Irish Whiskey has enjoyed a sustained growth period for the last ten years, with compound annual growth rate of almost 10% for the period. Sales in 2017 achieved more than 9.2m 9L cases. The domestic market for Irish Whiskey is among the more challenging of markets, and still achieved CAGR of more than 2.25% over the 10 year stretch. Sales in Ireland for 2017 reached 557k 9ltr cases. The most important market for Irish Whiskey is the USA, where growth has achieved sustained double digit figures over the 10 years and achieved sales of almost 4.57m cases in 2017, reflecting a ten-year CAGR of 16.5%. In declining order of potential, the next market for Irish Whiskey is Russia, Irish whiskey exports to this market grew to 441k cases, more than 10% between 2016 and 2017, and CAGR grew by 14.4% over the last 10 years. The UK remains an important market for Irish whiskey at almost 395k 9L cases, although CAGR for the 10yr period has held steady at just over 0.5%. Similarly, while France is the next highest volume market for Irish whiskey, growth has been static at 382k cases for 3 years. Germany falls to fifth place in terms of volume at 360k, however, that represents annual growth of 7% and CAGR of almost 9.5% Growth is fueled by a decline in Scottish whiskey sales coupled with an increase in whiskey bars worldwide, an increase in cocktail consumption and a significant increase in consumer demand from emerging markets
It is estimated that there are some 100 microbreweries operating in the Republic of Ireland, of which 72 are production microbreweries and at least 30 are brand owners that source all of their product from production microbreweries. There has been a 16% increase in the number of production microbreweries from 62 in mid-2016 to 72 in mid-2017. There is evidence that only two new microbreweries have been established in the first half of 2017.
The output of craft beer by production microbreweries amounted to some 176,000 hectolitres (hl) in 2016. This represents a 31% increase on the 2015 figure of 134,000hl. In absolute terms, output rose by 42,000hl.
Despite this growth, the independent Irish Craft Beer category is experiencing challenging times. The consumer market for craft beer in Ireland is finite and demand for craft here has not gone unnoticed by the multinationals and by imported brands. While sales in 2016 achieved €59m, an increase of almost 48% on 2015, this level and trajectory of growth is unsustainable in a market this size for smaller, independent producers, particularly when account is taken of the high level of imports sharing the market, estimated to be in the region of 90% of shelf space. Export markets are growing in importance to the category as a result.
The Craft brewers association launched their Independent Craft Brewers of Ireland or ICBI mark in 2016. The purpose of this move was to provide a mechanism for the consumer to recognise when a craft beer is brewed by an independent, local, small producer. The continuously increasing demand for craft beer is driven by a strong desire among the craft beer consumer, for ‘local’, the phenomena of craft going mainstream and continuous innovation in the category
Strong markets for independent Irish Craft Beer are Italy, France, and the UK.
Cream LiqueursThe global market for Irish cream liqueurs has enjoyed positive compound annual growth of 1.55% since 2009, despite being negatively impacted by a three year drop in sales at the height of the recent recession. The category has recovered strongly since then, and achieved sales of more than 7.5m 9L cases in 2017. Generally the category does not seem to suffer from decreased spending in the on-trade, as home consumption of shot liqueurs and cocktails before an on-trade visit, as well as early bird menus, have changed the culture of an on-trade visit and reduced on-premise consumption.
Important export markets, in order of volume sold, are the United States with 3.309m cases, UK (1.5m cases), and Brazil (1.3m cases). It is important to note that CAGR in Brazil since 2009 is a remarkable 28.5%.
The Irish Gin category is enjoying a very significant growth spurt, with just two manufacturers in production in 2012, there are currently 21 gin distilleries and a further 6 brand owners accessing contract production from the group.
The growth in output is a direct result of the growth in demand for the product worldwide. Gin is trending in almost all markets globally, at the expense of vodka and in some cases, brown spirits, as cocktail bars appear in increasing numbers. Ireland’s gin output’s most attractive markets are UK, Spain and, from a smaller base-Germany with growth of 8.25%, 6.25% and 10.75% respectively. The African nations of Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana also hold significant promise, while from a much smaller base, showing very positive CAGR of 52%, 38% and 41% respectively.