Irish whiskey has been crowned the fastest growing premium spirit category in the world with exports set to double by 2020, says the Irish Whiskey Association.
Northern Ireland Whiskey distillers are contributing to this growth, as exports of the premium spirit from ports including Belfast, Londonderry, Warrenpoint and Coleraine to non-EU countries were worth £25.6 million in 2018 alone.
South Africa is the fastest growing non-EU market for Irish Whiskey, with exports valued at £17.6 million in 2018 – an increase of 27.8% from the previous year.
Other markets driving this global demand include: Australia, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, Taiwan and the United States.
Less than ten years ago, Northern Ireland was home to just one distillery but now boasts a range of distillers producing award-winning whiskey.
“Northern Ireland has always had a great reputation for world class distilleries. A recent surge in global demand, along with increased investment and innovation within the sector, has seen it flourish and grow on a global scale,” said Michael Bell, Executive Director of Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association.
“This presents exciting opportunities for our local producers. Bushmills’ expansion plans are a very positive development for the local economy and will enable the company to take advantage of the rocketing demand for Irish Whiskey worldwide.
“Northern Ireland’s food and drink companies export around 80% of their products, so cementing good trading relationships with our key export markets in the future really is crucial for the sector.”