IWA warns on Public Health Bill

International Wine & Spirits Research figures indicate that Irish whiskey demand continues to increase, rising by 11.2% last year.

“Irish whiskey is experiencing exceptional growth around the world with almost 200 bottles being sold every minute,” stated William Lavelle of the Irish Whiskey Association.

“The US is our most valuable market both in terms of exports and attracting Irish whiskey tourists. Volumes grew by 17.6% last year in the US alone, with sales reaching a record 43.2 million bottles.

“Emerging markets are also key to Irish whiskey’s future,” he added, “In Slovakia and Poland sales increased by nearly one quarter in a single year. In Kenya sales increased by an incredible 20% showing Irish whiskey’s worldwide appeal.

“Already Irish whiskey accounts for more than one-third of Irish beverage exports and these figures put Irish whiskey well on track to meet its ambitious export target of 144 million bottles by 2020 and 288 million bottles by 2030.”

Irish whiskey sales grew in 17 of its leading markets with the US, Ireland, France, the UK and South Africa leading global sales.

“Irish whiskey can only be made on the island of Ireland meaning that its success abroad has direct benefits for distillery towns around the country,” he added, “A few years ago Ireland only had three whiskey distilleries whereas now there are 16 in operation or in development in locations ranging from Dublin’s Liberties to rural communities in all four provinces.

“In order to continue this highly positive growth in exports and job creation, Irish Whiskey producers also require a supportive domestic market. The new Public Health Alcohol Bill will put that in jeopardy through a proposed series of stringent measures that would make Ireland amongst the most restricted countries in the world in terms of advertising and marketing for alcoholic products.

“As we stand in the shadow of Brexit, we should not be imposing additional costs on homegrown business which this bill would do. In the context of Brexit, Ireland is also now 20% more expensive for UK visitors. It’s no longer sustainable for Ireland to continue to impose the second-highest level of excise tax on alcohol in the EU and the third-highest spirits excise tax. We’re calling on the Government to actively get behind the growth of the Irish whiskey to help grow Irish exports and jobs.”

The growth in Irish whiskey’s reputation is also expected to encourage more whiskey enthusiasts to travel to Ireland to witness first-hand how their favourite spirit is made.

1.9 million visitors are expected to visit Irish distilleries by 2025, spending an estimated €1.3 billion during their stay in Ireland bringing employment and income to rural communities around the island.

The top 5 markets for whiskey sales in 2016 were:

  1. US: 6 million cases
  2. Ireland: 521,250 cases
  3. France: 381,250 cases
  4. UK: 341,250 cases
  5. South Africa: 335,000 cases.


Using IWSR figures an Irish Times report lists the leading Irish whiskey brands by volume:

  1. Jameson Whiskey 5.8 million cases
  2. Tullamore Dew 1.02 million cases
  3. Bushmillls 739,000 cases
  4. Paddy Whiskey 194,660 cases
  5. Powers Whiskey 101,240 cases
  6. Kilbeggan Whiskey 81,840 cases
  7. 2 Gingers Whiskey 39,000 cases
  8. Redbreast Whiskey 37,600 cases
  9. Clontarf Whiskey 31,100 cases
  10. Teeling Whiskey 30,900 cases

It also reports that Irish whiskey sales in Ireland increased 3.4% per cent to 521,250 cases from 504,225 a year earlier.


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