Beverage exports up 6% in 2011

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Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, Ireland’s beverage exports jumped six per cent in value to €1.22 billion last year, driven by strong growth in whiskey exports, according to Bord Bia in its Export Performance & Prospects review of 2011, published recently. This compares with beverage exports of €1.15 billion in 2010.

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11 January 2012

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A strong focus on New Product Development coupled with increasing volumes to emerging markets.

Whiskey continued to show double-digit growth in over 40 markets with a more modest growth displayed by cream liqueurs, beer and cider.

Bord Bia attributes the key export drivers in beverages primarily to the strength of the global market for Irish whiskey and the ‘polarisation in demand dynamics between emerging & developed markets’.

For many categories, emerging economies in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe were the key growth drivers in 2011. Outside of these markets the US has proven to be the most resilient, showing increased exports in all major categories.
In developed markets consumers continue juggling their ongoing desire for premium and luxury goods with their current economic circumstances, states Bord Bia.

The UK remains the principle market for Irish beverage exports with trade estimates up by around three per cent to reach €485 million or 42.5 per cent of beverage exports, led by whiskey but with improved cider volumes and – as the year progressed – improved trade for cream liqueurs which shoed a pickup during 2011 as increased volumes helped boost trade while the level of price discounting slowed as the year progressed.

Exports to other European markets showed growth in 2011 led by whiskey. The key markets during the year remained Italy, France and the Netherlands with overall exports to ‘other European markets’ put at €270 million or 20.5 per cent.

Shipments to international markets were boosted by a strong performance from the US market as well as South Africa, Australia and to a lesser extent Asia and the Middle East. Exports for 2011 to the region are estimated at €460 million or 37 per cent.

Beer exports showed a modest rise in 2011 with exports to the US performing very strongly.

Cider exports to the UK showed further single-digit growth by both volume and value while overall beer exports are estimated to have grown by four per cent last year.

Exports of mineral waters and coffee were the strongest performers in the non-alcoholic sector.

As for 2012, Bord Bia summarises, “Despite the current economic situation, consumers in many parts of the world seem to be still willing to purchase premium-and-above spirits and this category is expected to grow between 2011 and 2016 according to the IWSR Forecast Report. The US is forecast to remain the leading premium sprits market with sales of 60 million cases, a projected increase of 12 million cases in the period followed by China”.

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