Irish drinks exports saw robust growth in 2017

Irish whiskey will have protected status in Japan for the first time, if a new trade agreement is ratified
Irish whiskey will have protected status in Japan for the first time, if a new trade agreement is ratified

As the end of year reports for various sectors and companies continue to roll in, the ABFI has revealed that Irish drink exports grew by a considerable percentage last year.



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12 January 2018 | 0

Irish beverage exports rose by 8 percent last year to €1.5 billion, according to Bord Bia’s latest export performance report. The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland has welcomed the news, citing the surge in popularity for Irish whiskey in global markets, which recorded almost 20 percent annual growth as a category to some €600m. Irish cream liqueurs also had a buoyant year, rising 10 percent overall to in excess of €300m. This follows a ‘lost decade’ in which growth stagnated in the category.

The top five markets for drinks exports from Ireland were: USA, UK, Canada, Germany and France. Japan was the best performing of the Asian countries, with sales rising by 30% to €9m.

The report also predicts export growth in 2018 will be driven by the ongoing growth trajectory of Irish whiskey, the popularity of premium brands and product innovation.

“Ireland’s drinks industry is continuing to increase its exports as a result of innovation, more choice, high quality and a focus on building strong brands that resonate with consumers in export markets,” said Patricia Callan, director of the ABFI. “We are on the right track to continue this growth. A few years ago, there were just four whiskey distilleries and there are now 18, with a further 16 in planning. Additionally, there are now over 100 craft beer brands in the country.”

Callan added once again that the positivity should be tempered with an awareness of upcoming challenges. “Brexit remains a threat to Ireland’s food and drink exports,” she said .”Given that Ireland’s drinks industry operates on an ‘all-island’ basis, a resolution to the issue of a trade border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland is our priority.”

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