Irish Spirits Exports Exceeded €1bn For The First Time In 2018

By Dave Simpson
Irish Spirits Exports Exceeded €1bn For The First Time In 2018

The value of spirits exports from Ireland increased by 10.2% between 2017 and 2018, rising from €916 million to over €1 billion, according to the annual Irish Spirits Market Report, released by Drinks Ireland | Spirits.

The report, which assesses the performance of Ireland's domestic spirits market and the spirits export industry, found that overall sales in the home market increased by 6.6% from 2.25 million 9-litre cases in 2017 to 2.40 million cases in 2018. This was driven by consumer demand for Irish whiskey and gin.

The report stated that this sales growth comes even though overall alcohol consumption has declined in Ireland from its peak in 2001.

According to the report, Irish whiskey is the second most popular spirit in Ireland, with a 25.1% share of the market. Irish whiskey sales were found to have increased by 5.4% between 2017 and 2018.

Meanwhile, the report stated that sin sales soared in Ireland last year, increasing 31.8% during the same period, and gin maintained its position as the fastest growing spirit in the domestic market.


However, despite a strong performance by both gin and whiskey, the report stated that vodka remains Ireland's favourite spirits drink, accounting for 33.7% of all spirits sales, up by 4.8% between 2017 and 2018.

According to the report, Ireland's spirits continued to perform strongly in export markets last year. The report stated that this is particularly true for two of Ireland's protected "Geographic Indication" (GI) spirit categories, with sales increasing by 7.5% between 2017 and 2018.

The report also found that the spirits sector provided €372.2 million in net excise receipts to the government in 2018.


Aoife Clarke, chair of Drinks Ireland | Spirits and senior director of public affairs, international, Beam Suntory, commented, "This is the third industry and market report issued by Drinks Ireland | Spirits, and we are delighted that it illustrates the continued strength of the Irish spirits sector. Ireland has a dynamic domestic spirits market and Irish spirits exports continue to grow as this report demonstrates.

"Proof, if it is needed, is found in the fact that 2018 was first year that spirits exports were worth more than €1 billion to the Republic of Ireland's economy. Consumers at home and abroad now have more choice than ever when it comes to Irish spirits.


"Clouds On The Horizon"

Clarke added, "However, there are clouds on the horizon.

"The current number one and number two export destinations for Ireland's drinks products are the United States, by a significant distance, and the United Kingdom. Both markets will be seriously challenged in years to come because of the re-emergence of barriers to trade and uncertainty around future relationships.

"There are no winners in a trade war, just losers, particularly among consumers. But our sector is resilient and, with the continued support of consumers and the Irish government, will continue to innovate, grow and lead."

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