard Scotch is feeling the pressure to push down, we're pushing up."

Although Cunningham was unable to give specific dates or increase amounts, he did say that the Jameson's aspirations would be "somewhere between 25% and 35% above premium standard Scotch".

When asked if the arrival of Ballantine's into the Pernod stable had made things tougher for Jameson, Cunningham said: "No, it has complemented it [Jameson's position] because it has made it easier for us to articulate exactly where we are in the portfolio and what we want.

"For us, the value of Jameson is becoming more important almost than the volume, and that's something that has coincided with the expansion of the Pernod portfolio."