Ireland’s global influence goes way beyond St. Patrick

Ireland's alcohol exports are growing steadily, the ABFI says
Ireland's alcohol exports are growing steadily, the ABFI says

As the world prepares to celebrate Ireland over the weekend with St. Patrick's Day, the ABFI continues to eye year-round growth for Irish exports in beer and spirits, including making in-roads into new territories.



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16 March 2018 | 0


The Alcoholic Beverage Federation of Ireland has released an analysis of Ireland’s drinks industry exports ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, revealing that exports grew by 8% in 2017 to €1.5bn, with Irish made beer and spirits shipping to more than 130 markets around the world. The top 5 markets in 2017 were the UK, Germany, France, Canada and the USA, while sales also grew in Japan, Russia, Nigeria and South Africa.

In 2017, overall EU sales rose to €327m, up 4 per cent versus 2016. Exports to North America also rose steadily to some €650m in 2017, driven by the growing popularity of Irish whiskey as well as a strong performance from Irish cream liqueurs in the United States. Meanwhile, bigger players like Irish Distillers are exporting Irish-made products to smaller markets such as Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and South Korea.

Meanwhile, Irish whiskey exports grew by almost 15 per cent in 2017. Irish gin is expected to go global in 2018, with exports predicted to grow significantly in the US, Canadian, UK and German markets.

One of the Irish companies with growing exports is the Carlow Brewing Company, which manufactures the O’Hara’s range of craft beers and stouts. “Our Irish craft beers are now exporting to over 35 countries, and we are experiencing double-digit growth year-on-year,” says Seamus O’Hara, the company’s founder. “Our biggest markets are currently France, Italy and the USA. Canada has become a big market for our Traditional Irish Stout, and Germany performed exceptionally well for us in 2017.”

Carlow Brewing has also opened new markets in Switzerland, the Netherlands the last 12 months we have also seen new markets open up in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Serbia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. We have also just sent beer to Australia for the first time.”

Patricia Callan, Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland called Ireland’s drinks industry “an export powerhouse.

“This analysis confirms the distance our quality products reach. Based on Bord Bia research, we know that consumers around the world are continuing to choose our premium products and the association with Ireland is proving powerful.”

Callan added, yet again, that it’s not all rosey in the garden for Ireland’s drinks industry, and that there remains a lot of work to do to safeguard exports and the domestic market from Brexit and other legislative issues.

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