Irish drinks exports increased by 19% in 2021

Irish Whiskey is booming around the world, having evolved in recent years into a trendy drink for all demographics

Reached €1.62 billion last year, according to the latest Bord Bia data



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15 March 2022

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As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, people around the world will be toasting with their favourite Irish beer, cider, or spirit.

Renowned for their quality, and rich with heritage, Drinks Ireland is highlighting the global reach of the country’s drinks brands, which are a pivotal part of Ireland’s famous food and drinks offering.

The total value of Irish drinks exports increased by 19% in 2021 to €1.62 billion according to the latest Bord Bia data. While heavily impacted by Covid-19, and particularly the global closure of the on-trade (pubs, restaurants, hotel bars), exports remained resilient, and producers are now focused on recovery and further growth.

Irish whiskey exports grew by 25% in 2021 and were valued at €855 million. Irish cream liqueur exports also demonstrated significant recovery last year, up 19% and valued at €367m. Also in the spirits category, gin recorded growth of 38%, albeit from a lower base.

Beer exports were down by 3% last year due to the closure of the on-trade channel but were still valued at €246 million.  The top export destinations for Irish beer are the United Kingdom, the USA and France.

Elsewhere, the UK, USA and Australia are the most popular export markets for our cider. Drinks Ireland estimates that cider exports from Ireland increased by 33% between 2020 and 2021, from €58 million to €77 million.

The strong connections between the US and Ireland are evident, as this is the top destination, accounting for over half of our drinks exports. The UK is also an important market, as well as countries in the EU, and the global travel retail trade sector.

The Irish connection is evident the world-over though, and there are also several emerging markets for Irish drinks exports. Africa continues to be a promising region, with shipments more than doubling in 2021 to reach a value of €53 million.

Asia is also a promising market exporter will be targeting in the years ahead. Total drinks exports to the region grew by almost 40% in 2021 to reach €38 million.

“Irish drinks producers take great pride in creating quality products that are renowned the world over,” said Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland. “These products are often the first touchpoint people in foreign countries have with Ireland, and many of our Irish brands are rich with history and heritage. Overseas visitors who enjoy one of our drinks products at home may wish to learn more about this when they take a trip here and go to drinks-related visitor centres, or indeed a local Irish pub. It was promising to see exports recover last year, with stronger prospects for the year ahead.”



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