The value of Irish whiskey exports exceeded one billion euros for the first time in 2022 according to new data from the Irish Whiskey Association.
Director of the Irish Whiskey Association William Lavelle 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 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-19;
- Increased interest in Irish whiskey from the millennial and generation Z consumer segments.
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.”
According to 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 US 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.
Huge year for Irish drinks
According to Bord Bia – Ireland’s trade development and promotion body – 2022 proved to be a landmark year for Irish drinks exports as the total value of drinks exports is estimated to approach €2 billion. The value of exports in 2022 represents a 25% increase on 2019 levels.
This performance was driven by strong growth in the value of exports of Irish whiskey, up 25% and Irish cream liqueur, up 14%. The recovery of Irish beer exports, up 19%, and the emergence of the Ready To Drink category (RTDs) in Ireland supplemented this growth.
RTDs saw robust growth in terms of export values more than doubling to €74 million. Almost 80% of exports
are to markets where the category is established such as the US and Australia.
Premiumisation of Irish drinks was one of the key factors in export value growth, with overall value growing at more
than twice the rate of volumes.