Bushmills Irish whiskey operation bounces back from lockdown slump

The latest accounts for The Old Bushmills Distillery Company show it had around £135 million worth of whiskey maturing in its warehouses last year.

THE Bushmills whiskey operation recovered to pre-Covid levels during 2021, new company accounts show.

The Old Bushmills Distillery Company bounced back from the Covid-19 lockdown slump of 2020, with revenues rising by 36 per cent to £43.2 million last year, matching its income from 2019.

Pre-tax profits rose ten per cent year-on-year to £7.97m. And while 2021 was a less profitable year than 2019, the performance was well above the £6.6m pre-tax profit recorded during 2018.

Bushmills is the island's oldest oldest-established whiskey distillery and the third largest Irish whiskey in the world. The Co Antrim distillery has been owned by Mexican spirits giant Becle since 2014. Best known the Jose Cuervo brand, Becle is the world's largest tequila producer.

Last year Becle increased its share of the Irish whiskey market by acquiring Conor McGregor's Eire Born Spirits, the company behind the Proper No. Twelve brand.

The latest annual report for the Old Bushmills Distillery Company revealed the value of the whiskey held in the casks within its 17 maturation warehouses continues to soar year-on-year.

Total stocks were valued at £143.4m in 2021, almost 11 per cent up on 2020.

Of that, just shy of £26m of whiskey was recorded as ‘maturing within one year', with £108.4m ‘maturing in more than one year'.

The remainder was recorded as raw materials, consumables and other finished goods for resale.

Annually, the facility is capable of producing around five million litres of whiskey and can bottle around three million nine-litre cases.

In a report assessing its 2021 performance, the company's directors said Bushmills “demonstrated a food level of performance in its major markets despite the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The report also confirmed that the company's long-standing bottling contract with Irish Distillers Limited was terminated in February 2022, earlier than expected, with bottling now being conducted in-house.

The Bushmills' portfolio includes: 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.