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Diageo drops Hackler Poitin

The Irish Times Mon, Mar 9, 2020

The distribution rights of Hackler Poitin, the Diageo-owned white spirit brand, may be acquired by Cooley Distillery following the decision to withdraw the product from the market 17 months after its launch. Diageo stated yesterday that Hackler had not reached "threshold volumes" and the gap in the market targeted at its launch was not there anymore, given the strength of the company's white spirit portfolio after the merger of Guinness with Grand Metropolitan.

But Dr. John Teeling, the chairman of the Dundalk-based Cooley Distillery company, which produced Hackler on Diageo's behalf, said that he was hopeful of taking over the marketing of the product on a royalty basis. He added that Cooley had only produced 15,000 cases - 180,000 bottles - last year, compared to a volume which was 10 times greater for its whiskey production.

While Diageo would not disclose how much Hackler cost its subsidiary company, United Distillers and Vintners, Dr. Teeling said he believed it would have been at least £2 million. He said that in Dublin alone last year, £300,000 had been spent marketing the brand, beginning with its St Patrick's Day launch.

in brand was "a very interesting concept", but his principal reason behind seeking to take it over was the maintainence of the distilling, bottling and packaging resources which went into Hackler.

Marketing difficulties may have contributed to the product's downfall. A Diageo spokesman said yesterday that the product had been alternatively perceived as a mixable drink and as a "neat" spirit because of its association with its illicit poitin relation.

Ireland and Britain are the last markets to serve the grain-based product which has already been withdrawn from the US and five other countries.