ISA’s First Female Chair

Beam Suntory’s Aoife Clarke has been appointed Chair of the Irish Spirits Association, the representative body responsible for promoting the interests of the Irish spirits industry.

Aoife, who was previously Vice-Chair, will be the first female Chair of the Association in its 20-year history. She takes over from John Harte of Donohoe’s Drink Company.

With extensive experience working in the drinks industry and in public affairs both in Ireland and internationally she’s been the Senior Director of International Public Affairs at Beam Suntory – which owns Cooley Distillery, one of Ireland’s largest Irish whiskey distilleries – for over four years. Prior to this, she was a senior executive at the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland for over five years and also worked for the Irish BioIndustry Association and PharmaChemical Ireland.

Pat Rigney of the The Shed Distillery, maker of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, has been appointed ISA Vice-Chair.

The ISA was established in 1997 and acts as a voice among national and EU policy-makers for issues such as taxation, labelling, trade and the ongoing international protection of Ireland’s Geographic Indicators. It’s part of the ABFI grouping in IBEC.

“The Irish spirits industry is at an important point in time,” Aoife Clarke commented, “The sector is undergoing vibrant growth and exports have increased substantially in recent years. Global sales of Ireland’s GI spirits – Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream and Poitín – totalled nearly 16 million cases or 200 million bottles in 2016.

“However, there are also significant challenges on the horizon for the sector such as Brexit and the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.”



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