Irish whiskey exports are set to double by 2020

Irish whiskey exports are set to double by 2020

A new trade body has been established to promote the interests of the fast-growing Irish whiskey sector. 

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) was launched today (9 April) to champion the industry domestically and globally, while offering "legal protection" for the category in international markets. Irish whiskey exports are forecast to double to 12m cases by 2020, the new asscociation said, with 15 new distilleries currently in development. 

The founding members of the group are:

  • Alltech Burren Irish Whiskey Castle Brands
  • TJ Carolan (Gruppo Campari)
  • Cooley Distillery (Beam Inc)
  • Bushmills Distillery (Diageo)
  • Dublin Whiskey Co
  • First Ireland Spirits
  • Glendalough Irish Whiskey
  • Great Northern Distillery
  • Irish Distillers (Pernod Ricard)
  • Slane Castle Whiskey
  • Teeling Whiskey Co
  • Tullamore DEW (William Grant & Sons)
  • Walsh Whiskey Distillery Co
  • West Cork Distillers
  • Wild Geese Irish Whiskey

The group, whose members include established companies and new entrants, expects the sector to invest around EUR1bn in Ireland over the next ten years.

The group's goals are to: 

  • Promote the Irish whiskey category in Ireland and internationally, working with Government agencies (North and South) and the European Commission
  • Support new market entrants
  • Ensure the legal protection offered by the Geographic Indication is applied in Ireland and internationally, and
  • Ensure public policy supports the sustainable growth of the Irish whiskey sector.

Peter Morehead, the group's chairman & production director at Pernod Ricard-owned Irish Distillers said: "There has been sustained growth in Irish whiskey over the last 20 years, with the category experiencing double-digit growth since the turn of the Millennium and the trend set to continue.

"With this growth comes the need for leadership in ensuring the category maximises its potential and continues to maintain the high quality standards that consumers all around the world have come to expect from their Irish whiskey."

Simon Coveney, the Irish Government's minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, who helped launch the group, said: "We can be proud of the quality, craft and heritage which Irish whiskey epitomises and look forward with excitement to the future of the industry."

Irish whiskey is currently sold in 77 countries, with the US, France, Germany, Russia and the UK accounting for around 75% of total sales.