Irish poitín producers want to increase sales from 5,000 cases in 2018 to 80,000 over the next decade, according to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), with the industry seeking to position the spirit in the premium category.

Poitín producers have set their sights on growing sales in a number of international markets, with an initial focus on growing sales in Ireland.

While poitín was illegal until 1997, it now boasts a protected Geographical Indicator by the EU, meaning, like Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur, it is protected at an EU level in a similar manner to Champagne in France and Parma ham in Italy. For a spirit to be labelled poitín, it must therefore be product on the island of Ireland, in accordance with certain production practices and standards.

The ABFI is highlighting the revival of poitín as part of ABFI Innovation Pulse, launched in May to highlight innovation, creativity and experimentation by producers and drinks categories within the industry.

Patricia Callan, Director of ABFI said: “The biggest challenge in achieving growth will be bringing poitín from under-the-shelf to on-the-shelf.

“There are many globally-universal white spirits such as vodka. However not many countries can boast their own indigenous, authentic white spirit. Poitín is ours. It forms an important part of Ireland’s rich heritage of sprit making. Poitín has a unique taste profile and is a prefect component for cocktail-making.”

In April, the market was given a boost with the opening of Bar 1661 by Bán Poitín founder Dave Mulligan, who had previously ran the Shebeen bar on Dublin’s George’s St. Bar 1661, located on Green St off Capel St, places an emphasis on Irish spirits, particularly poitín.

Patricia Callan continued: “As consumers become more adventurous, poitín is perfectly placed for a comeback due to its quality, provenance to Ireland and the amazing story behind it. This is certainly something that has been received positively when it comes to Irish whiskey, which is now the fastest growing spirits category in the world.

“As an industry, we are very much committed to preserving the poitín category and growing it significantly.”

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