Irish whiskey sales in US up 19% to more than 3m cases

Sales to US have grown by 409% over the last decade led largely by exports of Jameson

Sales of Irish whiskey overseas continue to reach new highs with a report showing a sharp rise in exports to the US last year.

Data published by International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) on Wednesday shows whiskey exports increased 19 per cent last year to surpass the 3 million nine-litre-case mark.

The report says Irish whiskey sales in the US have grown by an astounding 409 per cent over the last decade, led by Jameson, the largest brand with 78.3 per cent share of the market.

Bourbon sales rose 4.6 per cent in the US last year to 14.8 million nine-litre cases. Canadian whisky volumes grew by 9.8 per cent to 21.6 million cases while Scotch sales rose by just 0.3 per cent to 8.2 million cases.


Irish Distillers, which owns Jameson, welcomed IWSR’s figures.

“Jameson is one of Ireland’s most recognised brands worldwide, enjoying exponential growth with more than five million cases sold annually, up from 500,000 cases each year during the mid-90s,” said Rosemary Garth, director of communications at Irish Distillers.

“We have a strong focus on growing Jameson in the US and there’s scope for even further growth,” she added.

Overall, sales of spirits in the US rose for the 19th year in succession with 7.4 million cases added in 2015 to reach 221.6 million cases. This marks a 28.7 per cent rise from 10 years ago.

The second largest Irish export to the US last year was Baileys, which accounts for 65.7 per cent of Irish liquor exports. However, exports of Irish liquors grew by just 0.4 per cent last year, according to IWSR.

Sales of beer and wine in the US also rose last year with craft’s share of the beer industry rising to 11 per cent.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist