Summer 2018 was a positive summer for brewery and distillery visitor centres in Ireland, according to the latest report from the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI).
The figures show that there were 2,590,215 visitors to the brewery and distillery tourist attractions in Ireland in 2017, up from 2,437,206 in 2016, an increase of 153,009 visitors or 6%.
These figures indicate that the growing number of distilleries and breweries opening around the country is benefiting Ireland’s tourism offering.
ABFI said that it expects this figure to increase again in 2019, thanks to increased interest in existing centres and the planned opening of new visitor attractions over the coming period. For example, there are 13 whiskey distillery visitor centres in the planning or development stage at the moment.
Patricia Callan, Director of ABFI, said: “In Ireland there has been an influx of new players to the drinks market over the past few years, increasing innovation and diversity in the sector. Many of these players are offering visitor centre experiences that showcase our long history in brewing and distilling. This is in addition to some of the more established visitor centres like the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery Bow Street, which are hugely popular.
“What’s really positive about these brewery and distillery visitor centres is that they are located right across the country, so they support the regional spread of tourism. It’s also promising to see that there are so many new visitor centres in the planning or development stage, indicating a strong future for the sector.”
Ireland’s brewery and distillery visitor centres are important for Ireland’s broader tourism strategy, as highlighted in Fáilte Ireland’s Food & Drinks Strategy 2018-2023. In it, Fáilte Ireland states that as “we seek to grow the value of Irish tourism over the next 10 years, Ireland’s food and drink offering has a significant role to play in delivering great visitor experiences, increasing dwell time around the country and growing spend”.