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IRELAND: Pernod Ricard relaunches Redbreast, Green Spot whiskies

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Pernod Ricard has used a rap on the knuckles from US import authorities as an opportunity to revamp its lesser known Irish whiskey brands, Green Spot and Redbreast.

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Following pressure from the US Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), Pernod Ricard has agreed to drop the term 'pure pot still' Irish whiskey in favour of 'single pot still' Irish whiskey. The term is used for Irish whiskies that originate from a single distillery.

All Irish whiskey distillers must follow the same rule, as of this month. Last year, the US TTB took action against Pernod's Redbreast 15 Year Old whiskey, ruling that the word 'pure' cannot be used in relation to whiskey.

Pernod's Irish subsidiary, Irish Distillers, has decided to use the change as a chance to relaunch both its Redbreast and Green Spot brands in an attempt to capitalise on rising demand for Irish whiskey, particularly in the US.

"Although used as a key component in many of our well-known Irish blends, Redbreast and Green Spot are the only remaining single pot still whiskey brands available on a global commercial basis," said Irish Distillers' global development director for Irish whiskey, Brendan Buckley.

"In partnership with our global distributors, we will be investing behind these brands," he said at the end of last week. The group, which is better known for producing Jameson, has not specified how much it plans to invest.

In the last decade, Redbreast volume sales have risen by an average 20% per year, according to IWSR figures supplied by Irish Distillers. The group has sought to use the brand as a super-premium extension to its mainstay Jameson, which accounts for around 60% of all Irish whiskey sales by volume worldwide.

Redbreast currently sells 20,000 nine-litre cases annually, with Green Spot on just 1,000 cases. Jameson sells 3m cases annually.

From this month, the back label of all Redbreast and Green Spot expressions will carry the term 'Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton'. Meanwhile, the Redbreast bottle and logo will remain the same, although 'single pot still Irish whiskey' will be displayed prominently on the front label. The group has also added a robin motif to the bottle.

Green Spot is to lose its green bottle in favour of a clear glass bottle with higher shoulders and a shorter neck, said Irish Distillers.


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