Exports of Irish cream liqueur rose in 2018, while sales in the Irish market also increased, according to a new press release from the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI).
Globally, 7.5 million cases (90 million bottles) of Irish cream liqueur were sold in 2017, up 2.9% from 2016. Meanwhile, preliminary interim export stats for 2018 suggest there was an export growth rate of approximately 8% for this year, driven by strong export growth to the US.
The top five markets for Irish cream liqueur in 2017 were the United States, where 1.9 million cases were sold, followed by the UK, Canada, Germany and Spain.
In the Irish market, sales are also on the up. 100,000 cases or 1.2 million bottles of Irish cream liqueur were sold in Ireland in 2017, up 5.6% on 2016. Interim retail statistics for 2018 suggest continued sustained growth of approximately 7% in the Irish off-trade.
Irish cream liqueur is protected by a geographical indication (GI), meaning that Irish cream liqueur must be made on the island of Ireland, contain Irish dairy cream and Irish whiskey, in accordance with an approved technical file, which dictates how it must be produced.
"An Important Contribution To The Irish Economy"
ABFI director Patricia Callan stated, "The Irish cream liqueur sector makes an important contribution to the Irish economy, purchasing 316 million litres of fresh cream from Irish farmers every year, sourced from 46,000 dairy cows.
"The category has made an impressive comeback in the last two years. This has been driven in part by innovation in the category, with producers experimenting with new flavours like salted caramel and white chocolate.
"Some producers have also been successful in positioning cream liqueurs as a 'treat' or dessert ingredient as opposed to being simply a spirit liqueur. Others have successfully positioned their products as a cocktail or coffee component.
"As we look ahead to 2019, we anticipate that growth in the category will continue. With this in mind, the continued protection of Irish cream liqueurs in export markets through the GI will be vitally important.
"The GI protects the authenticity and high standards of Irish cream liqueur and provides a legal device to protect the name 'Irish Cream' in Ireland and globally. For example, the Irish Spirits Association is currently working with the Irish government and EU Commission to invoke GI protection in Canada to tackle numerous incidences of Canadian-produced liqueurs being passed-off as 'Irish Cream'."
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.