Aoife Clarke named chair of the Irish Spirits Association

13th December, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

Trade body the Irish Spirits Association (ISA) has appointed Beam Suntory’s Aoife Clarke as its new chair, taking over from John Harte.

Aoife Clarke is the new chair of the Irish Spirits Association

Clarke was previously vice-chair of the ISA and has acted as the senior director of international public affairs at Beam Suntory for more than four years.

Prior to this, she was a senior executive at Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) for over five years. Clarke, who will become the first chair of the ISA in its 20-year history, also worked for the Irish BioIndustry Association and PharmaChemical Ireland.

Pat Rigney of the The Shed Distillery, maker of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, has been appointed vice-chair of the ISA.

“The Irish spirits industry is at an important point in time. The sector is undergoing vibrant growth and exports have increased substantially in recent years,” said Clarke.

She continued: “There are huge opportunities ahead, especially for Ireland’s GI spirits. Irish whiskey is going from strength to strength and is now the fastest growing spirits category in the world. Irish cream liqueur is emerging from a lost decade, with sales on the rise again.

“However, there are also significant challenges on the horizon for the sector, such as Brexit and the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. I’m delighted to take on the position of chair in the ISA.”

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