Jameson Caskmates launched last year

Jameson Caskmates launched last year

Pernod Ricard's MD of finance & operations has said the company will only innovate around its Jameson brand "with substance".

Speaking to analysts following the release yesterday of the group's third-quarter and year-to-date sales results, Gilles Bogaert hailed the success of last year's Jameson Caskmates innovation. The whiskey is part-aged in stout-seasoned barrels from Molson Coor's Irish brewery, Franciscan Well.

"It is sold with a 20% price premium versus Jameson Original, so it's incremental volumes, incremental margin and it's positive for the brand equity of Jameson," said Bogaert. 

But, he warned that innovation around the Irish whiskey brand must have "substance". 

"We're not about to launch a flavoured Jameson," Boggaert added. "We want to innovate... with some disruption, as we've done with Jameson Caskmates, which is something that I would say is new to the industry."

He told analysts that the brand enjoyed a "strong double-digit performance" in the US in the latest quarter.

"Growth is coming from everywhere (for Jameson in the US)," Boggaert added. "It's coming from all SKUs, it's coming from the core brand, it's coming from innovation, it's coming from all states."

Overall, Bogaert said innovation would continue to be an important part of Pernod's strategy going forward.

"Innovation at the group level ... could represent 25% of Pernod Ricard's growth going forward," he said. "If we target 5% top-line growth mid-term, you could expect innovation to represent at least 1% of incremental growth year-on-year."

The role of innovation has become more important as a growth driver for drinks companies with established brands. Earlier this month, Diageo's head of beer told just-drinks that innovation could represent 10% of the Guinness business by 2020.