On a surprisingly hot Tuesday morning in Midleton, Ireland, Jameson unveiled the biggest visual change to their range in decades, and I was honoured to be there to witness the new look Jameson whiskey range.
This is a three part series of articles that will document this momentous launch; here I talk about the ambition and the background to this rethink of the Jameson whiskey product line up. Part two will explore some tales from the Jameson archive and part three will talk through the Whiskey Makers Series and will detail the new Jameson whiskey range in full.
A lot has changed in the last 236 years, not just whiskey but the world and the consumers within it have evolved beyond all recognition, several times over.
Jameson have taken this into account, and over the last two years have sunk millions of Euro into a huge project to engage with their consumers, the trade and several generations of staff who have worked at the distillery over the years to understand their needs, their stories and what they want from the Jameson whiskey brand.
They even hired an archivist to catalogue all the artefacts and to help uncover interesting stories from the history of Jameson whiskey range and Irish Distillers Limited that could help reinvigorate and connect the brand with consumers new and old.
This is the first time the Jameson whiskey range has been looked at and evolved significantly in the last fifteen to twenty years as they wanted to have any update and any new products be brought to life with meaning.
Dan, the Global Brand Director for Jameson whiskey told us that:
“We heard that people wanted to hear more about the people behind the brand and what is making it so smooth”
Linking back to the brand’s motto of Sine Metu, meaning Without Fear, they have really delivered something different and something really powerful for the whole Jameson whiskey range.
An interesting comment came out of the launch when Dan said “we are challengers”.
Why is this interesting? Jameson whiskey is one of the most ever-present and prolific brands in the Western world, especially in key markets such as the UK and US. Yet the mindset is that despite ‘owning’ Irish whiskey market in volume terms, with over 5.5million cases shipped last year, they set their benchmark as edging closer to their Scotch equivalents.
Bold ambitions, but why not?
After all, Irish whiskey has had a tough journey through the reduction in production and availability during World War I, then just as volumes were balancing out again Prohibition hit, then their supply chain fell due to the breaking up of the British Empire meaning Irish whiskey was restricted to just one market essentially.
The result of this? IDL a.k.a. Irish Distillers.
Irish Distillers are an amalgamation of the Powers, Jameson and Paddy whiskey brands and businesses who joined forces for the good of the Irish whiskey category, as well as to grow their united company through strength in numbers.
I always find it impressive that these previous rivalries were put aside for the greater good and for progress.
Although, I do feel sorry for the poor sales blokes who would have to change from ‘don’t buy Jameson, this Paddy Irish whiskey is miles better’ to ‘nah, only kidding, all three are great’. Tough.
Next time I will explore some stories from the Jameson archive… until then… keep dramming.