Hi-Spirits is to distribute Paddy, the world’s fourth biggest Irish whiskey brand, in the UK from 1 July.

The new agreement covers distribution in the UK on-trade, off-trade and travel retail markets, and follows the acquisition of the Paddy brand by US spirits company Sazerac in May.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Paddy is a wonderful fit with our existing portfolio. Both Irish and American whiskey have seen strong growth over recent years, and being able to offer our customers Paddy alongside the Buffalo Trace American whiskey portfolio is a significant development.

“We have a very successful track record in growing Sazerac brands, including Buffalo Trace and Fireball, in the UK market. The addition of Paddy, coming hot on the heels of Sazerac’s acquisition of Southern Comfort and Tuaca earlier this year, means it’s an exciting – and busy –  time for Hi-Spirits.”

Globally, Irish whiskey experienced the fastest volume growth of any spirits category in the last five years, and the Irish whiskey industry is projecting 100% growth by 2020. Sazerac has indicated that its acquisition of the Paddy brand will be supported by a sizeable investment to support its future growth.

Paddy Irish Whiskey will continue to be produced by former brand owner Irish Distillers at the Midleton Distillery in Cork. Irish Distillers is the producer of the world’s best-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Sazerac is one of New Orleans’ oldest family owned, privately held companies.