However imports in 2017 also grew by 4% to a record level, up by €2.76 billion to €76.89 billion compared with 2016.
More specifically, exports of beverages accounted for €1.36 billion between January and December 2017, up 4.5% from 2016’s figure of €1.3bn, while beverage imports totalled €816 million, down 2% from 2016’s €833 million figure.
Breaking this down, the CSO puts a figure of €110.14 million on exports of still and sparkling water, down 17.7% on 2016’s €134 million figure (although volumes were up 15.6% on the 2016 figure) while our water imports totalled a heftier €248.3 million on a volume which reduced by 13.7%. Import values also came down 9.3% from €273.95 million to €248.3 million, indicating continued potential for domestic supply replacing importation.
Sparkling wine imports grew 7.4% in value to €20.2 million with volumes up 22.3% while still wine imports level-pegged with the previous year on €254.8 million on a volume which decreased by 3.7%.
Exports of Cider/Perry were down 28% in value in 2017, bringing in €48.9 million on volumes which were down by 19.5% while some €9.4 million-worth of Cider/Perry was imported, down 2.7% on 2016 despite a volume increase of 2.1%.
Export volumes of beer level-pegged, but export values fell 4.7% to €271.1. Imported values also flatlined, holding value in 2017 at €162.9 million while imported volumes increased by 6.4%.
The CSO’s export figures for Irish whiskey indicate a 10.8% growth in volumes accompanying a 14.2% rise in values to €578.5 million last year.
On the other hand imports of whisky declined 17.5% in volume and 22.5% in value to €15.6 million in 2017.
Imports of ‘brandy’ showed a fall in both volume (down 18%) and value which fell 9.3% to €14.7 million.
Imports of rum fell by 28.4% in value to €5.5 million on the back of a volume decrease of 18.2%.
Our gin imports shot up in 2017, going from €5.9 million to €13 million in value, a rise of 120% on a volume up by over 100%. At the same time, our exports of gin also saw a major boost with volumes up 160% leading to a tripling in value to €1.36 million, again highlighting the potential for domestic gins.