According to a new report published by Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association, the value of Irish whiskey exports from the island of Ireland reached €890 million in 2019.
The report, which is titled "Irish Whiskey 2010-2020: The Restoration of the Irish Whiskey Industry Across Our Shared Island’, and was launched by finance minister Paschal Donohoe, also states that the Irish whiskey industry invested €1.55 billion in the all-island economy from 2010 to 2020, led by capital investment in distillery and plant developments.
Additonally, the report reveals that global Irish whiskey sales grew from 60 million bottles in 2010 to 144 million bottles in January of 2020; the Irish whiskey industry contributed €686 million in gross value added (GVA) to the island of Ireland's shared economy over the past decade, with GVA per employee of €412,756 being the highest across the entire Irish food and drinks industries; the Irish whiskey industry directly employed 1,640 persons pre-COVID; Irish whiskey was the world's fastest-growing spirits category of the past decade; and the number of distilleries on the island of Ireland grew from four in 2010 to 38 in 2019.
"Strength And Resilience"
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Head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association William Lavelle stated, "This report demonstrates the strength and resilience of one of our island's oldest industries. Today is an opportunity to celebrate the revival and renaissance of the industry, its contribution to the island's shared economy, and the achievements of all those involved.
Commenting on the growth in the number of distilleries on the island of Ireland, Lavelle said, "In 2010, there were just four distilleries operating on the island of Ireland. Now, only 10 years later, we have 38 distilleries working in towns and villages throughout Ireland, creating jobs, attracting visitors and resulting in the restoration of distilling to areas which once had rich traditions in whiskey production.
"We have seen hundreds of millions of euros invested in distilleries in leading distilleries such as Tullamore and Midleton, while new distilleries such as Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin 8 and The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, have played a pivotal role in the regeneration of their respective communities."
Looking To The Future
Looking to the future, Lavelle added, "Irish whiskey can look forward knowing there are still many opportunities out there, from the potential that market diversification offers in terms of growth in Asia and Africa to the opportunities on offering from the emergence of e-commerce as a major new sales channel for spirits.
"However, our industry also faces challenges, from the declining spring barley base in Ireland to the threats posed by protectionism and the divergence Brexit will bring to our all-island industry. Our industry has proven to be resilient and we will get through these."
"Ready To Bounce Back"
Outgoing chairman of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association David Stapleton stated, "[This report] gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on how the industry has grown in just one short decade. But, in doing so, our gaze is firmly fixed on future horizons.
"2020 has been an extremely difficult year. However, the Irish whiskey industry has proven itself to be resilient. After decades of decline, we have experienced a remarkable decade of recovery between 2010 and 2020. That recovery will continue. The industry is ready to bounce back in 2021 and march into the next decade with a focus on the continued growth of Irish whiskey sales."
"An Extraordinary Path Of Success"
Meanwhile, Donohoe commented, "The performance of the Irish whiskey industry over the last decade charts an extraordinary path of success. From the growth in the number of distilleries, which has done so much to ignite, or in many cases re-ignite, a passion for Irish whiskey, to the value of investment across the island and in local communities, which has brought new jobs to many of our region, this sector reflects, to a large degree, the journey we have been on as a country over the past ten years. This year, however, has presented more than its fair share of challenges, with very few sectors spared. I have no doubt, though, that the future remains exceptionally bright for Irish whiskey, which is revered and enjoyed the world over, and I wish the sector every success in building on this report and increasing the value of the sector further in decade ahead."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.