Pernod Ricard has released The Chuan Pure Malt Whisky, the first from the French giant to be made in China.

The Chuan pure malt whisky is distilled and bottled at Pernod Ricard China’s whisky distiller in Emeishan, Sichuan Province. The malt whisky is made using both European and Chinese barley and finished in Chinese single oak casks sourced locally.

“As a leading international spirits group, we are committed to proactively responding to the burgeoning enthusiasm and diversified demands of Chinese consumers,” Jerome Cottin-Bizonne, the CEO of Pernod Ricard’s operations in China said.

The company is offering three products under the new brand. A “core” whisky will go on sale for 888 yuan ($124). Pernod will release a second whisky, finished in a PX cask, for sale at 1,119 yuan. A “bottle your own” version will be available for 1,488 yuan.

In the 12 months to the end of June, Pernod Ricard saw its net sales from its Asia/Rest of World reporting unit rise 17%. Alexandre Ricard, the Martell Cognac owner’s chairman and CEO, said the “excellent, broad-based growth” was led by India, China, Turkey and a recovery in the travel-retail channel.

The growth in China was “driven” by Martell and “strong momentum” for Absolut and Jameson, he added.

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Column: Success will be a marathon, not a sprint, for Pernod’s first China-made whisky

Overall, Pernod Ricard’s annual net sales rose 13% to €12.14bn ($13.19bn). Profit from recurring operations was up 11% at €3.35bn. Net profit was 12% higher at €2.28bn.

China is becoming a key battleground for western whisky distillers. In 2021, Diageo announced plans for a single-malt whisky distiller in the southern Yunnan province.

Last month, Cognac house Camus and baijiu producer Anhui Gujing Group set out a partnership to create a whisky with “Chinese characteristics”. The companies are constructing a $30m distillery in Anhui province. Work on the Guqi distillery began earlier last month and is expected to be completed by 2025.

Pernod Ricard, meanwhile, operates a second production site in China with its Helan Mountain Winery in Ningxia in the north of the country.