Gin sales up 44% in Ireland in 2017 as Irish gin producers set sights on growth

Friday, 6 April 2018

Irish spirits industry launches five-year ‘Strategy for Irish Gin’

Producers propose Irish Gin Standard for quality and authenticity

Gin lovers in Ireland are set to benefit from the surge in popularity of Irish gin, with new products set to hit the market in the next five years and an Irish Gin Standard for quality and authenticity to be created. The plans for Irish gin are set out by the Irish Spirits Association (ISA) in its Strategy for Irish Gin 2018-2022.

While overall alcohol consumption continues to fall in Ireland, gin has become increasingly popular. According to Nielsen, 2017 saw a 44.3 per cent increase in total gin sales in Ireland (Irish gin and international gin). There was a 40.5 per cent increase in on-trade gin sales and a 47.2 per cent increase in off-trade gin sales.

Overall 2017 was a breakthrough year for Irish gin. Exports more than trebled and 130,000 cases of Irish gin were sold around the world. In response to this growth, the ISA created an Irish Gin Working Group to create this strategy for further growth.

The new strategy identifies the main target markets for Irish gin. While Ireland will remain the most important market, Irish Gin producers have identified the UK, Spain, Germany, the USA and Canada as the priority export markets.

The strategy also sets out four key goals and a number of actions to deliver on the vision and growth targets for Irish gin.

Firstly, the industry wants to develop world-leading standards for Irish gin. This involves creating an Irish Gin Standard for quality and authenticity that will be enforced on a national and international level. The ISA will also work with producers to develop and promote a recognised gold standard logo for Irish distilled gin.

Secondly, producers will promote Irish gin worldwide, starting with the five key target markets.

Thirdly, the industry aims to help sustain a vibrant home market for gin. For example, the ISA will actively support in the development and expansion of Gin Fairs and Gin Trails throughout Ireland. It will also promote consumer awareness of Irish gin and provide consumer advice on Irish gin and food pairing.

Finally, the industry will support the viability of Irish gin producers. This involves working with state agencies to support the growth of these companies as well as development into new areas such as, for example, the creation of visitor centres.

Pat Rigney, chair of the Irish gin working group in the Irish Spirits Association and founder of The Shed Distillery in Co. Leitrim said:

“The Irish gin industry is ambitious, and our ambitions are increasingly global. Irish gin is already regarded as a world-leader in terms of quality and authenticity. As sales begin to increase at home and abroad, we want to ensure that we can take advantage of this positive growth trajectory by developing world-leading, consumer focused standards, building on Ireland’s reputation for great food and drink.

“Export-growth is vital, and we have identified five priority international markets that we wish to target for growth with the support of Government and statutory partners. Export-growth will support job creation through Ireland and help deliver on the Government’s FoodWise 2025 targets.

“But we are very concerned about some of the unintended negative implications of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. We are calling for reasonable amendments to the Bill, to ensure that Irish Gin bottle do not have to carry an extremist health warning taking up one third of the label on what are normally the most attractively-designed spirits bottles. We also believe that the labelling requirements in the Bill could deter imports of gin, hamper innovation and growth among Irish gin producers and create a situation in which there is regulatory misalignment between the North and South.”

Michael Scully from Clonakilty Distillery in Cork said:

“With Irish gin we are able to offer consumers something different, with products that focus on quality and authenticity. This continued focus on high standards will allow the industry to continue growing.

“At Clonakilty we are delighted to launch our new Minke Gin today, which is inspired by the Minke whale, that swims wild off our Atlantic Ocean coastline. Our lead botanical is Rock samphire, which is sustainably harvested by hand from our West Cork seashore. The base spirit is derived from whey, produced from our 8th generation family farm.”

Bronagh Conlon, Managing Director of Listoke Distillery & Gin School in Louth said:

“In addition to the wealth on new gins on the market there has also been an increase in gin related visitor attractions and this strategy will ensure this trend continues. We operate the Listoke Gin School at our site in Drogheda and will be opening another gin school in Galway later this year.”

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle will launch the new strategy with The Irish Spirits Association at an event today (6th April) at 12pm in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. The industry is launching the new strategy ahead of the Gin Experience Dublin, which is taking place in Dublin Castle, April 6th & 7th.


Notes to Editor

*This target came from an independent survey of ISA gin-producing members