Irish Whiskey Exports Reached €890m In 2019

By Maev Martin
Irish Whiskey Exports Reached €890m In 2019

The Irish whiskey industry invested a total of €1.55 billion in the all-island economy from 2010 to 2020 as the value of Irish whiskey exports from the island of Ireland reached €890 million last year, a new report shows.

The report, published by Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association, also reveals that global sales of Irish whiskey grew from 60 million bottles in 2010 to 144 million bottles in January 2020.

Irish whiskey was the world’s fastest-growing spirits category of the past decade.


Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association noted that the industry directly employed 1,640 people pre-COVID.


According to the group, the Irish whiskey industry contributed €686 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) to our shared economy, with GVA per employee of €412,756, the highest across the entire Irish food and drink industry.

Four Distilleries To 38

The number of distilleries across Ireland grew from four in 2010 to 38 in 2019.

William Lavelle, head of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association, said: “We have seen hundreds of millions of euros invested in leading distilleries such Tullamore and Midleton, while new distilleries such as Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin 8 and The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim have played a pivotal role in the regeneration of their respective communities.”

Opportunities And Challenges


The report also looks to the future, assessing the opportunities and challenges for Irish whiskey in coming years.

Lavelle highlighted: “Irish whiskey can look forward knowing there are still many opportunities out there, from the potential that market diversification offers in terms of growth in Asia and Africa, to the opportunities on offering from the emergence of e-commerce as a major new sales channel for spirits.

“However, our industry also faces challenges, from the declining spring barley base in Ireland to the threats posed by protectionism and the divergence Brexit will bring to our all-island industry. Our industry has proven to be resilient and we will get through these,” he said.

Resilience And Recovery

David Stapleton, outgoing chairman of Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey Association, noted that 2020 has been an extremely difficult year. However, the Irish whiskey industry has proven itself to be resilient.


He said: "After decades of decline, we have experienced a remarkable decade of recovery between 2010 and 2020."

"That recovery will continue. The industry is ready to bounce back in 2021, and march into the next decade with a focus on the continued growth of Irish whiskey sales,” he added.

© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout. 

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