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Irish whiskey exports ‘to double’ by 2020

Exports of Irish whiskey increased by an estimated 8% in 2016 to €505 million (US$537m) and are on track to double by 2020, according to a new report.

Exports of Irish whiskey are expected to continue rapid growth over the next 15 years

In its new ‘Export Performance and Prospects for 2016-2017’ report, Irish food board Bord Bia said Irish whiskey is “the fastest growing spirit in the world”, with exports growing 300% over the last decade.

The category has benefited from “stronger exports” to the US and Eastern Europe, the report states.

The global export environment was “relatively slow” for Irish cream liqueurs throughout “much of the year”, but “recovered” towards the end of 2016. Value exports for the category totalled €305m (US$324m).

Total exports of Irish beverages increased by 4% last year to €1.4bn (US$1.49bn), boosted by the “on-going growth of Irish whiskey combined with a further rise in craft exports”.

Irish beverage exports to international markets grew 25%, reaching €705m (US$750m), while exports to the UK declined by 3% to €380m (US$404m) due to the strengthening of the euro against the pound. Exports to other European markets grew 15% to €315m (US$335m).

Looking ahead, Bord Bia estimates that Irish whiskey exports will double in volume terms by 2020 compared to 2015, with a further two-fold increase to 24m cases by 2030.

In 2015, trade body the Irish Whiskey Association announced its aim to increase the global market share of Irish whiskey by 300% over the next 15 years as part of an “ambitious” strategy.

“The outlook for Irish beverage exports in 2017 looks broadly positive helped by further growth in whiskey sales and the consolidation of Ireland’s position in existing markets coupled with growth in emerging markets,” Bord Bia’s report states.

“Increased exports of premium products such as whiskey, craft beers and cream liqueurs produced in Ireland have helped improve our position in the global market. Maintaining export growth will require further product development and innovation to meet consumer demand for more authentic experiences.

“Currency developments, uncertainty regarding input prices coupled with the persistence of sluggish consumer sentiment in some markets will continue to determine the business development of Irish exporters.”

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