Irish Whiskey packs down with scotch whiskey at annual industry meeting

Monday, 3 February 2014

Flourishing Irish Whiskey Industry will make fantastic gains on league table with estimated growth of 100% by 2020

2nd February 2014 – With Ireland and Scotland battling it out on the rugby pitch this weekend, industry representatives from the Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky sectors will go head-to-head off the field in a meeting tomorrow (Monday) to discuss their products, emerging market opportunities and where the two industries can support each other going forward.
The joint industry meeting between the Irish Spirits Association and Scotch Whisky Association is something of annual tradition that coincides with the Irish and Scottish 6 nations rugby match. This year it will be attended by representatives from all of Ireland’s Whiskey distillers as well as many of the new distillers who have plans to open operations.
The Irish Spirits Association has provided some comparable industry stats that highlight the stark difference between the Irish and Scottish industries in terms of relative size, and the hugely positive growth prospects for the Irish whiskey industry.

Irish Whiskey VS. Scotch Whisky: Team Stats

Irish Whiskey Scotch Whisky
Employees (direct and indirect) 14,500 (spirits) 35,000
Tonnes of barley

Number of distilleries





Value to economy - GVA €568m (spirits) 3bn
Cases (9-litre) exported 6.2 million 93 million

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Peter Morehead, Director of Production at Irish Distillers and Chairman of the Irish Spirits Association said that there is a plethora of lessons that the Irish whiskey industry can learn from the Scottish experience: “Irish spirits companies contribute over €1bn to the Exchequer every year, supporting the employment of 14,700 people across production and sales. However, when we compare the whiskey industry to that of Scotch whisky, it becomes clear that there is a space for huge potential growth in the sector.

What’s especially exciting is the fact that the Irish whiskey industry has been flourishing as of late, experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. This has led to extremely positive growth prospects. Currently we have 4 distilleries and this is set to grow to over 15 if all current projects move forward. As well as this Ireland currently exports over 6.2 million 9-litre cases of Irish Whiskey to over 100 markets and this figure will potentially double to over 12-million 9-litre cases by 2020.

Currently, the USA is the top destination for Irish whiskey, followed by the UK, but emerging markets such as Russia and China present significant opportunity for future export driven growth in the sector.
I would like to take this opportunity to urge the Government to do everything in its power support the industry so it can continue to build on current success, identify new markets for products and find innovative product solutions, which will in turn help to foster further economic recovery in Ireland and fill what is undoubtedly a space for huge growth in the sector.”

Campbell Evans, Director of International Affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association commented: “The Scotch Whisky industry is extremely successful, exporting over 93million cases of whisky and generating 135 a second from over 108 distilleries and employing over 35,000 people directly and indirectly. We see growth opportunity in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as continued good sales in more established markets such as the USA and France.

“I look forward to sitting down with representatives from the Irish whiskey industry to discuss an array of topics from emerging market trends to Europe-level issues. The two industries have opportunities for considerable growth in the coming years both in terms of new distilleries being built in Scotland and Ireland, and in new markets expanding. I know from our past meetings there are a host valuable lessons we can learn from each other when we meet in Dublin to ensure this potential in grabbed by us all..”


Media Contact Details:
Ruth O’Byrnes: 0860558331
Colin Taylor: 0867832502

About the Irish Spirits Association
The ISA was established in 1997 to promote the interests of the Irish spirits industry in a national and international context. The objective of the Association, which is part of ABFI (Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland) is to ensure that optimal international trading conditions exist for the Irish spirits industry. The Association offers a service of information, representation and advice and provides a forum for members to make new contacts and exchange new ideas.