Irish Whiskey Exports Surge

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Surge in spirit exports as ‘spectacular’ growth of Irish whiskey continues

UK becomes second-biggest global market for the product as Russia falls out of top five

Some 15.2 million cases of Irish whiskey were sold at home and abroad in 2022 as spirit-makers in the Republic shook off the remaining effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total value of Irish spirits exports surged to nearly €1.5 billion in 2022, up 17.3 per cent in the year, new figures from employer lobby group Ibec’s Drinks Ireland division on Friday show. It follows a strong rebound of 25 per cent in 2021 after a precipitous 15.6 per cent fall in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Sales volumes of Irish protected spirits, including whiskey, Irish Cream and Poitín, improved by 5.7 per cent in the year to 25.2 million nine-litre cases, with the United States retaining its status as the top destination for Irish tipples.

In particular, Irish whiskey continued its “spectacular global growth”, reaching 15.3 million cases in 2022, an increase of 8.6 per cent. The US again remained the top destination for the product with close to 5.9 million cases imported, slightly ahead of last year, while domestic sales of Irish whiskey grew 10 per cent to 686,900 cases from 619,600 in 2021.

The UK became the second-biggest international market for the product, with Russia falling out of the top five in the wake of the war in Ukraine as spirit-makers pulled their products from the market there. Irish Distillers, which makes Jameson and Powers and other leading brands, subsequently said in May that it has now removed its products from Russian shelves.

The “meteoric rise” of gin, meanwhile, showed signs of slowing last year, Drinks Ireland said, with global and domestic sales, including Irish brands, falling 1.7 per cent in the year in volume terms.

Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland, said the so-called premiumisation trend continued into 2022 across all spirits as “the culture around drinking in Ireland” continues to evolve.

Bryan Fallon, chair of Drinks Ireland, said: “There were a number of key challenges in 2022, most notably the impact of inflation on raw materials, which put huge pressure on the industry and continues to do so.”

Article originally appeared here in Irish Times

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