Alcohol is an integral part of Ireland’s life, society, politics and economy. The country ranks 6th in pure alcohol consumption, according to a European Union study; 11,91 per capita, compared to the 10,7 average in the area (Mercille, 2015). The Irish alcohol beverage industry’s economic contribution is also important. In 2013, Ireland’s alcohol industry exported to 1,095 billion euro, which resulted in a trade overflow of 370 million euro in drinks (Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, 2017). About 92,000 employees around the country are in charge of the Ireland alcohol industry. The country is renowned around the world for its high-quality alcoholic brands with industry giants such as Guinness Brewery, Old Bushmills Distillery, and Jameson Distillery.
The History of the Companies
The History of Guinness
Guinness was founded in 1759 by a 34- year old Arthur Guinness. Since he had no brewing facility, he made a 9000- year lease of the St. James’s Gate entity. The annual rent for the facilities was 45 Irish pounds. When he bought the brewery, it was no longer in use, and it lacked equipment required. Arthur Guinness’s business quickly became successful, and by 1769 he had diversified to the English market. The entrepreneur first specialized in brewing ale before switching to porter production in the 1770s. The latter was a type of beer that was invented in England in 1722 and was characterized by dark ruby color and rich aroma since it was ingrained using roasted barley. Arthur’s porter was that successful it led to a decision in 1799 to switch to its brewing specifically ending up the ale production (Guinness-storehouse.com). St. James’s Gate Brewery produced different types to cater for various consumer preferences, for instance, “West India Porter” which was export oriented. Currently, it is known as Guinness Foreign Extra Stout holding the account of 45 percent of all sales by the corporation. After the founder’s passing away, his son, Arthur Guinness II, became the business successor. Generally, his achievements gave a positive effect on the company’s development, and the Dublin-based brewery became the largest in Ireland during his tenure. The period is characterized by export trade expansion of the Guinness Stout being shipped worldwide. The next industry descendent, Benjamin Lee Guinness, took over in 1862. He oversaw the first branding of Guinness. “The trademark label – the Arthur Guinness’ signature, a harp, and the word Guinness – is still used to date” (Yenne, 2007). Edward Cecil Guinness, who succeeded his father in 1868, organized the rise of the brewing facility to the global scope. Guinness also became the first major brewery to be incorporated and floated on the London Stock Exchange. The corporate sales reached 1.2 million barrels by the end of the 19th century with St. James’s Gate Brewery growing from an initial size of 4 acres of the times of the first leasing to 60 acres. The company was already a recognized international brand by the turn of the 20th century. The establishment of an in-house laboratory in 1901 meant that Guinness now used science to enhance the quality of their production. Brewing facilities has advanced technologically over the years. The 1960s marked the replacement of wooden and iron vessels used in the brewing process with aluminum and stainless steel ones which ensured better quality control at the brewery. In 1996, St. James’s Gate Brewery became one of the first beer production facilities to receive accreditation by the International Organization for Standardization. A state of the art brewery referred to as Brewhouse 4 opened in 2014 at St. James Gate, Dublin. “The brewery is one of the most technologically advanced in the world and is also the largest stout brewery in the world. The brewery consumes more than 100,000 tons of Irish barley a year and continues to be a major contributor to the Irish economy” (Guinness-storehouse.com).
