Northern Irish Distilleries Spark Renaissance Of Irish Whiskey

Northern Irish distilleries have helped fuel a renaissance of Irish Whiskey, with exports worth £25.6 million in 2018.

Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing premium spirit category in the world, with exports set to double to 12 million 9-litre cases by 2020 according to the Irish Whiskey Association.

South Africa is the fastest growing non-EU market for Irish Whiskey, with exports valued at £17.6 million in 2018 – an increase of 27.8% from the previous year. Other markets driving this global demand include Australia, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, Taiwan and the United States.

The Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim is said to be one of the most well regarded. The distillery, said to be the world's oldest licensed distillery, recently announced a £50m expansion to double production over the next 5 years.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said: "I met with Old Bushmills Distillery at the Balmoral Show last month and was impressed by the company's exporting ambitions. I am pleased to see more distilleries contributing to economic prosperity for Northern Ireland and helping the UK maintain its global reputation for high-quality food and drink.
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"The UK now has an international economic department – the Department for International Trade – helping British business succeed overseas in ways that never happened before, so I urge more businesses in Northern Ireland to take advantage of the global demand for their products and services."

Michael Bell, Executive Director of Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, also said: "Northern Ireland has always had a great reputation for world class distilleries. A recent surge in global demand, along with increased investment and innovation within the sector, has seen it flourish and grow on a global scale. This presents exciting opportunities for our local producers. Bushmills' expansion plans are a very positive development for the local economy and will enable the company to take advantage of the rocketing demand for Irish Whiskey worldwide.

"Northern Ireland's food and drink companies export around 80% of their products, so cementing good trading relationships with our key export markets in the future really is crucial for the sector. We continue to engage with government on behalf of our members to ensure that this vital industry is given the best chance to grow and prosper in future."

Distilleries in Northern Ireland are not only creating jobs and delivering economic growth through exports, but also the rise of Whiskey tourism. Old Bushmills, Echlinville, Rademon Estate and Boatyard Distilleries currently attract more than 120,000 visitors every year and are on course to hit the 200,000 mark in the near future.

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