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Irish whiskey exports rise despite sluggish US

Irish whiskey exports have risen 60% over the past five years to hit €365 million in 2014 despite a slowdown in its top market, the US.

Irish whiskey exports experienced double digit growth in 2014, a report by Bord Bia has found

According to a report by Bord Bia, Irish whiskey made up 30% of total Irish beverage exports in 2014, and reported strong double-digit growth which helped to offset Ireland’s slowing cream liqueurs, beer and cider industries.

While Irish whiskey experienced a slower rate of growth in the US – its largest mark – it continued its export growth trajectory and remains the fastest-growing spirit in the world.

In 2014, seven million nine-litre cases of Irish whiskey were exported – a figure that is expected to rise to 25m cases by 2030.

There has been a surge of investment in the industry in recent years, with a number of new distilleries receiving planning permission. Currently, there are nine active distilleries in Ireland, with eight more scheduled to open by the end of 2015.

“Irish beverage exports put in a robust performance in 2014 driven by ongoing growth in whiskey combined with further growth in ‘craft’ exports,” the Bord Bia report reads. “This helped to offset slower beer, cream liqueur and cider sales.”

It also notes that key growth for Irish beverages lies in the emerging markets of Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa as a number of developed markets experienced “subdued demand”.

For Irish whiskey in particular, Russia and South Africa showed “impressive growth levels”.

“The outlook for Irish beverage exports in 2015 continues to be broadly positive helped by an anticipated further rise in whiskey sales, the ongoing development of emerging markets and the ever increasing range of craft beers and spirits being produced in Ireland,” the report continued.

“The ability of the sector to continue to develop new markets and innovative product solutions for developed markets will remain critical.”

Overall, Irish beverage exports are expected to have marginally increased by 1% to 1.21bn.

It was reported in October last year that sales of Irish whiskey in Ireland – the category’s second largest market – plummeted by almost 20% as excise taxes on spirits continued to soar.

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