Irish whiskey distilleries in Northern Ireland and Scotch whisky distilleries are to face similar challenges when the UK leaves the EU, a bi-lateral meeting has heard.
Brexit was the major focus of discussion at a meeting in early February in Edinburgh between the Irish whiskey and spirits industry and the Scotch industry, who meet annually ahead of the Six Nations rugby match.
While Irish whiskey remains behind Scotch on overall global sales, its growth is much faster. Irish whiskey grew by over 10% last year in terms of global sales, compared with growth of 1.2% for Scotch.
This year, the Scotch Whisky Association, led by Chief Executive Karen Betts, hosted a nine-strong visiting Irish delegation, including representative from Irish distilleries and from the ABFI, which includes both the Irish Spirits Association and the Irish Whiskey Association.
Aoife Clarke of Beam Suntory is the Chair of the Irish Spirits Association. She stated: “This year’s annual bilateral takes place with the shadow of Brexit looming large. We will today be discussing the prospects for future Irish-UK trade and we will be particularly focusing on the issue of global trade for UK whiskys post-Brexit. We will also discuss the similar challenges set to face Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey distilleries in Northern Ireland post-Brexit.”