Irish drinks exports increased by 8% to €1.45bn in 2019

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Irish drinks exports grew by 8% last year to reach €1.45 billion, according to a new report released by Bord Bia and welcomed by Drinks Ireland.

It found that the US remains the key market for Irish beverage exports, accounting for 40% of exports in 2019, valued at €676m.

According to the report, over half of the export growth achieved in 2019 was in the Irish whiskey category.

Irish whiskey will continue to lead drinks exports in 2020.

Elsewhere, growing diversity in the Irish beer sector meant that beer exports are anticipated to be 1-2% higher in 2019 than in 2018. Ireland’s beer production is expected to continue on its current trajectory of moderate export growth with the country’s heritage and provenance in the category allowing it to find a distinct space in a crowded market.

For cider producers, 2019 brought a strong performance in the core UK market.

Gin exports in 2019 grew by 17% to €9m. According to Bord Bia, it will continue to be a strong niche export category with double digit export growth expected in 2020.

Finally, Irish cream liqueur exports remained stable at 7.9m cases, which is impressive given recent tariffs by the US.

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland commented:

“Bord Bia’s report confirms that Ireland’s drinks industry is an export powerhouse and is certainly punching above its weight when it comes to export performance, with growth continuing over the past few years.

In addition to export growth in the US, we also saw growth in a number of other key markets in 2019.

In the EU, France proved especially receptive to Irish drinks products as exports there rose by 45% to €86m. Exports to Germany also increased by 20% to €84m.

Canada, an important market for Irish cream liqueur and an increasing one for Irish whiskey, saw a 2% increase in exports to €72m.

Bord Bia has identified Brexit and US tariffs as two major issues impacting Irish drinks exports, given the prominence of the US and UK markets. However, overall the outlook for 2020 looks positive.”