Irish Whiskey Exports Exceed €1 Billion for the First Time

The value of Irish whiskey exports to the all-island economy exceeded €1 billion for the first time in 2022, the Irish Whiskey Association has announced.

The assessment by the Irish Whiskey Association is based on CSO/Eurostat data from Ireland and member data from Northern Ireland. The Irish Whiskey Association regards export value as representing a more accurate picture of the contribution to the all-island economy than global retail value.

Commenting on the one billion plus euro export value figure for 2022, William Lavelle, Director of the Irish Whiskey Association, stated: “Breaking one billion in export value represents another important milestone in the Irish whiskey renaissance and confirms the importance of our unique all-island industry to our shared economy, north and south. Across the island of Ireland, the growth in Irish whiskey exports has created more quality jobs, brought more investment into regional and rural communities, and led to more purchasing from Irish farmers.

The key drivers of Irish whiskey export growth identified in the Irish Whiskey Association’s ‘Irish Whiskey Global’ international trade report published in October 2022, include:

  • The growing global demand for premium, higher priced Irish whiskey – in line with consumers drinking less, but drinking better;
  • Rapid market diversification, including across Africa and Asia;
  • The rise of e-commerce as major sales channels post-Covid;
  • Increased interest in Irish whiskey from the millennial and generation Z consumer segments.

Looking forward into 2023, Mr Lavelle said: “The Irish Whiskey Association is reiterating its call for the proactive expansion of free trade agreements with positive trading partners, to support the continuing growth of Irish whiskey exports.

According to Mr Lavelle, priorities identified by the Irish Whiskey Association for 2023 include:

  • Protection of free trade with the United States and the avoidance of future trade disputes in the context of concerns regarding the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and unresolved disputes on steel and aluminium.
  • Completion of EU trade negotiations with Australia and Kenya, and of both EU and UK trade negotiation with India, with a view to delivering tariff reductions in these markets.
  • Progression of the proposed EU-Mercosur free trade agreement following the election of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil, and efforts to agree additional commitments on deforestation and climate change.

It is worth noting that Jameson and Irish Distillers are large drivers of these export values, with parent company Pernod Ricard publishing very promising growth for both Jameson as well Redbreast globally. 2022 was a very large year for the Irish Distillers portfolio. Redbreast Single Pot Still whiskey achieving sales of over 100,000 cases for the first time and Jameson Irish Whiskey achieving its own milestone with case sales of 10 million for the first time in ’22.

Irish whiskey is proving to be a very important category for the international behemoth that is Pernod Ricard with the Irish portfolio being responsible for 16% of Pernod’s growth for ’22 and 12% of the total net sales of the company.

Clearly, very exciting times for the Irish Whiskey industry.

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