Aoife Clarke appointed chair of Irish Spirits Association
Beam Suntory's Aoife Clarke has been appointed chairperson of the Irish Spirits Association - the first woman to hold the position in the association's 20-year history.
15 December 2017
Beam Suntory’s Aoife Clarke has been appointed chair of the Irish Spirits Association (ISA), the representative body responsible for promoting the interests of the Irish spirits industry. Clarke, who was previously vice-chair of the ISA, will be the first female chair of the association in its 20-year history. She takes over as chair from John Harte of Donohoes Drink Company.
Boasting extensive experience working in the drinks industry and in public affairs, Clarke has been the senior director of international public affairs at Beam Suntory for over four years. Prior to this, she was a senior executive at Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), and she also worked for the Irish BioIndustry Association and PharmaChemical Ireland.
Pat Rigney of the The Shed Distillery, the makers of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, has been appointed vice-chair.
“The Irish spirits industry is at an important point in time,” Clarke said. “The sector is undergoing vibrant growth and exports have increased substantially in recent years.
“There are huge opportunities ahead, especially for Ireland’s GI spirits,” she continued. “Irish whiskey is going from strength to strength and is now the fastest growing spirits category in the world. Irish Cream Liqueur is emerging from a lost decade, with sales on the rise again.
“However, there are also significant challenges on the horizon for the sector, such as Brexit and the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
“I’m delighted to take on the position of chair in the ISA,” she added.