The world’s largest spirits producer will launch a new whiskey brand “Roe & Co” in March with bottles expected to retail at around £30.
Until a new facility is completed at the company’s Guinness HQ in Dublin, Roe & Co will be produced from whiskies sourced across the firm’s Irish distilleries.
The investment marks a significant move into the Irish whiskey scene for Diageo, which includes Lagavulin, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Archers, Pimm’s and Guinness and in its portfolio. The group says it employs 5000 people in the UK and contributes £931m to the UK economy through its supply chain.
Irish whiskey sales have boomed in recent years, tracking the success of Scotland’s single malt and blended brands. “It is now the fastest growing spirit drink in the world”, Irish agriculture minister, Michael Creed TD, said, “with global sales increasing by over 300 per cent and record exports of over €400m in the last ten years”.
Commenting on the launch, Tanya Clarke, general manager of Diageo Reserve Europe said: “This is a wonderful project for us at Diageo, highlighting the opportunity we see to develop the premium segment of Irish whiskey and contribute to the category’s growth as it sees new investment and entrepreneurial interest”.
“In crafting Roe & Co we explored the demands of today’s consumers for more premium drinking experiences and the desire of bartenders for an adaptable, flavourful whiskey that works in both traditional and new cocktails.”
The drinks giant says that Britain’s exit from the EU will have a “minimal effect on sales”. Speaking against the backdrop of strong sales figures, John Kennedy, Diageo’s president for Europe told the BBC: “If you look at Europe and the Single Market, the key thing is that spirits are zero rated on tariffs, so whether you are in or outside the single market we expect that to have a minimal effect on spirit sales."