Another boost for Irish Whiskey tourism in 2017
The Irish Whiskey Association has revealed a record amount of growth in Ireland's whiskey tourism, with a record number of visitors to Ireland's whiskey distilleries and visitor centres during 2017.
11 January 2018
Ireland’s whiskey renaissance continued with aplomb during 2017, with a marked rise in visitors to distilleries around the country througout the year. Visitor centre attendance rose by 11% to 814,000 during the year, according to new figures published by the Irish Whiskey Association.
The figure is also notable for representing a 25% increase on visitors from 2015, meaning the industry is enjoying an extended period of growth – albeit at a slowing rate. To support this growth, the IWA published its Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy in 2015.
The association’s figure of 814,000 visitors related to 12 distillery visitor centres in Ireland and Northern Ireland, including two brand new locations which opened during 2017. These are the Slane Distillery in Co. Meath and Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. A thirteenth distillery opened this month at Rademon Estate Distillery in Co. Down.
Cork, Louth and Dublin are expected to see more new distilleries open during 2018, with many more proposed in the next decade.
The report also showed that a majority of visitors to Ireland’s whiskey distilleries come from the US, UK, Germany, France and Northern Europe.
“Continued double-digit growth proves that Irish whiskey tourism is a hot trend right now, and an increasingly important part of Ireland’s tourism offering,” said William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association. “Whiskey tourism is delivering tourists, jobs and investment to local economies right across Ireland, from Dublin’s Liberties to rural communities.”
The association plans to further promote Ireland as a destination for whiskey tourism; the strategy proposes a target to more than double the visitor numbers to 1.9m by 2025.
Lavelle also voiced his concerns over the effect the Alcohol Bill might have on tourism, were the promotion and advertisement of Irish whiskey to be curtailed.
“The repeated refusal of the Department of Health to engage with industry means that the consequences of this legislation have not been fully assessed,” he said. “With the Alcohol Bill due to come before Dáil Éireann soon, we are calling on the Minister and TDs to engage with us on reasonable amendments.
“This would better balance the Bill,” he added ,”ensuring the growing Irish whiskey tourism industry is protected.”