Spirits giant buys Aussie-founded brewery

Eight Degrees Brewing’s Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace

An Irish brewery co-founded by an Australian has been acquired by spirits giant Pernod Ricard to support the continued growth of its Jameson Caskmates whiskey.

Mitchelstown, Ireland-based Eight Degrees Brewing was founded by Australian Cam Wallace and Kiwi Scott Baigent in 2010.

Pernod Ricard subsidiary Irish Distillers announced its acquisition of the brewery this week, following the runaway success of Jameson Caskmates, which is made by finishing Jameson Irish whiskey in craft beer-seasoned barrels.

“Following a successful pilot test in the Irish market in 2014, Jameson Caskmates has had exceptional success since its launch, selling almost 200,000 cases into more than 40 markets last year,” said Irish Distillers production director Tommy Keane.

“With this success comes a need to plan for the future and that’s what led to this exciting deal with Cam and Scott in Eight Degrees Brewing. We’re looking forward to working with their team to continue to grow Jameson Caskmates on the world stage.”

Irish Distillers has largely sourced beer for the production of Jameson Caskmates from Cork-based brewery Franciscan Well, owned by Molson Coors.

In Australia, Jameson released a special Young Henrys edition of Caskmates in 2017. It has also worked with seven different American breweries on similar products.

The deal with Eight Degrees aims to support the continued growth of Caskmates globally afterFranciscan Well was reportedly unable to guarantee supply of beer into the future.

“When we set up Eight Degrees Brewing in Mitchelstown in 2010 we wanted to brew naturally adventurous, great tasting beers that were more exciting and innovative than anything else in the market,” founders Scott Baigent and Cam Wallace said in a statement.

“Becoming part of the Irish Distillers family means that we have the long-term capabilities to continue on this mission as well as being part of the very exciting Jameson Caskmates story.

“We’re looking forward to working with Tommy and the team in Midleton while continuing to create new and exciting beers for our customers.

“Together with all our employees, we will continue to work at Eight Degrees.”

Originally from Melbourne, Wallace trained as a chartered accountant and worked in corporate roles for 15 years prior to studying brewing in Berlin and launching Eight Degrees.

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