Pernod Ricard Doubles Down on the Sustainable Future of American Whiskey with Kentucky Investment
This investment follows recent announcements of €400 million behind extended and more sustainable facilities in Ireland and Scotland.
Pernod Ricard today announces a significant move to further leverage the strong growth of its premium American whiskey portfolio, The American Whiskey Collective with a €238 million ($250 million) investment over five years to build a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral distillery and aging warehouses in Marion County, Kentucky, for its fast-growing Jefferson’s Bourbon brand. The investment will also include the build of a world class visitor center facility that will welcome whiskey aficionados on the historic South Trail of Kentucky Bourbon.
Pernod Ricard has announced the intention for this new distillery to be carbon neutral once operational. The facility is also expected to be the first distillery of its size in the U.S. to achieve LEED certification, an internationally recognized sustainability framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving environmentally friendly buildings. The distillery and warehouses will include such low carbon technologies as electrode boilers powered by certified renewable electricity, enabling the distillery to not use fossil fuels during bourbon production.
In addition, as part of Pernod Ricard’s commitment to protect and nurture the terroir surrounding its facilities, Jefferson’s will continue to partner with local farmers and suppliers to source ingredients and casks.
“American whiskey is an extremely vibrant spirits category, and our strategic investments over the last few years have proven successful” said Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard. “Our philosophy of partnering with entrepreneurial brand founders, while preserving the heritage and terroir associated with the brands they created, has made us an established player in premium American Whiskey. Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller is no exception. This new investment will allow us to grow our share of category sales not only in the U.S., but also in export markets” Ricard said.
Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard North America, said “The new distillery will enable Jefferson’s to efficiently keep up with very strong consumer demand while staying true to the company’s longstanding commitment to sustainability.
“Our company is an agricultural company at its core and so it is vital that we lead the category forward – in partnership with our farmers and growers – and remain committed to the long-term sustainability of our people, our industry and our planet. This investment is the latest illustration of that belief,” said Mukherjee.
As part of the Group’s strategy to invest in evermore sustainable growth, Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers and Chivas Brothers brand companies recently announced plans to invest €300 million in Ireland and €100 million in Scotland to equip these brands with more sustainable distillation technologies and greater production capacity to meet growing demands. The Group is on track to meet the ambitious targets set out in its 2030 global sustainability & responsibility roadmap, ‘Good Times from a Good Place,’ which align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Founded in 1997 by Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, Jefferson’s joined the Pernod Ricard portfolio in 2019 when the company acquired the brand’s parent, Castle Brands. Since the acquisition, Jefferson’s U.S. sales have doubled.
“For the last 25 years we have been sourcing, contract distilling and — through Kentucky Artisan Distillery — distilling ourselves,” said Trey Zoeller who continues to guide Jefferson’s in his role as Founder and Chief Strategist. “It is now time for us to take more control of our destiny. The carbon neutral, state-of-the-art distillery we are building would not be possible without Pernod Ricard’s forward thinking, integrity, and commitment to Jefferson’s and the Bourbon category’s future.”
Pernod Ricard is the No.2 worldwide producer of wines and spirits with consolidated sales amounting to €10,701 million in fiscal year FY22. The Group, which owns 17 of the Top 100 Spirits Brands, holds one of the most prestigious and comprehensive portfolios in the industry with over 240 premium brands distributed across more than 160 markets. Pernod Ricard’s portfolio includes Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Malibu liqueur or Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes. The Group’s mission is to unlock the magic of human connections by bringing “Good Times from a Good Place”, in line with its Sustainability and Responsibility roadmap. Pernod Ricard’s decentralised organisation empowers its 19,480 employees to be on-the-ground ambassadors of its purposeful and inclusive culture of conviviality, bringing people together in meaningful, sustainable and responsible ways to create value over the long term. Executing its strategic plan, Transform & Accelerate, Pernod Ricard now relies on its “Conviviality Platform”, a new growth model based on data and artificial intelligence to meet the ever-changing demand of consumers. Pernod Ricard is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI; ISIN Code:FR0000120693) and is part of the CAC 40 and Eurostoxx 50 indices.<
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