Demand for premium Irish whiskey brands has soared domestically last year, as sales jumped 41% to more than 700,000 bottles, according to the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA).
Overall sales of Irish whiskey grew by 6% to 6.4 million bottles in 2017, while Jameson remained Ireland’s most popular whiskey brand, with a 10.2% increase in sales. This was reportedly buoyed by the success of the Jameson Caskmates line.
"This growth comes while overall alcohol consumption in Ireland is down 25% since 2005. We are seeing a major shift away from low-price, high-volume consumption as consumers are increasingly willing to pay for quality, innovative premium products," said William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association.
Product Innovation Wave
There are also currently 13 whiskey distillery visitor centres across the country, with plans for an additional 10 visitor centres to open in the coming years.
"The Irish whiskey industry, while built on tradition, is nonetheless benefiting from the current wave of product innovation coming out of Irish distilleries. We are particularly seeing significant innovation in the use of different casks (e.g beer, rum, etc) to finish Irish whiskeys," Lavelle added.
"This is giving consumers a rich variety of unique, premium products which is driving interest in the Irish whiskey category and boosting sales of premium brand lines."
In 2017, visitor numbers to Irish whiskey distilleries grew to 814,000, an 11% increase year-on-year and a 25% increase on 2015.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.