Northern Ireland’s drinks industry meets in Belfast and calls on new Executive to promote exports and tourism

Monday, 13 January 2020

Representatives of Northern Ireland’s drinks industry met today in Belfast to review key issues affecting the sector ahead of Brexit at the end of the month. The meeting was convened by Drinks Ireland, the representative body for the all-island drinks industry. Drinks Ireland has 11 member companies with brewing, distilling, bottling or distribution operations in Northern Ireland.

The meeting followed the appointment, on Saturday, of the new Northern Ireland Executive. Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland, extended best wishes to the new Executive: “In particular, we wish to congratulate Diane Dodds on her appointment as Minister for the Economy and Edwin Poots on has appointment as Minister for Agriculture.

“We look forward to working with both Ministers and their Departments to promote exports and tourism – growing global sales of Northern Irish drinks products and increasing more Irish, British and international visitors to distillery and brewery visitor centres in Northern Ireland.”

“From global superstar brands such as Baileys Irish Cream and Bushmills Irish Whiskey to newer artisan gin brands such as Shortcross and Jawbox, the Northern Irish drinks industry consistently punches above its weight on the world scene, while making a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.”

Over the coming months Drinks Ireland will be lobbying the new Executive and Assembly for:
• Increased funding for Invest NI and Tourism NI to expand their respective export and tourism promotion activities in the context of Brexit;
• Reform of liquor licensing law to provide more flexibility to brewery and distillery centres to enhance their tourism and hospitality offering;
• Reduction of Northern Ireland’s corporate tax rate and measure to improve business competitiveness in Northern Ireland

Today’s meeting of the Northern Ireland drinks industry was followed by a roundtable with officials from the Department of the Economy.