Ireland: Leading craft brewery sold to Pernod-Ricard owned distiller

One of Ireland’s leading craft breweries, Cork-based Eight Degrees Brewing has been sold to Irish Distillers, largest producer of Irish whiskey and a subsidiary of French spirts group Pernod-Ricard. The transaction value of the ‘multimillion-euro’ deal was not disclosed. All 10 employees of the brewery will continue to work with the company following the transaction.

Following a today’s press release the “acquisition of Mitchelstown brewery ensures long-term beer supply to sustain the continued global growth of Jameson Caskmates,” a variation of the company’s flagship whiskey Jameson that is aged in craft beer-seasoned barrels. Jameson Caskmates was introduced on a trial basis in 2014 and has since then experienced unexpected growth. Irish Distillers also hopes to “see continued innovation for Eight Degrees Brewing portfolio of craft beers.”

“Jameson, which has been driving the growth of the Irish whiskey category for the past 28 years, continues to thrive and is now in double or triple digit growth in 80 markets across the world,” Tommy Keane, Production Director for Irish Distillers, was cited.

“One of our most successful innovations has undoubtedly been the introduction of Jameson Caskmates. Following a successful pilot test in the Irish market in 2014, Jameson Caskmates has had exceptional success since its launch, selling almost 200,000 cases into more than 40 markets last year. With this success comes a need to plan for the future and that’s what led to this exciting deal with Cam and Scott in Eight Degrees Brewing. We’re looking forward to working with their team to continue to grow Jameson Caskmates on the world stage from Midleton and Mitchelstown,” Keane is also quoted.

Commenting on the deal, Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace, owners and founders of Eight Degrees Brewing said: “We’re very excited about this deal with Irish Distillers. When we set up Eight Degrees Brewing in Mitchelstown in 2010 we wanted to brew naturally adventurous, great tasting beers that were more exciting and innovative than anything else in the market. Becoming part of the Irish Distillers family means that we have the long-term capabilities to continue on this mission as well as being part of the very exciting Jameson Caskmates story. We’re looking forward to working with Tommy and the team in Midleton while continuing to create new and exciting beers for our customers.”

Prior to the deal Irish Distillers sourced its beer from Ireland’s leading craft brewer Franciscan Well and its parent company Molson Coors but found it increasingly difficult to source sufficient volumes for the production of Jameson Caskmates. The company said it hopes to work also together on future projects and initiatives.

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