Spearheaded by strong growth in Irish whiskey, Irish alcohol exports increased by 8% to €1.45 billion in 2019.
Over half of the export growth achieved in 2019 was in the Irish whiskey category, according to a new report titled Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects 2019/2020.
“Bord Bia’s report confirms that Ireland’s drinks industry is an export powerhouse and is certainly punching above its weight when it comes to export performance, with growth continuing over the past few years," Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland said.
The data showed that the US remains the key market for Irish beverage exports, accounting for 40% of exports in 2019, valued at €676 million.
"In addition to export growth in the US, we also saw growth in a number of other key markets in 2019," she added.
Elsewhere, growing diversity in the Irish beer sector meant that beer exports are anticipated to be 1-2% higher in 2019 than in 2018.
Ireland’s beer production is expected to continue on its current trajectory of moderate export growth with the country’s heritage and provenance in the category allowing it to find a distinct space in a crowded market.
For cider producers, 2019 brought a strong performance in the core UK market, Drinks Ireland highlighted.
Gin exports in 2019 grew by 17% to €9 million. According to Bord Bia, it will continue to be a strong niche export category with double digit export growth expected in 2020.
Despite recent tariffs implemented by the US, Irish cream liqueur exports remained stable at 7.9 million cases.
In the EU, France proved especially receptive to Irish drinks products as exports there rose by 45% to €86 million.
Exports to Germany also increased by 20% to €84 million.
The report showed that, Canada, an important market for Irish cream liqueur and an increasing one for Irish whiskey, saw a 2% increase in exports to €72 million.
Callan noted that Bord Bia has identified Brexit and US tariffs as two major issues impacting Irish drinks exports, given the prominence of the US and UK markets.
"However, overall the outlook for 2020 looks positive.” She concluded.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.