Whiskey sector forecast to rebound after suffering pandemic hit

Value of Irish whiskey exports reached €890m last year, new figures show

Jameson is by far and away the industry leader with sales of eight million cases, followed by Tullamore Dew and Bushmills. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Jameson is by far and away the industry leader with sales of eight million cases, followed by Tullamore Dew and Bushmills. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

 

More than €1.5 billion has been invested in the Irish whiskey sector over the past decade, a period in which global sales have grown from 60 million bottles to 144 million, new figures show.

According to a report from the Irish Whiskey Association, the aggregate value of whiskey exports reached €890 million last year.

Irish whiskey was the world’s fastest-growing spirits category over the past decade, with sales nearing a record 12 million cases in 2019. Jameson is by far and away the industry leader, with sales of eight million cases, followed by Tullamore Dew and Bushmills.

“In 2010 there were just four distilleries operating on the island of Ireland. Now, only 10 years later, we have 38 distilleries working in towns and villages throughout Ireland, creating jobs, attracting visitors and resulting in the restoration of distilling to areas which once had rich traditions in whiskey production,” said William Lavelle, head of the association.

Worldwide market

Irish whiskey is now sold in 140 markets globally, with the US accounting for 51 per cent of all sales growth over the last decade.

While whiskey sales have taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, the association said it expected the sector to quickly rebound.

“This has been an extremely difficult year. However, the Irish whiskey industry has proven itself to be resilient. After decades of decline, we have experienced a remarkable decade of recovery between 2010 and 2020. That recovery will continue,” said chairman David Stapleton.

“The industry is ready to bounce back in 2021, and march into the next decade with a focus on the continued growth of Irish whiskey sales,” he added.