'Whiskey galore' as £90m worth of Bushmills currently maturing

Nearly £90 million worth of Bushmills is currently maturing at the Co Antrim distillery
Nearly £90 million worth of Bushmills is currently maturing at the Co Antrim distillery

NEARLY £90 million worth of whiskey is currently maturing in casks under lock and key at the Old Bushmills Distillery, the company's annual accounts have revealed.

The north's oldest-established whiskey maker (it was first licensed in 1609) enjoyed another hugely profitable trading year in the 12 months to last December, according to figures just filed at Companies House.

The report shows that, among its current stock, the distillery - now owned by Mexican tequila giant Jose Cuervos - is sitting on £86.9 million worth of maturing whiskey of its various world-famous brands (compared to £79.8m a year earlier).

That is understood to be part of the reason Bushmills has lodged plans with Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council to build a number of huge new warehouses over the next decade on 60 acres of adjacent land as part of a £30 million expansion of its existing historic site on the outskirts of the village.

And that, according to the company, will effectively double its production capacity and allow it to expand into new global markets.

It accounts show that Bushmills enjoyed sales of £27.8 million in 2016 (that compared to £75.6m previously, though that set of accounts was taken over an 18-month period).

Gross profit came in at £7.8m, and after taxes it retained profits of £5.8m for the financial year.

The accounts also show that Bushmills - which has 105 staff made up of production (67), sales (13) and administration (26) - benefited from more than £1 million in royalties income during the year.

The financial statement also showed a gain of £1,430,000 on foreign exchange transactions, while the company slashed its trade debtors to just over £1.5m.

Previously part of the Diageo brand, the Co Antrim whiskey maker was acquired by Jose Cuervo in a near £500 million deal which was part of a major 'swap' between the two firms, which saw Guinness owner Diageo offload Bushmills, but gain control of an up-and-coming tequila brand Don Julio.

The Bushmills brands include Bushmills Original, Black Bush, Bushmills 10-year-old Single Malt, Bushmills 16-year-old Single Malt, Bushmills 21-year-old Single Malt, and Bushmills Steamship.

Earlier this year Jose Cuervo, officially known as Becle and which is America's oldest continuous producer of spirits, floated on the Mexican stock exchange, where its IPO was eight times oversubscribed and the initial pricing of the 476.6 million share offer saw the company raise more than 16 billion pesos (about £700 million).