Working from the ground up
Cork Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual conference next Wednesday, looking at the different ways indigenous companies in Cork can grow, both in term of business and jobs. Peter Horgan spoke with Peter Moorehead of local success story Jameson ahead of the conference
One of Cork’s biggest success stories over the past number of decades has been Irish distillers Pernod Richard and their world famous Jameson, distilled in Midleton. The brand is now universally known, after a period of stagnation was left behind by a brave new approach to marketing, in the early 1950s.
The reason for the worldwide success is down to marketing the drink from the ground up, according to Peter Moorehead, Production Director at Jameson, who is speaking at the conference.
“We’ve been around a long time, since 1780,” says Mr Moorehead, who will be speaking on innovation and how to make ideas work.
“Irish whiskey saw a renaissance in the image from the 1950s and 60s. We have a brand here that is full of heritage and age but we took an innovative, ground up approach to the markets and to marketing by reintroducing the product to different markets.”
According to the Blackrock native, the company had two key aims through the new marketing venture – create a long term, sustainable growth market and reconnect on the ground with key players such as bar staff and journalists to develop a word of mouth knock on effect.
“It wasn’t the classic marketing strategy with above the line ads,” says Mr Moorehead.
“We used young Irish graduates to go into bars and speak with staff and explain the product hands-on with bar staff. We started this strategy in the early 90s with four or five students and this year we have over 35 scattered around the world.”
Jameson was named Whiskey Distiller of the Year and Whiskey Brand Innovator of the Year recently at the Icons of Whiskey Awards while the distiller has also been awarded Distillery of the Year in recent years.
Mr Moorehead insists that the approach Jameson took to the market is something that can be transferred to any good Irish product looking to expand into the international marketplace.
“I think we sometimes underplay, or aren’t aware of, the effect an Irish product can have on people as a brand product. We’re known worldwide to be an approachable people and that helps a lot when trying to promote your product. We also have a quality young workforce that is, quite simply, a pleasure to work with. When you see them in action it really is a sight, it’s just a question of getting the right workforce in the right circumstance and markets.”
Mr Moorehead also highlights that innovation underpins a massive part of the Jameson drive, not just in the Midleton brand but in the whiskey category as a whole, through the relaunch of the Single Pot Still category last year as a super premium whiskey to take on Scotch and Bourbon.
Other speakers at the conference include Liam Casey of PCH International, Niall Olden of Kernel Capital, Enda McDonnell of Enterprise Ireland, Daragh Murphy of Hairy Baby Clothing and Dr Mary Keeling of the Centre for Economic Analysis.
The conference will take place on Wednesday, 3 October, in association with IBM Ireland in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island from 12.30pm to 5.30pm. Tickets cost €75 for members and €125 for non-members of the cork Chamber of Commerce.