The History of the Old Bushmills Distillery
The alcohol production facility is located in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, and is renowned as the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery has been making alcohol for more than four hundred years now. The license for whiskey production in County Antrim was granted in 1608, but the company was only established in 1784 by Hugh Anderson. When the distillery was registered, the Pot Still became its registered trademark. The distinct brand is used nowadays. Over the years, the company has been known for its lasting commitment to unique malt whiskey recipe even despite the malt taxes’ increasing drastically in the 1850s. This consistency contributed significantly to the success of the Old Bushmills in the 19th and 20th century. In 1885, a catastrophic fire gutted downs the company’s capacity following the successful rebuilding and renewing of full whiskey production. In 1890, the distillery’s steamship, “SS Bushmills,” made its first voyage across the Atlantic, delivering the production to the United States. The period of 1880-1900s is regarded as the company’s golden years. “Old Bushmills malt whiskey won numerous prizes in international spirits competitions including the only gold medal for whiskey at the Paris 1889 Expo” (Bushmills.com). Bushmills stopped its production during the Second World War. The Dublin offices were destroyed in a bomb attack which left the company with no archives. The after-war period was a boom time for distillers, and the Old Bushmills resumed manufacture. Those years were particularly important considering the prohibition era’s in the United States negative impact on the alcohol industry in Ireland. When the company was celebrating the 400th anniversary in 2008, the facility was featured on all new official banknotes in Ireland.
The History of Jameson Distillery
The John Jameson and Son Irish Whiskey Company was established in 1810 after the takeover of Bow Street Distillery in Dublin by John Jameson and his son. company had an annual production of a million gallons of Irish whisky annually. This essentially made the distillery one of the largest in the world. The Jameson Distillery looked set for a bright future, but a couple of historical events curtailed the company’s growth. The events referred to the temperance movement in Ireland, the Irish War of Independence, and the times of prohibition in the United States (Bruce-Gardyne, 2014). The Old Jameson Distillery was the country’s most famous alcohol manufacturer for over two centuries until it was closed in 1971. The production of Jameson was transferred to the Midleton Distillery in Cork, where the branded whiskey is still being producing. The Old Jameson is a museum now being one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.
Guinness’s Alcohol Making Process
The brewing process for Guinness begins with barley. It is grown in Irish soil with the company maintaining strong relationships with farmers who supply the grain. The barley is crushed firstly following water being added which is tracked from Poulaphouca Lake. “Water that’s heated and added to the freshly milled malted barley before the mixture is mashed to extract the brewing sugars” (Guinness.com). The mash is then put into a special tun which is responsible for the separation of grains from sweet wort. The essence of the unique dark- roasted barley comes into play at this stage. Roasting of the barley is usually proceeded at 232 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, it is roasted perfectly and accounts for the aroma and taste associated with Guinness. Another ingredient in the brewing process of Guinness is hops. The flowers of the hop plant are usually added to give the brew its unique flavor. The wort to which hops have been added is then boiled for ninety minutes. The process is succeeded by a cooling stage. The next component after the phase is the Guinness yeast. The particular strain of it has been used for generations. It captures the freshness of all ingredients used in the brewing process and ensures that the beer is perfectly fermented and full of flavor. The following procedure is maturation. During the latter, the brew acquires its consistency and taste. Adding of nitrogen after the maturation process is responsible for the iconic creamy head that is associated with Guinness. This is usually done during the packaging process. A head height test became possible at this stage ensuring that every pint has the correct amount of bubbles. Nitrogen replaced carbon dioxide in the composition of Guinness in 1959 thus changing the texture and flavor of the stout. The smaller nitrogen bubbles give a smoother consistency in contrast to the sharper taste associated with carbon dioxide (Frow & Payne, 2007). The Sensory Panel which is responsible for testing every batch of Guinness ensures that the taste achieved by the brewing process is exactly as intended by the expert brewers. The stout is then packed in cans, bottles, or kegs, being ready for transportation to consumers around the world.
