Halewood already distributes West Cork’s products in eight markets. It has worked closely with West Cork, the producer and global distributor of The Pogues whiskey since acquiring a 50% stake in the brand earlier in the year.
The amount is not disclosed but is said to be “significant” but not a majority stake.
Halewood says the deal looks to capitalise on increased consumer interest in imported Irish whiskeys, which are in growth both in terms of value and volume (Nielsen ScanTrack (w/e 25.04.15), and with the North West of England and Scotland being key drivers of Irish whiskey consumption, the company says it is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this trend.
West Cork Distillers was set up in 2003 in Skibbereen by two former fishermen and a Phd technical specialist in food & drink. It is best known for its West Cork blended whiskey, which comprises 25% single malt Irish whiskey and 75% grain Irish whiskey, finished in sherry and bourbon casks respectively. A 10 Year Old single malt Irish whiskey, aged in sherry casks, will be joined by small batch release of a 12 year old sherry cask whiskey later in the year.
Halewood chief executive Stewart Hainsworth said: “Halewood continues to grow its spirits portfolio with craft products that offer the trade and consumers a point-of-difference from the mainstream brands. West Cork Distillers reflects our entrepreneurial attitude to develop new products and increase distribution both in the UK and internationally.”
West Cork MD and cofounder, John O’Connell said: “This partnership offers a great opportunity to take the business forward. It strengthens our offering in new markets whilst supporting our existing, and greatly valued, distribution partners to greater degree through the development of a cohesive marketing strategy.”