Irish whiskey sees ‘explosive’ US growthBy Kristiane Sherry
High-end premium Irish whiskey case sales in the US have shot by up 589% since 2002, according to latest DISCUS figures.
The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) trade association recorded super-premium Irish whiskey volumes growth of 54.4% in 2015 alone, while high-end premium whiskey saw gains of 13.7%.
Total revenues from the entire Irish whiskey category in the US reached US$ $664 million over the year, generated from 3.2 million 9-litre cases.
Since 2002, the super-premium Irish whiskey segment expanded 3,054%, from selling just 9,000 9-litre cases to 292,000 last year.
“It is the premium categories leading the Irish whiskey boom as adult consumers continue to favour higher-end products,” said Frank Coleman, DISCUS senior vice president.
“The growth of Irish whiskey is reflective of the overall trend of consumers trading up to more premium versions of their favourite spirits.”
Washington DC-based mixologist and Irish whiskey expert JP Fetherston added: “Irish whiskey has exploded in the US in large part due to the fact that it’s very familiar to most American drinkers and is now expanding in terms of different expressions.
“More approachable for whiskey newcomers, Irish whiskeys are subtle and delicate, which is both challenging and exciting to work with as I often have to ensure I don’t lose its gorgeous character within a cocktail.”
Last month, Stephen Teeling, sales and marketing director of The Teeling Whiskey Company, said Irish whiskey’s “entry point” appeal was driving growth in the US.