Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sales of Blended Whiskey in U.S.A.


asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce what steps have been taken to promote the export and sales of blended whiskey in the United States of America; what effect these steps have had; whether he is satisfied that these steps form the most effective method of expanding the sales of blended whiskey; and what amount of money has been expended on advertising of this type of whiskey since the inception of the campaign.

The official promotion of exports of Irish whiskey to the United States has been entrusted to Córas Tráchtála Teoranta. In conjunction with the whiskey exporters, that body has been carrying on an extensive advertising campaign for all types of Irish whiskey. During the year ended 31st March, 1959, C.T.T. expended approximately £45,000 on this campaign while it plans to spend £80,000 during the year ending 31st March, 1960. The individual whiskey exporters have also spent considerable sums advertising their own special brands.

I am not in a position to give separate figures of expenditure on advertising blended whiskey. The advertising campaign covers all types of Irish whiskey without distinction.

I am satisfied that this method of advertising is the best means open to the Government, or to any Government agency, for promoting sales of Irish whiskey in the United States.

It is as yet too soon to judge the success of the advertising campaign but it is significant that in the last quarter of 1958 exports of Irish whiskey to the U.S.A. and sales of Irish whiskey by American importers, were 12 per cent. and 50 per cent., respectively, greater than in the corresponding quarter of 1957. It is clear from the letters which have reached Córas Tráchtála Teoranta that widespread consumer interest has been stimulated.

Has that widespread interest on the part of American consumers been stimulated in connection with blended whiskey? That is the question.

In so far as our advertising campaign is concerned, it deals only with Irish whiskey. It does not distinguish between blended or straight whiskey or potstill.

Is it not a fact that in the Córas Tráchtála pamphlet which was specially issued blended whiskey and potstill whiskey are referred to as two separate items and the campaign is directed to ensure that the sales of blended whiskey in America will go up as well as those of potstill? Can the Par. Sec. tell the House whether the campaign in connection with blended whiskey has proved successful?

Reports reaching us indicate that there is a falling off in American taste for blended whiskey and the American palate is now inclined to favour potstill or straight whiskey.

That is the biggest joke I have heard in this House for a long time.