Raise a glass as sales of Irish spirits soar

15.2m cases of Irish whiskey sold at home and abroad in 2022.

Spirit-makers in the Republic of Ireland shook off the remaining effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation to record spirit exports of almost €1.5bn in 2022.

This is an increase of 17.3% in the year, according to Ibec’s Drinks Ireland division.

“The spirits industry is of significant importance to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the whole Island of Ireland, rural and urban”

It follows a strong rebound of 25% in 2021 after a staggering 15.6% fall in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Toasting success

Of the 120 international markets that Irish spirits are exported into, the US remained by some distance the top destination.

“The spirits industry is of significant importance to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the whole Island of Ireland, rural and urban,” Bryan Fallon Chair of Drinks Ireland | Spirits, and Managing Director of Heaven Hill Ireland, brand owners of Carolan’s Irish Cream liqueur and Irish Mist Honey liqueur, said.

“There were a number of key challenges in 2022, most notably the impact of inflation on raw materials, which put huge pressure on the industry and continues to do so. The sector also continues to be burdened with the second highest overall excise tax on drinks products in the EU, with spirits having the third highest rates behind Finland and Sweden,” he added.

Sales volumes of Irish protected sprits including whiskey, Irish cream, and poitin improved 5.7% to 25.2m nine-litre cases.

Irish whiskey in particular continued to enjoy “spectacular global growth” reaching 15.3m cases in 2022.

Domestic sales of Irish whiskey grew 10% to 686,900 cases from 619,600 in 2021.

The UK is now the second biggest international market for Irish whiskey, with Russia falling out of the top five in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Cormac Healy, Director of Drinks Ireland, said growing awareness and appreciation of the Irish spirits product offering is a contributing factor.

“We are seeing the continuing trend of premiumisation in the drinks industry and the culture around drinking in Ireland is evolving, with consumers increasingly choosing quality over quantity. Irish spirits will continue to rise to the occasion, delivering on the unmatched quality and authenticity consumers crave,” he said.

Main image at top: Photo by Dylan de Jonge on Unsplash

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