This week our Irish Whiskey News features articles on Irish whiskey sales in India rising and what effects the Coronavirus is having on the whiskey industry.
So let’s see what’s happening this week in our Irish whiskey news.
Irish whiskey has emerged as the fastest-growing spirit in India, albeit from a very low base. The sales of these whiskies, dominated in India almost wholly by Pernod Ricard’s Jameson, is expected to rise to 50,000 cases (of 9 litres each) this year from just 5,000 in 2014, data from research firm IWSR show. That is a staggering CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 60%, compared to 12% for scotch and 4% for traditional whiskies. “The Irish Whiskey category has been growing steadily over the past few years in India like the rest of the world. It reflects the evolving palette amongst the younger drinking audience and their global exposure. People today want to experiment with what they are consuming and try newer brands and products,” said Sachin Mehta, country director of premium spirits company William Grant & Sons .
Irish whiskey is still less than 1% of the Indian whiskey volumes. And only 34,000 cases, out of the 10.6 million globally, were imported to India in 2018, the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) told TOI. “If Irish whiskey were to achieve even a minuscule percentage of (India’s) market share, this would translate into a significant volume of sales. It is for this reason that Irish whiskey producers are looking to markets such as India as new growth engines,” William Lavelle, head of the association, said. Jameson is a near monopoly in the Indian market currently, dwarfing other imported brands such as Bushmills, previously owned by Diageo. William Grant, popular for its single malt Glenfiddich, counts Irish whiskey Tullamore DEW among its core brands globally.
The coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has thrown world health and financial markets into upheaval. Despite reports that the outbreak’s spread was slowing, a surge of cases reported in South Korea (1,261 so far with at least 10 deaths) and Italy (322 also with at least 10 deaths) have called that conclusion into question. Over 80,000 people have now been diagnosed with the virus worldwide and more than 2700 have died, with both of those numbers likely to rise. Stock markets plunged amid the news, and many industries are taking heavy financial losses. Now it appears the whisky and spirits industry will be among them, with more than $200 million in projected losses this year due to the virus.
Diageo, the world’s largest drinks company, told the Financial Times that it expects to see sales losses from between $291 million to $420 million. The company also projects $181 million to $258 million in operating profit losses. All told, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Buchanan’s and J&B will lose 2.5 percent of its 2019 net sales. The reasons for the dire projections are complex. According to distributors, bottle and cask sales have slowed considerably in China, a dramatic turnaround from pre-coronavirus numbers, when sales of whisky were booming. Neighboring Japan has been not been hit quite as hard by the disease compared to other nearby nations (159 confirmed cases), however, its whisky market is suffering as local distilleries make the choice to temporarily cease tours. This includes some of Japan’s most revered makers like Suntory and Nikka, with all tours canceled through at least mid-March and no new start date yet set.
Thanks again for reading our Irish Whiskey News.
The Whiskey Experts
The Whiskey Experts – Irish Whiskey News © 2019