Have we hit peak gin yet? There are now 50 Irish gin brands

New figures show 12 new gin brands were launched in 2018 alone

Fancy a gin with pink grapefruit and a sprig of thyme? Course you do

Fancy a gin with pink grapefruit and a sprig of thyme? Course you do

 

The current gin craze shows no sign of slowing with new figures showing there are now over 20 gin producers and over 50 gin brands in Ireland.

According to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), 12 new designer gin brands were launched last year alone as the market for the spirit and an increasingly exotic range of mixers continues to grow.

ABFI noted that consumers here purchased more than half a million bottles of pink gin last year, making pink gin the breakthrough gin product of 2018.

New “boutique” gins such as Dingle Gin (Kerry), Gunpowder Gin (Leitrim) and Glendalough Gin (Wicklow) now represent the fastest growing sector of the drinks industry here.

Even the tonic waters that typically accompany the spirit have been given a makeover with many new brands , including Fever Tree and Poacher’s Premium, proving popular with Irish consumers.

The value of Irish gin exports also soared last year, rising 213 per cent to €4.2 million in first nine months of 2018.

Separate figures show gin volume sales in the Republic have risen by about a third in the last three years with up to 150,000 nine-litre cases of the product expected to have been sold here last year.

While beer remains the country’s favourite tipple, with a 45 per cent market share of the alcohol market, 2018 saw the emergence of lighter and non-alcoholic lager options.

This trend is expected to strengthen in 2019, the ABFI said. A relatively new-found appreciation of wine also strengthened last year with wine sales now accounting for around 28 per cent of the market.

White wine

White wine remains Ireland’s most popular wine category, with a 50 per cent share of the wine market. Red wine has a 45 per cent market share, while between 2016 and 2017, rosé consumption increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent

Despite the positive growth, there are still a number of significant risks including the relatively high excise duty rates , the ABFI warned, noting Irish consumers pay the second highest rate on beer, and the third highest rate on spirits.

The group also raised concerns about the implementation of the new Public Health Alcohol) Act, which restricts the advertising and sale of alcohol.

It also highlighted the incoming threat of Brexit on the drinks industry here.

“In 2018 Ireland’s drinks industry continued to make a vital contribution to the country’s economy, employing 90,000 people and exporting more than €1.25 billion worth of produce,” ABFI director Patricia Callan said.

“Meanwhile alcohol consumption continues to fall. Since 2001 the average per adult alcohol consumption has declined by 23.3 per cent in Ireland,” she said.

“This year will be a challenging one for the sector with a number of homegrown and international risks ahead. We remain committed to supporting Ireland’s economy and will take on these various challenges and uncertainties head on.”