Whiskey-lovers have a taste for Bushmills as sales soar

Gary McDonald Business Editor

THERE'S been a growing thirst for the north's best known drinks brand in the last year as sales of Bushmills whiskey grew by nearly a third.

And it's a trend the company expects to continue well into the future, as the value of its thousands of barrels of maturing stock also soared, according to latest figures filed at Companies House.

Irish whiskey is currently the fastest growing premium spirit category in the world, and in 2019 turnover at Bushmills rose from £33.6 million to £43.7 million.

The company, which is owned by global tequila giant Jose Cuervo, made a profit of £8.9m (up from £6.6m a year earlier).

And its Mexican owners say it is there intention to continue to develop the present activities of the company through the continued expansion into new markets and by growing its various brands.

The Old Bushmills Distillery in the village of Bushmills is the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery (dating back to 1608), making triple distilled malt whiskey and producing both blended and single malt whiskey.

Global sales of all Irish whiskey brands have increased by more than 300 per cent over the last decade, with overall exports doubling to 12 million nine-litre cases, according to the Irish Whiskey Association.

The Old Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills village

Bushmills has been central to that renaissance, and is already investing £60 million to double its production capacity to seven million litres a year.

The Old Bushmills Distillery currently has more than 80,000 barrels of whiskey (16 million litres) "put away" across its extended warehouse facilities.

According to its accounts, it currently has £118.8 million of stocks sitting in its warehouses (up from £110.3m in 2018).

Among this is more than £22m of whiskey maturing within a year, but a whopping £89.8m worth of stock which will mature in future years, including its famous 10-, 16-, and 21-year-old single malts.

Bushmills has a staff of 110, broadly similar to a year earlier, and its wages bill came in at £5.9m, with its directors receiving a combined £161,000.

An interesting additional source of operating income at Bushmills - and which only applied to companies in its sector - is a royalty income of £1,506,000, which was up from £1,336,000 a year earlier.

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