The on-trade also increased its volume share by one percentage point to 25% last year.
Spirits’ share of overall alcohol consumption rose last year from 19.8% in 2017 to 20.5%, according to the Report.
The Irish Spirits Market Report 2018 assesses the performance of Ireland’s domestic spirits market and the spirits export industry and finds that overall sales of spirits in the home market increased 6.6% to 2.4 million cases in 2018 from 2.25 million in 2017, driven by consumer demand for Irish whiskey and gin.
Irish whiskey, the second most popular spirit in Ireland, with a 25.1% share of the market, saw sales increase by 5.4% between 2017 and 2018 while gin sales soared again, up by 31.8% during the same period. Gin maintained its position as the fastest-growing spirit in the domestic market.
Despite a strong performance by both gin and whiskey, vodka remains Ireland’s favourite spirits drink, accounting for 33.7% of spirits sales. It grew 4.8% between 2017 and 2018.
The report also highlights the significant contribution of €372.2 million in net excise receipts to the economy.
But last year was a landmark year as the value of spirits exports from Ireland increased from €916 million to over €1 billion, according to the Report. This landmark figure is due to a 10.2% growth in export values.
The US, as the top export market, took 6.5 million cases in 2018 and the UK followed some way behind with a figure of 1.6 million cases.
This compares to a growth of 23% in the amount of US Whiskey and Bourbon being imported here, running up from €3.6 million in 2017 to €4.4 million last year.
In her introduction to the report Drinks Ireland|Spirits Chair and Senior Director of Public Affairs, International, Beam Suntory Aoife Clarke also points out the relevance of the US to Irish exports stating that, “The current number one and number two export destinations for Ireland’s drinks products are the United States (by a significant distance) and the United Kingdom. Both markets will be seriously challenged in years to come because of the re-emergence of barriers to trade and uncertainty around future relationships.
“There are no winners in a trade war, just losers, particularly among consumers,” she concluded.