Bushmills sale ‘hurt’, says Diageo NI boss

The boss of drinks giant Diageo’s Northern Ireland arm has said that the sale of the Bushmills Irish whiskey brand last year was beyond his control.

Diageo Northern Ireland director Jorge Lopez, pictured right (Photo: Diageo)

Diageo Northern Ireland director Jorge Lopez, pictured right (Photo: Diageo)

Jorge Lopes said that Diageo’s swapping of Northern Irish whiskey Bushmills with Casa Cuervo for its Mexican Tequila brand Don Julio was a decision that was “made globally”.

“Clearly this wasn’t a decision made by Northern Ireland”, he told the Belfast Telegraph. “It really hurt my heart to see the Bushmills brand go.”

Analysts have since criticised the trade in brands, seeing as Tequila has now seemingly reached its peak while Irish whiskey continues to boom.

Phil Carroll, an analyst at Shore Capital, said at the time of the sale in November 2014 that he was disappointed to see Bushmills leave the Diageo stable. “Given the explosive growth in fellow Irish whiskey brand, Jameson… we always felt it had more potential that was not being exploited,” he told the Guardian.

Bushmills was purchased by Diageo in 2005 for £200 million, with its sales almost doubling between 2009 and 2013, according to IWSR data.

Diageo owns other leading Irish drinks brands Guinness, Baileys liqueur and Harp larger.

Lopes also commented on the recent agreement by beer brewer SABMiller to be taken over by AB Inbev in a deal that would create the largest beer company in the world, with control over one third of all beer sales globally.

He said its impact will be felt across the entire drinks industry. “I think all the players, Carlsberg, Heineken, will perhaps have to make a move, or maybe a private equity company,” he said. “Of course there are concerns”.

One Response to “Bushmills sale ‘hurt’, says Diageo NI boss”

  1. kallaskander says:

    Hi there,

    and what exactly did Diageo do for the brand in the 10 years they owned it?

    As much as Cuervo seems willing to do – nothing.


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