Irish whiskey distilleries see visitor numbers rise by 11%

Some 814,000 people travelled to whiskey visitor centres last year

Pearse Lyons at the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin 8 which opened last year.  Photograph: Conor McCabe

Pearse Lyons at the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin 8 which opened last year. Photograph: Conor McCabe

 

The number of tourists travelling to Ireland’s whiskey distillery centres increased by 11 per cent last year, the Irish Whiskey Association said on Monday.

Some 814,000 people visited the 12 distillery visitor centres on the island of Ireland in 2017, up from 733,000 the previous year.

The 12 centres, including the Slane Distillery in Meath and the Pearse Lyons distillery in Dublin which opened last year, attracted visitors mainly from the US, the UK, Germany, France and northern Europe, the association said.

“Continued double-digit growth proves that Irish whiskey tourism is a hot trend right now and an increasingly important part of Ireland’s tourism offer,” said William Lavelle, head of the Irish Whiskey Association.

“Whiskey tourism is delivering tourists, jobs and investment to local economies right across Ireland, from Dublin’s Liberties to rural communities,” he added.

Alcohol Bill

In addition to the newly opened facilities this year, a number of new distillery visitor centres are expected to open this year in locations including Clonakilty and Drogheda.

Mr Lavelle took aim at the Government’s alcohol Bill which could restrict the promotion and advertising of alcohol. “Advertising of visitor centres could be severely constrained,” he said, noting that it was “yet another unintended consequence of this alcohol Bill”.

“[This could] put jobs at risk in communities which are heavily reliant on the influx of visitors to the local distillery visitor centre,” he added.