A report prepared by Compecon for The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey has found that without the establishment of a wholesale market for bulk Irish whiskey, smaller Irish whiskey brands may face demise due to a lack of supply of mature whiskey.
The report found a number of significant barriers to entry in to the Irish whiskey market inhibiting the growth of the industry as a whole. The creation of a bulk wholesale market, similar to that in Scotland, would remove some of the main obstacles facing new entrants.
The report was commissioned to analyse the performance of the Irish whiskey industry and its potential to contribute to growth in the Irish economy through comparison with the Scotch Whiskey industry.
The report found that Scotch whisky exports in 2014 were in excess of €5bn, compared to Irish whiskey exports of €350m. The wholesale whiskey market in Scotland has facilitated the growth of a huge industry with 5,000 blended whiskies and hundreds of malts, and enabled firms without a distillery of their own to develop major international brands such as Dewar’s, Cutty Sark, and J&B.
There are only four distilleries in Ireland currently producing mature whiskey, while Scotland has 115 working distilleries with 30 new ones under construction, highlighting the benefits of a functioning wholesale whiskey market.
Pat Massey, Director at Compecon, stated: “While there is a significant demand at home and abroad for Irish whiskey, the potential of these small producers and the industry at large is being stifled by a lack of adequate measures to support the industry.
The wholesale market is seen as being not only crucial to the success of SMEs and early stage businesses but also as essential for the entire Scotch whisky industry. The Irish Whiskey Association has stated in its ‘Vision for Irish Whiskey’ report that it should be possible to enter the whiskey market without having to build a distillery and our research illustrates the benefits of this to producers and the economy.”