Irish whiskey sector to invest €1bn in Ireland over next ten years

Whiskey is a star of Ireland's food and drink sector, according to Minister Simon Coveney
Whiskey is a star of Ireland's food and drink sector, according to Minister Simon Coveney

Irish Whiskey Association (IW) launched as more than 15 new distilleries develop across the country



15 April 2014

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The Irish whiskey sector is set to invest over €1 billion in Ireland in the next 10 years. This is according to the new Irish Whiskey Association (IW) which was launched on Wednesday, 9 April by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.

With over 15 new distilleries currently being developed across the country, the new association brings together new entrants and existing companies to promote Irish whiskey and to ensure the product is given vital protection going forward.

Exports valued at €350m 

At the launch, the Irish Whiskey Association released statistics about the growing sector. Irish whiskey exports have grown by 220% since 2003 and are now valued at €350m. In fact, in 2003, Irish whiskey made up just over 9% of beverages exports, which has grown to over 28% of total beverages exports from Ireland.

What’s more, export numbers are expected to double to 12 million cases by 2020 and double again to 24 million cases by 2030.

Currently, the Irish whiskey sector employs 5,000 people directly and indirectly. This is set to grow to 6,500 by 2025. Turnover for the industry is almost €400m, with an annual direct domestic spend of €237m.

Boost to tourism industry 

Ireland’s tourism industry has also received a boost from the whiskey industry, with Irish whiskey visitor centres attracting over 500,000 tourists every year. This is perhaps not surprising, given that Irish whiskey sells into 77 countries, with USA, France, Germany, Russia and the UK accounting for almost 75% of total sales.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Coveney said: "The launch today of the Irish Whiskey Association is a sign of the industry’s shared vision. Irish whiskey is a star of the Irish food and drink sector and I’m proud to be here today as a mark of support for the sector."

Supporting sustainable growth  

Peter Morehead, chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and production director at Irish Distillers said: "There has been sustained growth in Irish whiskey over the last 20 years, with the category experiencing double-digit growth since the turn of the millennium and the trend set to continue. Three years ago, the island of Ireland had four distilleries in operation – in the next three to five years that number will grow to over 15 if all the current projects move forward. Last year, our companies exported 6.2 million nine-litre cases worldwide; we expect that number to double to 12 million cases by 2020 and double again to 24 million cases by 2030…With this growth comes the need for leadership in ensuring the category maximises its potential.

"The new, all island, association will promote the Irish Whiskey category in Ireland and internationally, working with government agencies (north and south) and the European Commission; Support new market entrants; Ensure the legal protection offered by the geographic Indication is applied in Ireland and internationally; and ensure public policy supports the sustainable growth of the Irish whiskey sector."



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