Irish Whiskey: the emerging Market of the Emerald Isle

Irish whiskey is an upcoming trend product around the globe. As consumers venture away from well-known classics like Scotch to experiment with new tastes, a rise in interest and consumption of Irish whiskey can be seen especially over the past few years. The whiskey from the Emerald Isle broke the 100-million bottle barrier in 2016. By the end of 2017, the whiskey market rose by 20% to almost €600m. Food for thought Ireland reports that Irish whiskey sales grew in 17 leading markets in 2016, with Ireland, the US, France, South Africa and Britain leading global sales.

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Irish Whiskey: Basics and Varieties

Production rules for Irish whiskey include the spirit having been aged in barrels for a minimum of three years prior to bottling, the distillation must happen in Ireland, and Irish whiskey must be made from a mash of malt and/or cereals. Unlike its Scotch cousin, Irish whiskey is triple distilled and has a smoother, more neutral taste of the mash itself. This quality also makes Irish whiskey an excellent addition to cocktails, from Irish coffee to a Tully 10 cider. 

The number of distilleries in Ireland is rather small in comparison to global demand due to the recent recession. Furthermore, the fact that the whiskey must be aged for three years means there is often not sufficient Irish whiskey to accommodate the increasing thirst for the Irish spirit. Popular types include Irish blended whiskey, Irish single malt whiskey and Irish single grain whiskey. What characterizes these whiskey types?

Irish blended whiskey 

Irish blended whiskey is made by combining malt and grain whiskey. This Irish whiskey variation is one of Irelands’s top exports; many famous brands are blends. We can provide a blend of 20% malt and 80% grain. 

Irish single malt whiskey

Single malt Irish whiskey is distilled from mash that exclusively contains malted barley, at one single distillery.

Irish single grain whiskey

Irish single grain whiskey is made from mash containing only cereal grains, at one single distillery.

Irish whiskey has a unique heritage and character. As consumers become more well-versed in the world of whiskey, this Irish spirit is experiencing an increase in demand as people begin to venture out of their comfort zone. It is estimated that nearly 120 million bottles (10 million cases) were sold in 2017, worth over €600 million in exports from Ireland, up 20% from 2016.Export Performance and Prospects 2017-2018 report stated that the demand for Irish whiskey is set to continue, with the production forecast to double between 2015 and 2020, and double again in the following decade. With such green prospects, it is evident that Irish whiskey is not dependent on a short burst of Irish luck, but has developed a taste for success.

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