Jameson's owner just bought Cork craft beer outfit Eight Degrees Brewing

The eight-year-old firm partnered with the whiskey giant on its ‘Caskmates’ project.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

THE DRINKS GIANT behind Jameson Irish whiskey has snapped up Cork-based craft beer company Eight Degrees Brewing.

Irish Distillers, which is owned by Pernod Ricard, announced that it has completed a deal to acquire the eight-year-old outfit that makes Howling Gale Irish Pale Ale and other beers.

It will be the first beer brand added to Irish Distillers’ portfolio of drinks, which also includes Cork Dry Gin and West Coast Cooler.

The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but an Irish Times report citing industry sourced described it as a “multimillion-euro deal”.

According to a statement from Irish Distillers, the deal will result in Eight Degrees Brewing providing “a long-term beer supply to support the continued global growth of Jameson Caskmates”, a whiskey that is finished in craft beer barrels.

Launched in 2014 after a test run in Ireland, 200,000 cases of Jameson Caskmates were sold in 40 different markets last year, according to Irish Distillers’ production director, Tommy Keane.

“With this success comes a need to plan for the future and that’s what led to this exciting deal with … Eight Degrees Brewing,” he said.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Eight Degrees Brewing co-owners Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace said the takeover will ensure the company will have” the long-term capabilities” to experiment with making different brews in the future.

Eight Degrees

Founded in 2010 by Baigent and Wallace – who originally hail from New Zealand and Australia – Eight Degrees Brewing is headquartered in Mitchelstown, Co Cork and currently employs 10 people.

Its first beer, Howling Gale Irish Pale Ale, was launched in 2011. Its range of drinks include Bohemian Pilsner Lager, Sunburnt Irish Red Ale and Knockmealdown Irish Stout.

According to its most recent set of accounts, Eight Degrees Brewing reported a profit of €51,300 in 2017, pushing accumulated profits to more than €526,000. In 2015, the company received €110,000 in backing from state agency Enterprise Ireland.

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