A new released report from Bord Bia has revealed that drinks exports fell by 19% in 2020, as a result of US tariffs, Brexit stockpiling, and closures and restrictions on hospitality outlets globally due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Overall, drinks exports were valued at €1.3bn for the year.

Drinks Ireland said that in addition to exports, COVID 19 also significantly impacted production and domestic sales in 2020.

According to the Bord Bia report, however, the value of alcohol exports last year remained 12% higher than they were pre-Brexit in 2016, highlighting the growth the industry has undergone in recent years and its strength on the global stage.

Additionally, it notes that declines in exports do not necessarily reflect a decline in sales, as a significant volume of Irish spirits was in place in the US market at the start of 2020, for example, in the context of ongoing US-EU tariff disputes, which have threatened the extension of tariffs on spirits in both directions.

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland said: “Ireland’s drinks industry is dynamic, innovative, and has performed strongly in domestic and export markets in recent years. While 2021 will continue to be challenging for the sector, as it seeks to recover from the impact of the pandemic and navigates the challenges of Brexit, US tariffs and a range of other issues, it is resilient, and we are confident that it can regain some growth.”

In response to the Bord Bia report, Drinks Ireland has released its industry outlook for 2021, stating that drinks producers will be focused on driving recovery this year. Drinks Ireland plans to use 2019 as a benchmark year for the industry.

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