There was continued growth for Ireland’s drinks indusry exports in 2018, driven in large part by demand for premium products like Irish whiskey. This is according to Bord Bia’s Export Performance & Prospects 2018-2019 report.
The report found that Irish alcohol drinks exports were worth €1.25bn in 2018. The US remains the largest market for Irish beverage exports, followed by the UK, Canada, Germany and France.
Growth in the sector has been driven by continued double-digit demand for Irish whiskey in many markets, with exports now valued at €620 million. Irish whiskey exports account for 42% of total beverage exports and are the largest single part of the beverage category.
Consumption of Irish whiskey levels globally are expected to exceed 10m cases by the end of 2018 for the first time. Notably, in 2018 the US market for Irish whiskey grew by more than 10%.
Irish Cream Liqueur
Irish cream liqueur has also enjoyed a strong performance with growth of 9% in value, achieving sales of over 7.9m cases in 2018, up from 7.2m in 2017.
The value of beer exports fell marginally in 2018, but the volume increased by 9%. This was as a result of a positive performance on the European continent and reflects a continuing trend from 2017.
Irish gin is emerging as a category for the international consumer, set to be worth more than €5m in exports in 2018.
As the Irish gin supply base expands in response to global trends, double-digit growth was recorded in the UK, South Africa, Italy and Germany, with growth of 8% reflected in the consumption of Irish gin in Spain.
Patricia Callan, Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), said: “Today’s report proves that Ireland’s drinks industry is an export powerhouse, going from strength to strength.
“Looking forward, the outlook for 2019 remains positive, driven by the popularity of premium brands and the growth of Irish whiskey in key international markets like the US.
“The report notes that Irish whiskey must not be overly-reliant on the US and producers continue to look at emerging markets. For example, consumers with disposable income are spending more on imported drinks in South Africa and Irish whiskey exporters are well placed to take advantage of this over the coming years.”