Irish Whiskey distilleres to attract 158,000 visitors every year to Ireland's Midlands and East

Monday, 15 May 2017


THE Irish Whiskey Association’s Midlands/East Regional Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy was launched by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan on Monday evening [15th MAY] at the Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse.

Minister O’Donovan said, “I am very pleased on behalf of the Government to launch the Midlands/East Regional Irish Whiskey Association Tourism Strategy. We are fully supportive of the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy’s target to treble the number of Irish whiskey tourists visiting Ireland annually, to 1.9 million over the next 8 years. When achieved this will deliver €1.3 billion to rural and urban centres all over Ireland every year and create hundreds of jobs.

“There will soon be Irish whiskey distilleries operating in 20 counties around the country. With the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy I believe we have the opportunity to create a world-class tourism offering that encourages high-spending international tourists to spend time in distillery towns all around the island.”

The Irish whiskey revolution is gathering pace in Ireland’s Midlands and East. Until recently there were just two distilleries in the region. Now there are four and soon there will be six operating across counties Louth, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath.

Miriam Mooney, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association said “Irish distilleries are positioning themselves as key tourist attractions. Already Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse and Kilbeggan Distillery are succeeding in attracting more than 100,000 visitors to the region every year.”

“We believe that when Slane Distillery and Boann Distillery open their visitor centres, the number of whiskey tourists travelling to the region may exceed the anticipated target of 158,000 visitors per annum judging by the performance of existing visitor centres in the region. This region will play an integral role in making Ireland the world’s number 1 whiskey tourism destination.”

The massive growth in Irish Whiskey and Irish Whiskey Tourism means that distilleries in the Midlands/East will soon support 286 jobs directly in the region and many more jobs will be created in the hospitality sector as a result.

“With collaboration of local communities and national and local government support, Irish whiskey tourism has the potential to grow from 653,277 visitors every year up to 1.9 million visitors by 2025, spending an estimated €1.3 billion every year and the rich whiskey making culture in the Midlands and East plays an integral role in making this potential a reality.”

“We are delighted Minister Patrick O’Donovan could join us today. It is vital that the Irish Whiskey Association can work together with Government to ensure the future success of Irish whiskey tourism and support the growth of distilleries in Westmeath and around the country.”


Notes to Editor

The Irish Whiskey Association is an all-island organisation and was established in 2014. It provides a forum for all operators, new and old, to come together to share expertise and cooperate in building the Irish whiskey category brand.

The Irish whiskey category is the fastest growing premium spirit in the world. Irish whiskey sales have increased by over 300% in the last 10 years accounting for almost one third of all Irish beverage exports.

Exports of Irish whiskey are anticipated to double to 144 million bottles by 2020 (12 million 9 litre cases – 12 75cl bottles per case) and 288 million bottles by 2030 (24 million 9 litre cases) - Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy.

There are currently sixteen working distilleries on the island of Ireland, with another 15 with planning permission. 1.9 million tourists are expected to pass through the doors of Irish whiskey distilleries by 2025 - Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy.

There are four distilleries in the Midlands and East region, soon to be six (Tullamore Distillery, Kilbeggan Distillery, Slane Distillery, Boann Distillery, Cooley Distillery, Great Northern Distillery).

Distilleries in the Midlands and East already attract 104,000 tourists annually. The ambition is to increase this figure to 158,000 whiskey tourists each year, which once achieve means that local distilleries will support 286 jobs.

The Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy which sets out how Ireland can become the world leader in whiskey tourism by 2030. The strategy sets out four recommendations which are required in order to achieve that objective:

Support the growth of Irish whiskey distilleries and visitor centres

Develop an all island whiskey tourism product

Create an Irish whiskey trail and tourism infrastructure around distilleries

Develop an embassy network of hotels, restaurants and pubs

For further information contact:

Melanie McDonald, Red Flag (Dublin) +353 1 634 4534 / +353 86 047 4531