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Diageo to sell a million cases of Bushmills whisky by 2012

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK: The world's biggest drinks company is to take on its rival Pernod Ricard' Jameson brand

Diageo Ireland boss Michael Ioakimides said the company would "invest heavily" to build sales of Bushmills, the drinks group's sole Irish whisky brand, which it acquired from Pernod Ricard in 2005.

Ioakimides admitted it was an ambitious target given that the Co Antrim distillery currently sells around 400,000 cases.

However, he noted capacity has more than doubled and stocks are currently being aged.

Irish whisky as a category is growing faster than Scotch, Ioakimides said. The market leader is currently its rival Pernod Ricard's Jameson brand.

Legal distilling at Bushmills began in 1608 when the distillery was granted a licence by King James I.

In 1972 it became part of the Irish Distillers Group which was subsequently taken over by Pernod Ricard.

Diageo agreed to buy Bushmills for 200m from Pernod Ricard in the summer of 2005 as part of Pernod's takeover deal for Allied Domecq.

Details of Diageo's plans for Bushmills were revealed as Ioakimides announced that the group's all-Ireland market sales were worth around 609m in the 12 months to the end of June. Total turnover across Ireland, including exports, was up to nearly 1.35bn.