Old Bushmills’s Alcohol Making Process
Bushmills’ whiskey is made from “malted barley, yeast, and river water. “The uniqueness of the Malt Whiskey distilled lies in the character of the barley grown in Ireland, in the special water from Saint Columb’s Rill, a tributary of the River Bush which runs beside the distillery, and its distinctive triple distillation process” (Ballycastle.info). The raw stuff used in the production of malt whiskey is grown under spring- like conditions. The first phase of the alcohol making process at the Old Bushmills is malting. In the process, moisture in barley is removed by drying in kilns which have limited aeration. Afterward the mashing process comes where barley is grounded into a grist. Then it is mixed with hot water following its transferring to a mash tun for settling. The carbohydrates in the wort are implicated in the transformation into the liquid wort subsequently being separated. Shortly after mixing the yeast with the wort the fermentation of sugars into alcohol happens. The liquor produced at this stage is known as “wash.” The chemical process is followed by the distillation which produces spirit alcohol. The achieved vapor is being condensed and distilled for higher level of purity during the repeated three-stage procedure. The thickened liquid of each level is responded to low wines, feints, and spirit respectively (Swan & Burtles, 1978). A special receiver collects the pure spirit after which water is added to dilute it. Then it is transferred into casks made of oak before being put away in dark warehouses. During the storage, maturation takes place, and the spirit transforms gradually into whiskey. The state of a cask’s maturation is assessed regularly by the master distiller. If the quality is satisfied, the master distiller assembles predetermined volumes of whiskeys from various barrels in a tank. The whiskeys from different casks are allowed to be combined in order to achieve the ultimate taste and aroma associated with each variety.
Jameson’s Alcohol Making Process
The key constituents of Jameson Irish Whiskey are barley, water, and maize. Water used in the production is sourced from the Dungourney River nearby the firm’s capacity. The suppliers of barley used by the distillery are mostly from within 100 miles of the local Midleton area. Maize, on the other hand, is sourced from a supplier on Southern France. The malting process is usually the first one in alcohol production at the Jameson distillery since it allows for the extraction of starch from barley. Speaking of maize, it is cooked under pressure with the aim of cutting the starch into sugar (Whisky.com). After the breakdown, the resultant coarse flour-like substance known as grist is mixed with hot water to wash out the sugar. Afterwards, the wort is collected at 95 degrees Celsius. The wort is then cooled down to 20ᵒ C after which yeast is added. This solution is left in large vessels called washbacks for 48- 96 hours to allow the fermentation of sugar to produce alcohol. The next process is triple distillation which makes Jameson smoother. Then the phase of the distilled spirit being matured in casks comes. Jameson Distilleries use oak barrels that are usually imported from France and the United States. They are often previously utilized and aged of fortified wine and bourbon. The maturation within such holding capacity lasts. for more than three years varying from one cask to the other (Jamesonwhiskey.com).
Guinness has been managing to produce renowned stout for centuries and remain relevant across the world. Guinness stout is one of the most widely distributed products in the world with presence in more than 150 countries globally. The brand has always been associated with its rich Irish heritage. For long, Guinness was known by older individuals. It was not seen as classy and sophisticated as it is perceived today. The initial target for the company in the times of its pervasion into the American market was cities such as New York and Chicago of a significant population of Irish immigrants. The spreading of the first and second generation of Irishmen made a foundation for company’s success on the United States’ market. A change in strategy over the recent past has resulted in Guinness targeting individuals between the ages of 15 and 34. This is an important target group for any alcohol producer since the number of drinkers in the group is increasing steadily. The demographics of brand’s target go hand in hand with its geographical segmentation. St. Patrick’s Day is one day in the year dedicated to appreciating everything Irish of which Guinness is one. More than 33 million individuals celebrate the holiday around the world with a projected 13 million pints of Guinness being consumed this day (Abrams, 2017).
Jameson is the top selling Irish whiskey company in the world with a market share of 72 percent (McNew, 2013). The brand has been associated with old men. However, it tries to change the connotation by recruiting men within the age group of 25 to 30 into the consumption (Southern, 2015). As such, Jameson’s recent advertisements have all targeted the 25- 30 community with the aim of lifting core brand metrics, increasing saliency, and growing relevance to the target group. This means breaking the “beer with the boys” mentality among the sociable group. The company is also using social media extensively to drive sales and build awareness within this demographic. St. Patrick’s Day is characterized by an increase in consumption of whiskeys. Jameson has taken advantage over the recent past by providing a St. Patrick’s Day kits which includes a variety of drinks that one can make using Jameson Irish Whiskey for the occasion.
