DUBLIN: New figures from Bord Bia have revealed that continued demand for premium spirit and liqueur products resulted in Irish beverage exports rising by 8% to €1.5 billion in 2017.
As reported by breakingnews.ie, beverage exports benefitted from a rise in the popularity of Irish whiskey in global markets, which recorded annual growth of almost 20% to €600 million, while Irish cream liqueurs grew by 10% to over €300 million.
The top five markets for Irish beverage exports last year were the US, UK, Canada, Germany and France, while Japan was the top performing market in Asia with sales there increasing 30% to €9 million.
Commenting on Bord Bia’s statistics, Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland director Patricia Callan said, “A few years ago, there were just four whiskey distilleries and there are now 18, with a further 16 in planning. Additionally, there are now over 100 craft beer brands in the country. However, there are challenges ahead. The Bord Bia report identifies Brexit as a threat to Irish food and drinks exports. Given that Ireland’s drinks industry operates on an ‘all-island’ basis, a resolution to the issue of a trade border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland is our priority.”
Callan also expressed concerns over “unintended negative consequences” arising for advertising as a result of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, saying, “As we see from this report, smaller and boutique producers are key to drinks export growth, and they need freedom to innovatively market and advertise their products in their home market prior to export. Equally, if as now proposed following the Seanad debates, Irish whiskey, gin, beer and liqueurs must carry a cancer label, when our competitors in the rest of the world do not, this will be hugely damaging to our international reputation and our ability to export.”
She asserted, “We want to work with the government in 2018 to address these issues and to ensure Irish drinks exports continue apace.”