Irish Distillers, the largest producer of Irish whiskey in the world and home to premium brands such as Jameson and Powers, has announced that they’ll be getting into the craft beer biz and that they’ve purchased the County Cork Ireland-based Eight Degrees Brewing.
Here’s the deal…
Last Thursday Irish Distillers, a subsidiary of the French conglomerate Pernod-Ricard S.A. completed a deal with Eight Degrees Brewing, a company that they’d worked with successfully on their “Jameson Caskmates” releases, a relationship they clearly wanted to continue….
According to the brewery, the deal will result in Eight Degrees Brewing providing “a long-term beer supply to support the continued global growth of Jameson Caskmates, a whiskey finished in craft beer barrels that sold 200,000 cases in 40 different markets last year.
This is the drinks giant’s first foray into the beer biz and the first major acquisition of Irish craft brewery by a well-funded major.
It’s also a sign that craft beer has truly arrived in Ireland and that craft breweries are increasingly being seen as valuable properties worth investing in.
Based at the foot of Ireland’s Galtee Mountains, Eight Degrees Brewing was founded in 2010 by Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace, who came to Ireland from New Zealand and Australia. Their first beer, Howling Gale Irish Pale Ale, was launched in 2011 and garnered a rabid following almost immediately.
And in a statement that has become a familiar rationale, when larger corporations scoop up promising independents. Baigent and Wallace contend that this sale will allow Eight Degrees “continued innovation and experimentation in the craft beer sector.”
And as is almost always the case with these kinds of things, financial terms were not disclosed.
But an Irish Times report citing industry sources described it as a “multimillion-euro deal” (read: BIG Bucks) which we’re guessing might have also been a factor in Eight Degrees decision to ‘sell out.’