The research into beverage exports from 2001-2011 found that every €100 of beverages exported is worth the same as €625 worth of pharmaceutical exports to the national economy.
As the drinks industry relies on domestically produced raw materials including malted barley, cereals, milk, apples and services, DIGI calculated it contributes to the Irish economy more per euro exported than similar sized industries.
In this regard, DIGI estimated that €100 of beverage exports has the same impact on the domestic economy as €625 of chemicals/ pharmaceutical exports, €294 of computer, electronic and optical exports or €185 of medical devices exports.
Ireland remains one of the largest beverage exporters in the World. The report’s author, Anthony Foley, said Ireland is punching above its weight in the drinks industry.
“Ireland continues to over-perform in terms of beverage exports. In terms of international position, Ireland is ranked 11th in order of size of alcohol exports compared to 33rd for overall merchandise exports.
“The Irish share of world alcohol exports is 2.4% compared with 0.8% for overall merchandise exports,” he said.
Britain and North America continue to be the main overseas markets for the Irish beverage industry. There has been a sharp decline in the importance of the EU, excluding Britain, as a destination for Irish drinks exports.
The EU share of the market has declined from 28.8% to 19.0% between 2001 and 2010.
DIGI said that there is major potential for Irish drinks manufacturers to sell to China, India and other major emerging market economies.
The chairman of DIGI, Kieran Tobin, said the drinks industry is one of the biggest contributors to Irish industry with links to tourism and manufacturing.
“It is important to remember that the success of Irish drinks exports is founded on a solid domestic market that provides over 60,000 jobs in the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol.
“The drinks industry is also a major contributor to tourism — a further strong earner of overseas revenue — through its pubs, its brands and visitor centres.
“We should therefore seek to support this important sector of the national economy to the greatest extent possible to assist our much-needed export-led economic recovery,” he said.