Roe & Co marks Diageos reentry into the Irish whiskey category

Roe & Co marks Diageo's reentry into the Irish whiskey category

Diageo is to return to the Irish whiskey category with a new brand and a distillery in the country's capital, as revealed by just-drinks late last week.

On Friday, just-drinks reported that the group will launch an Irish whiskey in the coming weeks, two years after it exited the category through its divestment of Bushmills to Casa Cuervo. This morning, Diageo released details of Roe & Co, a 45% abv blend of no-age statement Irish malt and grain whiskies that has been aged in Bourbon casks, and a EUR25m (US$26.7m) investment in a new facility in Dublin.

The brand, which Diageo said it has been working on for 18 months, takes its name from the George Roe & Co distillery in Dublin, which closed in 1926. While Diageo said Roe & Co has no links to the original distillery, it declined to disclose who it had bought the brand name from, or where the liquid is sourced from, saying only it is blended from facilities "across the island of Ireland".

Retailing in the UK at GBP30 (US$37.60) per 70cl bottle, next month's launch will initially be limited to European cities including Dublin, London, Madrid, Berlin and Stockholm. Diageo has no immediate plans to roll out Roe & Co to the US.

On the new distillery, Diageo said it will feature three stills and have an annual capacity of 500,000 litres. Subject to planning approval, the facility, which will be located in the old Guinness power station at Diageo's St James's Gate site in Dublin, is expected to start production in the first half 2019.

On the Bushmills sale in 2015, Clarke reiterated Diageo's position at the time, that securing full control of the Don Julio Tequila joint-venture from Casa Cuervo in return for Bushmills was "a price worth paying".

More to follow...