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ABFI Report Over 2.5M Visitors To Booming Irish Distilleries Last Year

By Publications Checkout
ABFI Report Over 2.5M Visitors To Booming Irish Distilleries Last Year

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) is encouraging people to visit a local brewery or distillery visitor center this summer, which it says are the ‘perfect staycation destinations’.

The ABFI said that breweries and distilleries are located right across the country and offer a unique insight into Ireland’s rich heritage in brewing and distilling that spans centuries.

The Spirit Of Tourism

The ibec group representing the alcoholic drinks industry released new figures which show that there were 2,590,215 visitors to the 17 brewery and distillery tourist attractions in Ireland in 2017, up 6% from 2,437,206 in 2016.

Irish whiskey is currently undergoing a renaissance period, as there are now 13 whiskey distilleries in Ireland, which saw 814,000 visitors last year, roughly 9% more than the previous year.

The Jameson Distillery, Bow Street welcomed more than 350,000 visitors in the 12 months since re-opening in March last year, making it the most-visited whiskey experience in the world.


The growing interest in Irish gin is also having a knock-on effect on Irish tourism. A number of distilleries now include both gin and whiskey as part of their visitor experience, as well as a Gin School which has emerged in Louth as a popular destination.

Fáilte Ireland

Fáilte Ireland has recognised Ireland’s brewery and distillery visitor centers as an important factor for Ireland’s broader tourism strategy, as highlighted in its Food & Drinks Strategy 2018-2023.

In it, Fáilte Ireland states that as “we seek to grow the value of Irish tourism over the next 10 years, Ireland’s food and drink offering has a significant role to play in delivering great visitor experiences, increasing dwell time around the country and growing spend.”

“Ireland’s drinks industry is backed by centuries of respected brewing and distilling tradition that we should be proud of. This rich heritage has benefited Ireland’s tourism offering, as the array of drinks-related tourist attractions in existence are rife with amazing stories from the past,” said Patricia Callan, director of the ABFI.

“Just like the Scotch whisky distilleries in Scotland and the vineyards in France, our drinks related tourist attractions draw millions of visitors from around the world every year.”


The industry has warned, however, that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill could undermine the industry’s growth.

Legislation Warning

The ABFI highlighted that, as it stands, advertisements and signs for visitor centers with brand names will essentially be banned, making it extremely challenging to reach potential visitors to these sites.

It highlighted that next year, there will be five whiskey distilleries in Dublin, with four in Dublin 8 alone. The ABFI said that the Alcohol Bill will make it extremely difficult for these distilleries to advertise their visitor centers if the visitor center includes the name of the brand.

‘Potential visitors may face generic ‘whiskey distillery’ signs, with no indication of which distillery is being referenced, causing inevitable confusion,’ the group said.

Patricia Callan added, “These tourist attractions need to be able to reach potential visitors with advertisements and directional signage, which will become increasingly challenging under the proposed new legislation. We’d urge the Government to create an exemption for drinks industry tourist attractions in the Alcohol Bill.”

© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition. 

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