A new report has revealed that Irish drinks exports approached €2 billion in 2022 – for the first time – as consumers in export markets increasingly choose high-quality, premium Irish drinks products.
Drinks Ireland has welcomed the Export Performance and Prospects 2022/2023 report from Bord Bia, which shows that drinks exports were up by 22%, year on year, – a 25% value increase on pre-pandemic (2019) levels – as the sector demonstrated ‘extraordinary’ recovery, and now growth.
The report shows that Irish drinks exports reached 119 markets around the world last year. North America continues to be the key export market, representing 52% of overall exports, at just under €1 billion. The EU represented 21% of exports, and the UK continues to be a strong market despite Brexit, accounting for 14% of exports.
This performance was driven by strong growth in the value of exports of Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur, which went up by 14%, to €448 million. Both Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur sit in the premium category. The growth in Irish whiskey exports from the Republic of Ireland aligns with a separate report issued today by the Irish Whiskey Association, which shows that all-island export value for Irish whiskey exceeded €1 billion for the first time in 2022.
The recovery of Irish beer exports – up by 19% – and the emergence of the ready-to-drink (RTD) category in Ireland supplemented this growth. Beer exports are still below pre-Covid levels, as this category was heavily impacted by the closure of the on-trade.
The report also shows that gin exports grew at a rate of €5 million per annum over the last two years, to €20 million. Again, gin has benefitted from the global premiumisation trend.
Statement By Director Of Drinks Ireland
Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland, said, “After a number of difficult years, today’s Bord Bia report shows a very strong performance from Irish drinks exports, driven by continued innovation among Irish producers. We see that premiumisation of Irish drinks was one of the key factors in export value growth, with overall value growing at more than twice the rate of volumes.
“We are seeing this trend both in Ireland and in our export markets, as consumers choose to drink less, but drink better, picking higher-quality products when they do consume. In Ireland, alcohol consumption has declined by 33% in 20 years.
“The sector still faces challenges in the wider environment, such as inflation and increased energy costs. With adequate support, the industry can continue to perform well, with good prospects in established and emerging markets.”
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