New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the value and volume of exports from the Irish drinks industry increased in 2018.
The CSO figures show that overall alcohol drinks exports increased by 8% last year, from €1.25bn in 2017 to €1.35bn in 2018, with Irish gin exports soaring by 211%.
Also, the value of Irish whiskey exports increased by 13% from €578.78m in 2017 to €654m last year.
The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) said that the Irish drinks industry continues to look for growth opportunities in established and new markets.
According to the Irish Whiskey Association, the US remains the largest market for Irish whiskey accounting for 43% of all sales, with Canada, Australia and Central/Eastern Europe set to be the key growth region for Irish whiskey in 2019 and coming years.
Irish gin recorded growth in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Italy and Germany last year. In January of this year three Irish gin producers were listed for sale by LCBO, which retails and distributes alcoholic beverages in Ontario in Canada. This will mean that the Irish gin category will make a bigger splash in the Canadian market this year.
Irish cream liqueur grew overall in terms of exports in 2018, including to the United Kingdom, Africa and Australia.
Meanwhile, beer exports grew to the European continent last year.
Patricia Callan, Director of ABFI said: “Ireland’s drinks industry is backed by centuries of respected tradition. This rich heritage has also benefited Ireland’s tourism offer, as the array of drinks-related tourist attractions in existence or being developed are growing quickly.
"In 2017, more than 2.5 million people visited brewery and distillery tourist attractions across Ireland. That is an increase of 6% compared to 2016 and this figure is expected to rise again in 2018. With breweries and distilleries opening around the country, this growth is also benefiting the regional spread of tourism.”