Irish Spirits Exports Reach Record High of €1.45bn in 2022, US Remains Top Buyer
A new report from Drinks Ireland reveals that the value of Irish spirits exports reached a record high of €1.45bn in 2022, with the United States maintaining its position as the number one buyer. The Irish Spirits Market Report for 2022 highlights a continued consumer trend towards “premiumisation,” which is driving the increase in sales. Compared to 2021, Irish spirits exports grew by 17%, while domestic sales saw a growth of 6%.
In terms of volume, which is measured in sales of nine-litre cases, a total of 25.2 million cases of Irish whiskey, Irish cream, and poitín were sold worldwide in 2022. Of these, the US imported nearly four times as many spirits drinks from Ireland compared to any other country. In total, almost 8.2 million cases were exported from Ireland to the US, with 5.84 million cases being whiskey. The UK is the next largest market, importing 2.39 million cases of these three spirits, followed by Germany with 1.4 million cases. Whiskey alone accounted for 15.2 million cases sold globally, while Irish cream sold 9.9 million cases.
Within Ireland, vodka remains the favorite spirits drink, accounting for 30% of all spirits sales. Whiskey accounted for 26% of sales, while gin made up 13%. Overall, 2.7 million nine-litre cases of spirits were sold in Ireland in 2022, with 54.3% of sales in the on-trade sector and 45.7% in the off-trade sector.
Cormac Healy, Director of Drinks Ireland, noted that there is a continuing trend towards “premiumisation” in the drinks industry, with the drinking culture in Ireland evolving. Consumers are increasingly choosing quality over quantity. This shift towards premium products has had an impact on gin sales, which saw a decline of 1.7% compared to 2021. The report attributes this decline to a slowdown in “standard” gin sales, while premium gin sales increased by 15%.
The report also highlights the adverse impact of the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis on producers in 2022. Bryan Fallon, Chair of the spirits section of Drinks Ireland, acknowledges the challenges presented by inflation, which show little sign of abating as we enter 2023. This inflation is driving up producer and consumer pricing globally.
In conclusion, the Irish spirits industry has experienced significant growth in exports, reaching a record high in 2022. The US remains the largest market for Irish spirits, followed by the UK and Germany. The trend towards premiumisation and the evolving drinking culture in Ireland are shaping consumer preferences. However, challenges such as the war in Ukraine and inflation continue to impact producers and pricing in the industry.