As the spirits sector plans for growth amidst the reopening of hospitality around the world following the Covid-19 pandemic, the ibec trade body Drinks Ireland hosted company chief executives and leaders of representative bodies to the capital for the event which saw senior figures from the international spirits sector meet to discuss relevant issues impacting the spirits sector and plan how to address them.
spiritsEUROPE, the representative body for the spirits industry at European level, comprises 31 associations (including Drinks Ireland) and 10 international companies. Its mission is to represent, defend and promote the European spirits sector and help members achieve sustainable business growth.
On this occasion spiritsEUROPE and its members were also joined in Dublin by representatives of the American and Australian spirits industries.
One of the themes of the Congress focused on how spirits companies can help in the recovery of the tourism sector in Europe. It’s estimated that every job in the spirits sector supports around 11 jobs in hospitality, with spirits products increasingly important when it comes to hotels, bars and restaurants offering premium experiences to customers.
At the same time, following two years of pandemic restrictions, it’s believed that spirits tourism in Europe is to return in 2022 with existing and new distillery visiting centres having reopened their doors to the public.
The international gathering also discussed future trends impacting on the sector including changes in how consumers socialise and the increasing move toward digital marketing strategies.
“The spirits sector is a vital one for Ireland” said Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Research & Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development “both in terms of agricultural inputs and exports.
“In 2021 Irish spirit exports (and in particular Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream Liqueur) were in excess of 23.8 million nine-litre (12 bottles) cases sold with an estimated value of €1.24 billion.
“The pandemic took its toll on the sector as hospitality closed and foreign travel paused. It’s heartening to see the determination of the spirits industry here in Ireland and across the EU to recover and grow into the future.”
Vincent McGovern, Director of Spirits at Drinks Ireland, added, “The spirits sector is one of Ireland and Europe’s most valuable agri-food export sectors. Within the EU, our industry spans 44 product categories and includes a host of geographically-specific products that contribute to the culture of their regions. From an Irish perspective our spirits products are very popular globally with Europe and the United States major markets for Irish spirits such as Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur.”