In fact both the value and volume of the drinks industry’s exports increased last year.
With exports growing and drinks companies continuing to enter new markets, the industry supports Ireland’s reputation abroad as a producer of great food and drink as well as being a purveyor of great hospitality, believes the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland.
Exports going from strength-to-strength
The latest CSO figures differ from export figures given at the start of the year by Bord Bia in that they indicate that alcohol drinks exports increased overall by 8% last year from €1.25 billion in 2017 to €1.35 billion in 2018.
Beer exports increased in value by 1.2% (from €276 million in 2017 to €279 million in 2018) according to the CSO where Bord Bia marked their value down by 2% to €268 million.
Beer exports grew to the European continent too last year according to the CSO.
Exports of Irish Whiskey grew, particularly in the US, Russia (via Latvia), Germany, Australia and South Africa. According to the Irish Whiskey Association, the US remains the largest market for Irish whiskey, accounting for 43% of all sales, with Canada, Australia and Central/Eastern Europe set to be the key growth region for Irish whiskey in coming years.
The value of gin exports increased substantially – by 211% (from €1.9 million in 2017 to €6.04 million in 2018) according to the CSO figures.
Irish gin recorded growth in the UK, South Africa, Italy and Germany last year while last January three Irish gin producers were listed for sale by LCBO which retails and distributes alcoholic beverages in Ontario, Canada.
Meanwhile the CSO reports that Irish Cream Liqueurs grew in overall exports in 2018 to the UK, Africa and Australia among other countries.
ABFI Director Patricia Callan pointed out that the array of drinks-related tourist attractions in existence or being developed is growing quickly.
“In 2017 more than 2.5 million people visited brewery and distillery tourist attractions across Ireland,” she said, “That’s an increase of 6% compared to 2016 and this figure is expected to rise again in 2018. With breweries and distilleries opening around the country, this growth is also benefiting the regional spread of tourism.”