Irish drinks industry welcomes new report from agriculture committee on support for tillage sector

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Irish drinks industry “committed” to sourcing inputs from Irish tillage farmers
Purchases by drinks industry set to increase as Irish whiskey sector continues to grow
New report recommends development of Irish Whiskey Trail

23rd November 2017 – Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), the representative group for drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland, has welcomed a new report from the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on how to further support the tillage sector. The Irish drinks industry makes a significant contribution to the Irish tillage sector and this is set to increase due the anticipated growth of Irish whiskey. As such, ABFI says that increased support for tillage farmers is required.
A few years ago, Ireland had only four operational whiskey distilleries. There are now 18 distilleries operating in locations ranging from Dublin’s Liberties to rural communities right across the country. This growth is leading to an increase in demand for both unmalted grain and malted barley and more of this demand is being met from domestic sources.

According to ABFI, nearly all Irish breweries and distilleries are sourcing nearly 100 per cent of their malted barley from within Ireland. As a result, the demand for malting barley has grown by 250 per cent. The Irish whiskey industry purchased 85,000 tonnes of Irish malted and unmalted barley in 2016. Even distillers in Northern Ireland are sourcing their malted barley from the Republic of Ireland.

In its report, the Committee welcomed the fact that many Irish distillers and brewers endeavour to source as much raw material from Ireland as possible. It recommended that an industry wide conversation should be held as to the value of their Irish inputs in conjunction with Origin Green, which ABFI has committed to take part in.

ABFI has stated that the Irish drinks industry is committed to use Irish malted barley as it continues to grow and as such these contracts would help safeguard future supply to the drinks industry.

In the new report, the Committee suggests that the Irish Whiskey Trail may benefit from further development, acknowledging that tourism initiatives like this can have a positive impact on Irish tillage farmers, as it can increase awareness towards and sales of Irish drinks products. ABFI has welcomed this recommendation and called on the Government to support the industry in developing the Irish Whiskey Trail further.
Commenting on the new report, Patricia Callan, Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) said:

“It is anticipated that export growth for Irish drinks brands, particularly Irish whiskey, will lead to further increased demand for Irish grain. Furthermore, the commitments being made by Irish drinks producers under Bord Bia’s Origin Green scheme means more agricultural raw materials will be sourced locally. As such, support for the tillage sector is vital and the drinks industry is committed to working with the Government and tillage farmers to ensure future supply can not only be secured, but also increased where relevant.”


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