US and UK thirst for Irish whiskey

US and UK thirst for Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey's appeal to younger drinkers has shielded the sector from global recession and positioned it for strong growth over the next four years, according to Datamonitor.

Irish whiskey sales are set to rise in value by 9% annually up to 2014, said the market research agency today (24 May).

Datamonitor has predicted that global Irish whiskey sales will reach US$762.8m in 2013, compared to $488m in 2009 and $255.7m in 2004, according to figures released to just-drinks.

"Irish whiskey has successfully set itself apart from the general market which has traditionally been dominated by older drinkers," said Datamonitor analyst Vicky McCrorie.

Irish whiskey constitutes only a drop of the $13.3bn global whisk(e)y market, but will continue to strongly outpace sales of Scotch, Canadian and American whiskies over the next four years, Datamonitor said.

Canadian whiskey is set to have the second strongest sales growth rate, of 3% annually, while American whiskey will grow by 2% annually and Scotch by just 0.2%, Datamonitor said.

The US market offers the best opportunities for Irish whiskey, according to the agency.

"Irish whiskey is an example of a European brand trading on the fact that it’s different to what is already on offer in an established market like the US," said McCrorie, picking out Pernod Ricard's Jameson brand for particular praise.

Datamonitor research shows that there is an opportunity to target younger drinkers in the US, with 41% of current whisk(e)y drinkers over the age of 55.

Average per capita spend on Irish whiskey in the US in 2009 was US$1.55, compared to $107 in Ireland and $4.79 in the UK, according to Datamonitor figures.