The rapidly expanding drinks industry in Ireland is being hailed as the export powerhouse delivering growth for the country’s food and beverage sector.
Exports increased 10% in 2015 to stand at €1.26 billion, according to Bord Bia’s annual review and outlook, which attibuted the growth to a continued rise in demand for premium alcoholic products.
“This mirrors the increase in disposable income of consumers in many developing regions the demand for luxury products, and the association of the premium label products with quality and taste,” it said.
The sector’s robust performance was driven by ongoing growth in whiskey, combined with a further rise in ‘craft’ exports. The outlook for 2016 is also broadly positive.
Ross MacMathuna, Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, said the industry is wholly committed to making a make a valuable contribution to Ireland’s exciting agri-food sector.
“Irish whiskey exports have recorded a four-fold increase over the last decade to make it the fastest growing global spirits category and it is set to invest a further €1.1bn in Ireland by 2025.
“There are 26 new or proposed distilleries across the country, with annual exports of over €300 million, up 220% since 2003,” he said Mr MacMathuna said exports are set to double by 2020 and double again by 2030.
The sector currently exports to 77 markets and aspires to grow global market share by 300% by 2030, from 4% to 12%.
Employment is also set to grow by 30% by 2025, from 5,000 to 6,500.
Direct employment now stands at almost 2,000, up from 1,500 in 2012, and the brewing sector continues to support over 3,000 farming families.
There are currently over 50 operational microbreweries in Ireland with this figure set to exceed 100 by 2020.
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