Conor McGregor’s whiskey crosses Canadian border to cash in on Irish whiskey boom

Conor McGregor’s Irish whiskey label, Proper No. Twelve, has entered the Canadian retail market, having become one of the most powerful brands of its kind mere months after launching in the US.

(Photo: Eire Born Spirits)

The whiskey is now available in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Yukon Territory, and will be available in remaining provinces and territories soon, according to an emailed statement.

“I am proud to bring Proper No. Twelve to Canada where many of my fans and friends live. Many thousands of Canadians have asked for Proper, and we have now delivered our delicious blend of golden grain and single malt. This is pure liquid gold aged four years in Bourbon barrels,” said McGregor.

MMA champion McGregor’s whiskey label also caused a stir when it was finally released last September.

Proper No. Twelve produced by Eire Born Spirits, is a blended whiskey made by former label Bushmills distiller David Elderman. McGregor is the majority shareholder, CEO and chairman of the brand.

The spirit flew off shelves in Ireland following its release, with Tesco stores being forced to ration customers to two bottles per purchase. The store also posted a warning to customers on Facebook that supplies were running low. It is distributed by US-based importer Proximo Spirits, which also handles Bushmills Irish whiskey as well as Kraken rum, and Jose Cuervo.

The new launch comes as sales of Irish whiskey have started to ramp up worldwide. According to a new report published by drinks giant Edrington-Beam Suntory, in the UK, Irish whiskey sales could rise by more than 21%, and be worth around £163.9 million in the next three years.

In 2017, 1.9 million bottles of Irish whiskey were sold in Australia, and according to Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) the volume of Irish whiskey exports to Australia increased by 35% in the first 10 months of 2018.

Sales of Irish whiskey soared in its home country in 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing spirits categories behind gin.

Whiskey is also one of the fastest-growing spirits categories in the US. Irish whiskey sales surpassed $1 billion in the US for the first time this year, something McGregor himself took credit for in an Instagram post in May.

McGregor has also claimed his is the top-selling Irish whiskey at Dublin Airport.

McGregor’s whiskey sold approximately 200,000 cases – or 2.4 million bottles – in its first six months of trading, according to the company.

The whiskey is particularly popular with consumers in the US. It the best-selling Irish whiskey on Amazon at the time of writing, ahead of Pernod Ricard-owned Jameson, and fifth overall behind brands such as Chivas Regal, Woodford Reserve Bourbon, and Jack Daniels’ Gentleman Jack.

McGregor had initially tried to launch it under the name “Notorious” in 2016. He withdrew the trademark application in September 2018, after facing opposition from Ireland’s Carlow Brewing Company, which launched its own “Notorious Red IPA” with a trademark for the same name in 2016.

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