Jack Daniels Now Makes Irish Whiskey

JACKThe company has acquired Slane Castle Irish Whiskey, and will invest about $50 million to build a new distillery in Ireland.

Jack Daniel?s whiskey maker Brown-Forman is venturing into the fast-growing Irish whiskey market, with plans to sell new Irish whiskeys in the spring of 2017.

The maker of U.S. whiskeys such as Woodford Reserve and Old Forester has acquired Slane Castle Irish Whiskey, and will invest about $50 million to build a new distillery in County Meath, Ireland, which is less than an hour by car from Dublin.

Bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys have posted very strong sales growth in the U.S. in recent years, stealing market share from vodka as consumers are lured by blended whiskeys that help introduce new consumers to the category, as well as savvy marketing that often talks about a brand?s heritage and quality. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskeys grew by 7.4% in 2014, but Irish whiskey jumped an even stronger 9.1%. Irish whiskey, which is a far smaller category by volume, leapt an even more impressive 17.5% in 2013, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of Amrica.

?Irish whiskey has been one of the fastest growing segments in the global whiskey category over the last few years,? said Lawson Whiting, Brown-Forman?s chief brands & strategy officer.

Brown-Forman ?BF.B 1.67% , which also sells tequilas and vodkas, for decades imported and marketed Bushmills Irish whiskey, but lost those rights in 2001. It hasn?t ever owned its own Irish whiskey brand.

Read more at?FORTUNE