Bushmills owner raises glass to turnover of £33.5m
The company behind Bushmills whiskey has reported turnover of £33.5m in its latest results - up 6% from £31.6m a year earlier.
But pre-tax profits at Co Antgrim's Old Bushmills Distillery Ltd, now owned by international drinks giant Becle, were down from £6.9m to £6.6m.
Staff numbers for the business in Bushmills on the north coast during 2018 were steady at 111, with 72 working in production, 13 in selling and distribution and 26 in corporate and administrative functions.
The company report said the business had achieved a good level of performance in its major markets as "one of the leaders in the Irish whiskey category".
But it said performance faced risk from factors including competitor activity, market trends and consumer behaviour.
As well as making its own Bushmills whiskey, it also produces the spirit for other parties.
According to a strategic report filed with the accounts, "it is the directors' intention to continue to develop the present activities of the company through the continued expansion into new markets and growth of the brands".
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It said it conducts some of its business in foreign currency, particularly US dollars and euros - leaving it exposed to foreign currency exchange rate risk. However, potential risk was monitored.
Last week, a UK trade deal with South Africa and five other southern African nations was announced which will allow whiskey from Bushmills, Co Antrim to keep exporting duty-free to the region following Brexit.
Without the agreement, distillers including the Old Bushmills Distillery on the north coast would have faced a tariff of around 130p per litre following Brexit, according to industry body Drinks Ireland.
But UK trade negotiators have reached a continuity deal with Mozambique and the Southern African Customs Union. South Africa is the fifth-largest export market for Irish whiskey.