Irish Whiskey Association reports significant global achievements in 2021

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

Substantial achievements secured in 2021 on international trade, protection, and regulatory matters



4 January 2022

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The Irish Whiskey Association has expanded international trade opportunities and protections for the Irish whiskey industry in 2021. That’s according to the representative body for the Irish whiskey industry, who have published their snapshot of 2021.

The snapshot outlines results delivered by the association last year on foot of their global activity to protect and expand international trade opportunities for the Irish whiskey industry.

Global activity

A number of positive global developments for Irish whiskey occurred throughout the past year, such as the inclusion of new rules-of-origin in UK-Australia FTA to protect cross-border Irish whiskey supply chains on the island of Ireland. Tariffs on Irish whiskey in US and Nigeria ended, and levies in Canada were reduced.

What’s more, over 90% of Irish whiskey global sales are now subject to legal protection.

In futher positive news, US tariffs on Northern Irish single malts ended, while substantial reductions to provincial levies in Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s two largest provinces, were achieved. 2021 also saw the elimination of 25% Import Adjustment Tax in Nigeria which was Irish whiskey fastest-growing market in 2021.

Following a 4% dip in global sales in 2020 (as a result primarily of the collapse on sales in travel retail), there has been a strong double-digit percentage rebound in 2021, setting a new all-time high for global Irish whiskey sales.

The latest figures from the CSO also show that the value of Irish whiskey exports to India for the first 10 months of 2021 are up 106 per cent compared to the full 12 month of 2020.

In 2021, the association conducted investigations in relation to over 55 infringements of the Irish whiskey geographic indication (GI) around the world.

Association vision

William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association, said: “Our vision is to secure the position of Irish whiskey as one of the world’s leading spirit categories, built on a vibrant and sustainable industry. To deliver on this vision, we aspire for the Irish Whiskey Association to be the most effective and dynamic spirits category association in the world.

“In 2021, our association secured substantial achievements on international trade, protection, and regulatory matters, all of which benefit the entire Irish whiskey industry,” he added. “With the active commitment and contribution of our many member companies, we look forward to achieving more in 2022.”

Other highlights from the Irish Whiskey Association’s 2021 snapshot include:

  • Preparation and submission of amendments to Irish whiskey product specification (technical file).
  • The introduction of a new label approval system to more effectively protect the Irish whiskey category and consumers, as proposed by the association.
  • A new industry upskilling course to increase awareness amongst hospitality staff of the Irish whiskey category, with 118 participants in the first intake.
  • 13 webinars for members on markets insights, production and regulations.
  • The #DiscoverIrishWhiskey campaign, including international events for media in the US, Canada and New Zealand along with five livestream broadcasts.
  • An IrishWhiskey 360° summer campaign and new videos to encourage domestic staycationers to discover Irish whiskey distilleries, with an 800% increase in visitors to the IrishWhiskey 360° website.

For more information on the 2021 snapshot, visit:



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