As the number of Irish whiskey distillers increases, the popularity of the spirit they make is continuing to increase around the world, as exports in 2022 passed €1bn for the first time ever.

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has revealed the record figure using CSO Eurostat data from Ireland and member data from Northern Ireland. The IWA said it regards export value as representing a more accurate picture of the contribution to the all-island economy than global retail value.

William Lavelle, Director of the Irish Whiskey Association, said: “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 IWA identified a number of key drivers for the export growth in its ‘Irish Whiskey Global’ international trade report, including:

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.

According to Lavelle, priorities identified by the IWA 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.

Looking forward into 2023, 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.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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