Strong performance by Irish alcohol spirits sector

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Strong performance by Irish alcohol spirits sector

Strong performance by Irish alcohol spirits sector
August 21
11:00 2023
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The spirits sector once again demonstrated its strength with sales in Ireland increasing by just over 6% in 2022 to just under 2.7 million nine litre cases, while the value of exports also soared by 17.3% to almost €1.5 billion, according to the Irish Spirits Market Report 2022 from the Drinks Ireland, the Ibec sector that represents the interests of alcohol drinks manufacturers and suppliers on the island of Ireland. These increases continued the gains seen in 2021 and moved both domestic sales and exports ahead to their highest levels ever.

Irish whiskey’s spectacular growth continued with export sales reaching 15.2 million cases in 2022. The United States continued to be the key export destination for the category. The United Kingdom is the next biggest market globally for Irish whiskey. Two markets that have seen significant growth are Poland and South Africa. In 2022, Poland grew by over 24% vs 2021 to become Irish whiskey’s fourth biggest market, overtaking Germany. South Africa grew by over 31% in volume to move up one place to sixth.

The Irish Cream success story continues as it drew even closer to the 10 million case benchmark in sales during 2022. This is a testament to all the Irish Cream producers on the island of Ireland who continue to produce the highest quality brands that are welcomed all over the world. Imitators continue to be a challenge to police, particularly in markets where the Irish Cream GI does not have the same protections it enjoys in the European Union. This is an area of focus for Drinks Ireland.

Irish Poitín’s estimated sales in 2022 showed some decline compared to an exceptionally strong 2021. While sales are in line with 2018 and 2019 and the trends are positive, the domestic Irish and the GTR markets are key opportunities for development in the short-term. The reopening of Global Travel Retail in 2022 was especially welcome for Poitín. However, there is still much that can be done to help promote and grow this Irish spirits GI category.

The report also shows gin’s meteoric rise in the last ten years has slowed in 2022 (down 1.7% vs 2021). Interestingly, that slowdown is driven by “standard” gin sales, with “premium” gin sales powering ahead by 15% in 2022. This shows that while gin drinkers may be drinking a lesser quantity of gin, they are selecting more premium offerings.

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