Representatives of Northern Ireland’s drinks industry met in Belfast on Monday 13th January to review key issues affecting the sector ahead of Brexit at the end of the month.

The meeting followed the appointment, on Saturday, of the new Northern Ireland Executive. The meeting was followed by a roundtable with officials from the Department of the Economy.

The meeting was convened by Drinks Ireland, the representative body for the all-island drinks industry. Drinks Ireland has 11 member companies with brewing, distilling, bottling or distribution operations in Northern Ireland.

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland, extended best wishes to the new Executive: “In particular, we wish to congratulate Diane Dodds on her appointment as Minister for the Economy and Edwin Poots on has appointment as Minister for Agriculture.

“We look forward to working with both Ministers and their Departments to promote exports and tourism – growing global sales of Northern Irish drinks products and increasing more Irish, British and international visitors to distillery and brewery visitor centres in Northern Ireland.”

“From global superstar brands such as Baileys Irish Cream and Bushmills Irish Whiskey to newer artisan gin brands such as Shortcross and Jawbox, the Northern Irish drinks industry consistently punches above its weight on the world scene, while making a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.”

Over the coming months Drinks Ireland will be lobbying the new Executive and Assembly over issues such as increasing funding for Invest NI and Tourism NI to expand their respective export and tourism promotion activities in the context of Brexit; and the reformation of liquor licensing law to provide more flexibility to breweries and distilleries.

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