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Irish Whiskey Brands Eye Up Potential Chinese Market At EU Trade Mission

By Sarah O'Sullivan
Irish Whiskey Brands Eye Up Potential Chinese Market At EU Trade Mission

The Irish Whiskey Association is among 72 business delegates currently visiting China to promote their brands and explore export opportunities.

The European Union Directorate-Generals’ (EU DG’s) Agri-Trade Mission is focusing on EU food and drink products recognised with a geographical indication (GI).

GI is a sign used in products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

Irish Whiskey In China

According to Bord Bia’s Export Performance & Prospects index, the value of Irish whiskey in China has increased by 247% in the past five years.

This represented a total monetary value of €4,029,293 in 2023.


International spirits represent around 2% of the total alcohol consumed in China today, worth over €2.5 billion.

This market is expected to grow quickly in the coming years, with whiskey as the fastest-growing category among international spirits.

The trade mission, led by the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski of Poland, visited Shanghai for a number of meetings with industry and Chinese government representatives, attended by the director of the Irish Whiskey Association, Eoin Ó Catháin.

Representatives of the Irish Whiskey Association are in Beijing today, as part of a politically focused delegation organised by spiritsEUROPE.

During the trade mission, Irish whiskeys such as Redbreast, Teeling and Dingle Distillery were selected for display and tasting at the Anuga Select China trade fair, in Shenzhen.


‘Unprecedented Growth’

Speaking in Beijing today, Ó Catháin said, “We have seen unprecedented growth over the past five years in China, but the potential of this market is monumental.

“The Irish Whiskey Association is honoured to be among the invitees to participate in this mission – and for Irish whiskey to be among the few EU GIs to enjoy full recognition and protection here.

“We are delighted to have the support of government departments and Bord Bia, who have a strong presence here, in realising this ambition.”

On showcasing Irish whiskey at the Anuga Select China trade fair, the commercial director of the Asia-Pacific region for Teeling Whiskey, Martin Lynch, said, “The opportunity to showcase our brand on this, [the] DG Agri-Trade Mission, with the support of the Irish Whiskey Association, provides the perfect potential to secure increased focus for our sector in this vibrant key market.”

The managing director of Dingle Distillery, Elliot Hughes, added, “China has been a developing market for Dingle for the last two years, however, we anticipate it becoming a major market for us, alongside the USA and the EU, in a relatively short period of time.”

Read More: Bord Bia Launches 2024 International Trade Events Plan

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