Irish Whiskey Association Shares New Industry Vision

Counting prominent brands like Jameson and Bushmills in its cabinet, the Irish Whiskey Association hopes to expand its industry's market share by 300 percent worldwide in the next 15 years. It's bold, but then again, so are the single malts.

The two groups may not spell “whiskey” the same way, but the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) nonetheless sees potential for itself in the Scotch Whisky Association’s success.

And the proof may be in the Jameson.

While the industry has made a comeback from its days as an also-ran in the liquor world, the relatively new IWA has hopes for even more success—particularly, a 300 percent jump in global market share by 2030. It’s just one of the elements of the Vision for Irish Whiskey announced this week at the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin. The goal is momentum—something that the industry finally has but wants to maintain.

“We’ve come from a place where, maybe in the ’80s, Irish whiskey represented only 1 percent of global market share of exported whiskeys—near extinction—to the last 20 years growing consecutively year after year,” IWA Chairman Bernard Walsh told TheJournal.ie.

The IWA strategy document breaks down some bold goals and outlines steps to reach them, including:

  1. Build adequate infrastructure both for new companies and for the old guard.
  2. Push for high standards of production quality as well as prominent indicators of where the whiskey comes from.
  3. Create additional capacity to keep pace with growing demand.
  4. Boost whiskey-based tourism throughout Ireland.
  5. Encourage Irish pride in the whiskey market that will translate around the world.

Although Irish whiskey holds its own, exporting more than 6.5 million cases per year, it’s a niche part of the market compared with Scotch whisky, which ships 90 million cases, and American bourbon, according to The Irish Times. But while Irish whiskey may not be at the top of the sales charts, it leads the way in another sense: through critical acclaim. Irish whiskey brands rank well with critics, and three Irish distilleries have won World Distillery of the Year awards in the past 14 years.

“There are over 130 Scottish distilleries that bring investment and employment into rural areas . . . There is no reason that Ireland cannot achieve similar success,” Walsh told the Irish Times.

(iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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