Old Bushmills has enjoyed a change in consumer preferences in terms of spirits that has seen Irish whiskeys gain massive popularity in the recent year. In 2014, whiskey passed vodka as the most consumed clear spirit in the United States. “Sales of Irish Whiskey in the US grew by nearly 23 percent in 2012 and 18 percent in 2013, according to the Distilled Spirits Council” (Hodgins, 2016). It explains the shift in Irish whiskey consumption by a mature crowd to the younger drinkers. Bushmills is targeting the millennial drinkers, and the launch of Red Bush, which is matured in white oak bourbon casks is an illustration of the. St. Patrick’s Day is also a great day in terms of consumption of Old Bushmills. “This year the company released a compelling toast to give people a different way to celebrate the true spirit of the fest” (Haggerston-times.com).
Financials of the Alcohol Industry
Global sales volume of the alcohol beverage industry is on the verge of exceeding the $1 trillion mark which is an illustration of the robustness of the market. The growth of the alcohol beverage trade across the world is largely attributed to growth in emerging economies such as Latin and South America. In the United States, the volume of distilled spirits sold by retailers increased by 2.4 percent in 2016 to $25.2 billion. “The spirits industry now commands 35.9% of the total alcohol market vs. 47% for beer and 17.1% for wine. Beer made up close to 60% of the alcohol market in the 1990s” (Kell, 2017). Flavorful spirits have contributed largely to the increased consumption of spirits among younger drinkers in the United States. The volume of sales of U.S. whiskey has also increased with sales of around $3.1 billion. Premiumization in the of liquor brands has also seen an upturn in the sales of pricey distilled spirits such as Glenlivet, Macallan, and Grey Goose (Kell, 2017). The alcohol beverage industry in Ireland contributes €6.6 billion to the economy. The increasing popularity of Irish whiskey in the US has seen exports rise with €1.095 recorded to have been generated in 2013. Exports of alcoholic beverages from Ireland are higher than the import of such which is unlike the case in the United States (Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, 2017).
The Bord Bia Exports Performance and Prospects Report 2016—2017 published recently (January 2017) valued growth in beverage exports at €1.4 billion, an increase of 4% since last year. The sector exports drinks to 139 markets worldwide and supports over 200,000 jobs in the drinks and related hospitality sectors with an annual wage bill of €4 billion and purchases over 300m liters of milk and over 200,000 tons of Irish grains every year (Fitzgerald, 2017).
The Effect of Brexit on the Alcohol Industry
The Brexit voting of leaving the European Union will have an effect on many industries, and the alcohol one will be among the affected. One of Scotland’s top exports is whiskey. The distribution of Scotch whiskey has significantly benefitted from trade deals brokered by the European Union and as such is bound to lose a lot. The trade deals are not restricted to the EU. Foreign deals for country’s alcohol were also negotiated as part of the Free Trade Agreements (Schrieberg, 2016). As such, Brexit could lead to higher tariffs, additional paperwork, and complexities at border points which all lead to increase costs. It will also restrict the availability of some brands to join foreign markets due to the reduced bargaining power. Scotch whiskeys are bound to suffer the most. However, for the Irish whiskey industry, Brexit will not have much of an effect. “Of €443.9 million in whiskey exports, only €19.1 million or 4.3% is sold in the British market. 65% of Ireland’s whiskey exports are sold in markets outside the EU. The US on its own accounts for €233.7 million or 52.6% of total whiskey exports compared to the British 4.3% share” (Foley, 2016).
The alcohol beverage industry in Ireland is important not only from an economic perspective but also with respect to its social influence. The fact that Ireland is associated with the renowned brands like Guinness, Jameson, and Bushmills is as a result of a long-standing culture. The rise in Irish Whiskeys’ popularity in the recent past shows an upturn in the sales volume of Jameson and Bushmills. The common trend of the firms discussed in the paper is a switch from the older audience to millennial drinkers who will lead the industry into the future.
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