Irish spirits sales continue to grow, with 2022 showing record highs according to the Irish Spirits Market Report 2022 by trade body Drinks Ireland. The report states that Irish spirit sales within the country increased 6 percent and the value of spirit exports jumped up a staggering 17.3 percent to almost 1.5 billion euros — pushing both domestic sales and exports to the highest levels ever recorded. This data demonstrates the continued growth of the Irish spirits category, adding to the gains seen in the previous year.

The Drinks Ireland report credits the sales growth to both the global expansion of Irish spirits as well as the premiumization of the category. It also mentions that as this was the first report to be issued since the pandemic restrictions came to an end, sales benefited from a return to dining and meeting in-person, as well as a rise in distillery visits.

“2022 provided the much-needed opportunity for our award-winning and globally renowned visitor centers and brand homes to reopen after a challenging 2021,” stated Byrah Fallon, chair of Drinks Ireland’s Spirits division. Distillery visits were up to almost 680,000 this year, closing in on pre-pandemic levels.

Looking specifically at Irish whiskey, the sector’s sales continued to rise, exporting 15.2 million cases, signifying an 8.6 percent growth in volume. Key markets including the United States and the United Kingdom continued to drive sales, but Irish whiskey also broadened its reach with incredible growth in developing markets like Poland and South Africa. Sales in Poland grew by over 24 percent compared to 2021, making it the category’s fourth biggest market, overtaking Germany, and sales in South Africa grew over 31 percent in volume. As whiskey’s popularity as a whole and the premiumization trend rises around the world, it is not surprising that Irish whiskey has benefited in its growth.

Whiskey is not solely responsible for the rapid rise of Irish Spirits, though, as Irish Cream continues to be a success for the country. The report shows that the Irish Cream sales rose by 1 percent to 9.8 million cases in 2022, and credits the Irish brands that craft high quality versions of the product.

While the Irish whiskey and Cream categories drove the impressive growth for Irish spirits in 2022, the report shows that the sale of Irish gin actually slowed in 2022, down 1.7 percent compared to 2021. Gin had seen a whirlwind rise in popularity over the past decade, with Irish gin making its mark amongst renowned global gin producers. The report shows that this slowdown was more related to standard gin sales, as opposed to premium gin sales, which rose by 15 percent in 2022, confirming that premiumization is playing a role in Irish spirits’ success.

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