There’s no doubt that Irish whiskey remains hot heading into 2017.
The category has now posted double-digit growth for a dozen consecutive years. Projections by our research partner, The Beverage Information Group, have Irish Whiskey growing 12.7% in sales in 2016 after it experienced a 12.5% increase in 2015.
“Irish whiskey is among the fastest growing global spirits category with fourfold growth recorded over the past decade,” says the report. “Irish whiskey exports are expected to double in volume terms by 2020 compared to 2015 with a further twofold increase anticipated by 2030.”
To hit that 2030 projection would require the country to import 24 million cases of Irish whiskey annually (compared with about 6 million 2016), according to the report. Hitting such a high level of growth would require “further product development and innovation to meet consumer demand for more authentic experiences.”
Irish whiskey is selling well across the globe, but is especially driven by “higher whiskey exports to the United States,” the report states. American consumers are fans of the spirit for its smoothness and sweetness compared with other whiskeys, and for its cultural heritage.
Elsewhere, Irish beer enjoyed a solid 2016 with 2% export growth, according to the report. The category forecast was for more growth, especially in craft: “Our craft brewing sector is in growth mode. It currently has 90 operational microbreweries and this number is set to exceed 100 by 2020. This has also resulted in a growth in exports with craft beer exports increasing twofold between 2011 and 2016.”