Belfast Telegraph

Gin boom and new lager boost Diageo's Northern Ireland profits by 9.7%

A boom in gin sales and the launch of Rockshore lager helped drive turnover of over £194m at one of Diageo's Northern Ireland businesses last year (David Cheskin/PA)
A boom in gin sales and the launch of Rockshore lager helped drive turnover of over £194m at one of Diageo's Northern Ireland businesses last year (David Cheskin/PA)
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

A boom in gin sales and the launch of Rockshore lager helped drive turnover of over £194m at one of Diageo's Northern Ireland businesses last year.

The drinks giant behind brands such as Guinness, Baileys, Smirnoff and Gordon's gin saw pre-tax profits rise 9.7% to £6.1m for its two Northern Ireland entities, Diageo NI Ltd and Diageo Global Supply IBC Ltd.

Diageo's presence here includes a £44m facility in Mallusk, where it produces Baileys for the global market. It also operates a bottling and packaging plant in east Belfast and runs a sales and marketing division.

Its turnover in Northern Ireland slipped from £195.2m to £194.7m in the 12 months to June 30, 2018, but the drinks company said that was largely down to new accounting practices within its Belfast-based global supply subsidiary, where revenues appeared to be down by £11.5m.

But turnover within Diageo NI Ltd rose 9% to £133.4m last year, driven by a growing market share for beers and spirits.

Last year saw Diageo successfully launch its new Rockshore brand, which quickly secured a considerable market share.

"Rockshore Irish Lager launched in Northern Ireland February 2018. It is now the number five draught lager in the marketplace here and is doing particularly well in the off trade," said a company spokesman.

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The drinks firm's global parent, Diageo plc, assesses the performance of its operation here on all-island basis.

Interim results for 2018 revealed that net sales on the island grew by 5% last year, with Diageo's new brands offsetting a decline in sales for Guinness.

Beer sales grew 3% north and south of the border, driven by the launch of Rockshore lager and the continued growth of Hop House 13.

Diageo said the increases partially offset a 3% decline in sales of draught Guinness.

Belfast Telegraph

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