Irish Spirits Exports Increase by 10%

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Irish Spirits Exports Increase by 10%

Irish Spirits Exports Increase by 10%
October 04
09:29 2019

Irish spirits exports exceeded €1 billion for the first time in 2018. The value of spirits exports from Ireland increased by 10.2% between 2017 and 2018, from €916 million to over €1 billion, according to the annual Irish Spirits Market Report, released by Drinks Ireland/Spirits.

The report, which assesses the performance of Ireland’s domestic spirits market and the spirits export industry, found that overall sales in the home market increased by 6.6 per cent, from 2.25 million 9-litre cases in 2017 to 2.40 million cases in 2018. This was driven by consumer demand for Irish whiskey and gin. This sales growth comes even though overall alcohol consumption has declined in Ireland from its peak in 2001*.

Irish whiskey is the second most popular spirit in Ireland, with a 25.1 per cent share of the market. Sales increased by 5.4 per cent between 2017 and 2018. Gin sales soared in Ireland last year, up by 31.8 per cent during the same period. Gin maintained its position as the fastest growing spirit in the domestic market. Despite a strong performance by both gin and whiskey, vodka remains Ireland’s favourite spirits drink, accounting for 33.7 per cent of all spirits sales, up by 4.8 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

Ireland’s world-renowned spirits, recognised for their quality, authenticity and taste around the world, continue to perform strongly in export markets. This is particularly true for two of Ireland’s protected ‘Geographic Indication’ (GI) spirit categories with sales increasing by 7.5 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

The report also found that the spirits sector makes a significant contribution to the economy, providing €372.2 million in net excise receipts to the Government in 2018.

Aoife Clarke, Chair of Drinks Ireland/Spirits and Senior Director of Public Affairs, International, Beam Suntory, says: “This is the third industry and market report issued by Drinks Ireland/Spirits and we are delighted that it illustrates the continued strength of the Irish spirits sector. Ireland has a dynamic domestic spirits market and Irish spirits exports continue to grow as this report demonstrates. Proof, if it is needed, is found in the fact that 2018 was first year that spirits exports were worth more than €1 billion to the Republic of Ireland’s economy. Ireland’s Consumers at home and abroad now have more choice than ever when it comes to Irish spirits.”

She continues: “However, there are clouds on the horizon. The current number one and number two export destinations for Ireland’s drinks products are the United States (by a significant distance) and the United Kingdom. Both markets will be seriously challenged in years to come because of the re-emergence of barriers to trade and uncertainty around future relationships. There are no winners in a trade war, just losers, particularly among consumers. But our sector is resilient and with the continued support of consumers and the Irish Government will continue to innovate, grow and lead.”

*Alcohol consumption has decreased by 23.2 per cent since 2001, according to Revenue Commissioner and CSO data.


Pictured at the launch of the report were (L-R): Aoife Clarke, Chair of Drinks Ireland/Spirits and Senior Director of Public Affairs, International, Beam Suntory; Minister of State John Paul Phelan; Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland; and Vincent McGovern, Head of Drinks Ireland Spirits.

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