Irish whiskey exports exceed €1bn for the first time

Growing demand for premium Irish whiskey and increased interest among millennials and Gen Z buyers.

The value of Irish whiskey exports to the all-island economy exceeded €1bn for the first time.

The assessment by the Irish Whiskey Association is based on CSO/Eurostat data from Ireland and member data from Northern Ireland.

“Breaking €1bn in export value represents another important milestone in the Irish whiskey renaissance”

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.

Slainte! Let’s toast the future of Irish whiskey

“Breaking €1bn 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,” said William Lavelle, director, Irish Whiskey Association.

“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.

“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,” Lavelle said. 

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.
John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.