Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has formally unveiled a new €100m facility at its premises in Midleton, Co Cork.
The launch coincided with the 20th anniversary of its Jameson Experience visitor attraction and the group’s move to take 100% ownership of Pernod Ricard Korea Imperial, with the likely purchase of the 30% share held by Korean company HiteJinro.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny attended Saturday’s unveiling, originally announced late last year.
Data released this week claimed global sales would exceed the Midleton distillery’s predictions for 2012. In the year to the end of Jun 2011, 3.4m cases of Jameson were sold.
Mr Kenny said: “This investment by Irish Distillers is the result of an exceptional performance by Jameson in the worldwide marketplace. Today marks a significant day in the future of Irish whiskey production, and the entire food and drinks export industry, as well as for the local economy here in Cork.”
As part of the investment, 60 manufacturing and technical jobs will be created; 30 in the Midleton distillery and 30 more in the Fox and Geese bottling plant in Dublin, bringing the total employees to 560.
Separately, up to 250 jobs will result from the construction process, with a significant benefit to the local economy. The distillery spends over €60m annually on cereals, energy, capital projects, and payroll in the local economy.
The expansion, which is due to take place over the next 24 months, will benefit from significant energy and water-use efficiencies as a result of the incorporation of the latest state-of-the-art design techniques. A further €100m is being spent developing a satellite maturation facility at Dungourney, Co Cork.
Chief executive Anna Malmhake said: “This is a fantastic day for Irish Distillers — and for Irish business. The €100m investment in Midleton, the home of Irish whiskey production, is a reflection of the growing international success of Jameson, and the future potential of our entire Irish Whiskey portfolio.
“With a tradition dating back to 1780, Jameson has been distilled in the Midleton distillery since 1975 and we are delighted to confirm our commitment to this tradition, and at the same time, we continue to embrace progress and to deliver new and innovative expressions of Irish whiskey.
“The success of our visitor’s centre, the Jameson Experience, which is today celebrating its 20th anniversary, emphasises the popularity of Jameson as a brand, not only domestically, but worldwide. With over 2m visitors passing through its doors since 1992, the contribution it makes to Irish tourism and the local economy in Cork is immense.”