The spirits brand revealed that Irish whiskey was worth £21.4m last Christmas, up £650,000 from 2017 (figures from CGA).
Pernod Ricard on-trade channel director Mark Harris told The Morning Advertiser his predictions for the spirits category in the next 12 months.
He said: “While rum is still in good growth and doing well, we see Irish whiskey as being really vibrant. A lot of customers are really engaging with it and the different drinks they can get involved in with it.
“Going into Christmas will be about the dark spirits and [operators] need to ensure they are getting simple serves right.”
He added: “There’s going to be noise about whiskey and some gins will fall by the wayside. You can’t have 20 gins on the bar, it doesn’t make sense.”
About gin, Harris said the bubble won’t be bursting any time soon and that its growth will slow, but it will continue to grow through NPD.
He added: “Accelerated premiumisation will continue and growth in cocktails will continue. There will be a divergence in the market where operators should really focus on the experiences they offer and getting that right.”
Pernod Ricard has also launched its own non-alcoholic spirit, Ceder’s, available in three variants – Classic, Crisp and Wild.
The drink is currently listed in Matthew Clarke but Harris said the challenge was stock availability. He added that Pernod will push the tipple for the on-trade around Christmas time and January, to capture the Dry January market.
Pernod is also encouraging pubs to drive sales by pairing spirit-based drinks, such as cocktails, with food, with a new initiative this Christmas.
According to statistics from CGA, one-third (32%) of outlets now have a cocktail offer and this has risen by 5% year on year.
Pernod, which has brands such as Absolut, Jameson, Beefeater and Monkey47, has launched the new initiative – Food Glorious Food – that offers festive cocktails and food pairings in the lead up to Christmas.
The aim is to further grow sales of spirits through the festive season by encouraging people to choose cocktails and spirit-based drinks with a meal, rather than just before or after food.