Drinks Ireland | Spirits launches campaign to protect Irish cream liqueur

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue (centre), alongside Johnny Harte, chair of the Drinks Ireland Irish Cream working group and co-founder of Five Farms Irish Cream, with Aengus King, director of Drinks Ireland | Spirits

Global sales of Irish cream liqueur to break 10 million cases for the first time



28 February 2023

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In a move to address the growing threat of imitator Irish cream liqueur products, Drinks Ireland | Spirits is launching a new international campaign called #ExploreIrishCream, which will also promote the category in key international markets, at a time when global sales are soaring.

Ibec trade association Drinks Ireland | Spirits has also published a new report that will be distributed among producing members, customers, the international supply chain, and key stakeholders in order to help achieve this.

The report outlines the international trade protections that safeguard Irish cream liqueur, including a Geographic Indication (GI) across the EU, UK and international markets where Free Trade Agreements are in place.

The GI status means that Irish cream liqueur must be produced on the island of Ireland, with a specific production process and approved ingredients including Irish whiskey and fresh Irish dairy cream.

Despite these protections, there are a number of non-Irish cream products in the marketplace that aim to imitate authentic Irish cream liqueur.

According to Drinks Ireland | Spirits, deceptive marketing and misleading labelling is commonly used by imitators and non-Irish producers to mislead the consumer into thinking that their product is genuine Irish cream liqueur, or of Irish origin. This can include the use of symbols like shamrocks, Irish harps and Celtic crosses.

The new report aims to empower the supply chain, including producers, wholesalers and distributors, to identify, document and report potentially fake products to Drinks Ireland | Spirits and the relevant authorities, so action can be taken.

This comes as sales of Irish cream liqueur grow at home and abroad. In 2021, sales outstripped those of 2019, standing just shy of breaking the 10 million cases barrier for the first time.

“The Irish cream liqueur sector is a national success story with a global footprint. It is a sector we are hugely proud of,” said Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, speaking at the launch of the campaign and report.

“The sector uses products which are intrinsically linked to Irish agriculture through the use of fresh Irish cream and Irish whiskey,” Minister McConalogue added. “The Geographic Indication is vital to safeguard the authentic and unique nature of our Irish cream liqueur internationally, and there is a clear need for ongoing vigilance to protect these products in our key export markets, in consultation with my Department.”

Johnny Harte, chair of the Drinks Ireland Irish Cream working group and co-founder of Five Farms Irish Cream, said the sector was at “a pivotal moment, as sales continue to grow globally, with particular success in markets such as the UK, North America and Germany.

“With this growth though comes threats in the form of imitation products,” Harte added. “The ambition of our campaign and report is to empower producers, wholesalers, distributors and others to document and report potentially fake products.”

Aengus King, director of Drinks Ireland | Spirits, added that the new campaign and report “seeks to promote the category among key stakeholders,” by “highlighting the unique, genuine and authentic nature” of Irish cream liqueur products.



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