Belfast Telegraph

Eyebrows raised over implications of McGregor's whiskey brand name

MMA star Conor McGregor promotes his whiskey, Proper No. Twelve
MMA star Conor McGregor promotes his whiskey, Proper No. Twelve

By Samantha McCaughren

Concerns have been raised with the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) over whether the name of MMA star Conor McGregor's whiskey Proper No. Twelve might be interpreted as being a 12-year-old whiskey.

The spirit is distilled and bottled at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Co Antrim.

It is understood that a committee of the IWA has been looking at the issue for some time and research has been carried out into consumer perception of the brand.

Proper No. Twelve has been one of the most successful ever spirit launches in the drinks industry. It is named after Dublin 12 where Mr McGregor grew up.

The IWA declined to comment on queries on Proper No. Twelve.

"We do not publicly comment on any questions in relation to possible complaints," said the organisation in a statement.

"We do work to ensure Irish whiskey brands are in compliance with the laws governing Irish whiskey and with the FSAI labelling guidelines."

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Irish Whiskey is a protected geographical indication (GI) in all EU member countries. The statement said the association is committed "to protecting the good name of Irish whiskey by ensuring the implementation of the rules as provided for in laws governing the labelling of Irish whiskey." This mainly relates to EU regulation on spirits and food labelling and Irish statutory guidelines, it said.

"Where we have concerns about a label, or where we receive queries or complaints we deal with the matter in accordance with our own agreed internal procedures.

"We assess and evaluate each individual query or complaint confidentially, impartially and objectively; and we take steps to address any infringing brands."

Efforts to contact Proper No Twelve for comment were unsuccessful.

Some industry insiders are very supportive of Mr McGregor's whiskey, believing it will bring new customers into the category.

However, it may impact on the growth of other brands. Analyst Edward Mundy suggested a slowdown of growth in Jameson could be partly due to Proper No. Twelve and other new entrants.

Turnover at Bushmills rose by almost £4m during 2017 to £31.6m. Pre-tax profits were slightly down, from £5.8m to £5.3m, but the distillery is continuing to grow and expand.

Belfast Telegraph