Australians marked their biggest St Patrick’s Day in years from March 17-19, raising millions of pints of Guinness and Irish whiskies to the annual celebration.
From the the official St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in The Rocks and the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge turning green to parties and events at venues across the country, Australians had a rollicking good time.
Sales of Guinness have been rebounding exponentially in recent years after a Mintel consumer report proclaimed 10 years ago: “Simply put, Guinness is no longer cool.”
According to Coopers, stout sales in Australia hit their peak in the 1950s when the brewer was selling over 4 million litres annually. Demand declined after 1975, with sales dipping to below two million litres in the early 1990s.
“However, we’re now back in the midst of a Stout revival and the popularity of beer in cans is rising markedly,” Coopers Managing Director Dr Tim Cooper said.
Guinness is riding the wave of the stout revival. It is now the UK’s bestselling draft beer, accounting for one in every nine pints pulled in pubs and its sales have also been on an upward trajectory in Australia.
Lion, the Australian distributor of Guinness, rolled out 1.4 million pints of the beloved Irish beer at pubs around the country for St Patrick’s Day.
The company distributed 16,000 kegs, with its data showing Guinness is most popular in Perth, followed by Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Managing Director of Lion Australia David Smith said: “Whether you have Irish blood running through your veins, or you’re simply looking to catch up with mates, St Patrick’s Day is a day when people from around the country come together to have a craic, while savouring one of the world’s oldest and most loved drinks.”
Irish whiskey boom for Australia
According to the Irish Consul General to Sydney Rosie Keane, Australia is one of the fastest growing markets for Irish whiskey globally, with sales doubling between 2016 to 2020.
Of the 14 million cases of Irish whiskey that were sold in 2021, three million of the bottles were shipped to Australia. According to the Irish Whiskey Association, there was continued strong growth in Australia for Irish whiskey in 2022.
The Exports Performance and Prospects 2022/2023 report from Bord Bia, shows that Irish drinks exports were up by 22% year-on-year globally, a 25% value increase on pre-pandemic (2019) levels, as the sector demonstrated ‘extraordinary’ recovery and now growth.
Irish RTDs also saw robust growth in terms of export values more than doubling to €74 million in 2022, with almost 80% of exports to established markets such as the US and Australia.
Jameson, for example, joined the booming spritz category for summer with the release of a zesty new expression, Jameson Orange Whiskey, in Australia.
Belinda Sanderson, Head of Whiskey ANZ said: “We know how much our consumers love a spritz, so we wanted to create a refreshing blend that will appeal to curious whiskey drinkers and loyal Jameson mates who are looking for a new flavour experience. Welcoming a new spritz on the block, we have no doubt that Jameson Orange will be a huge success in the market and we are looking forward to introducing it as a permanent release in Australia.”