Irish whiskey selling 10m cases globally

The Irish whiskey industry sold 9.7 million cases of whiskey globally in 2017, a 10.6% increase on the previous year, according to IWSR figures.

Irish whiskey remains the world’s fastest-growing spirit category and the 2017 global total exceed interim sales targets set by the Irish Whiskey Association for 2017 of nine million cases (an overshoot of almost nearly 700,000 cases).

This growth trajectory puts the industry in a strong position to surpass its 2020 targets of 12 million cases.

“In 2014 the Irish whiskey industry set an ambitious target for export growth by 2020,” commented William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, “We’re well on course to meet and exceed those targets.”

200 bottles of Irish whiskey are sold every minute, he added, with Irish whiskey being sold in over 135 markets.

According to IWSR, the leading markets for Irish whiskey in 2017 were:


Country 9 litre cases sold (12 bottles) % Increase on 2016
1 United States 4.1 million 12.5%
2 Ireland 548,000 5.1%
3 Russia 404,000 19.5%
4 France 383,000 0.1%
5 United Kingdom 369,000 8.2%
6 South Africa 353,000 5.4%
7 Germany 337,000 11.9%
8 Canada 238,000 15.8%


Global Travel Retail sales of Irish whiskey grew 12% in 2017 to reach 659,000 cases.

“Russia emerged as Irish whiskey’s fastest-growing market in 2017, propelling it to be the third-largest market for Irish whiskey globally and the second-largest market for exports,” said William Lavelle, “This means that our two largest export markets, the US and Russia, are both facing increasing threats of protectionism and possible tariff or trade restrictions.

“Growing global trade threats also present a challenge to our industry to pursue more growth in more markets. Like all sectors, we must diversify.”

The IWA is hosting an industry seminar on this theme today, where it will present a deep-dive analysis of global whiskey trends with a particular focus on Asia and the Far East, which will be a key priority for the future growth of Irish whiskey.



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