Irish whiskey revival hits Donegal

Business | Fri 29 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
Sliabh Liag
Sliabh Liag, Co. Donegal

Donegal’s first distillery in 174 years is set to open near the sea cliffs of Sliabh Liag in the Gaeltacht area of the county.

“The revival of the Irish whiskey industry is being felt across the island of Ireland and I’m delighted to hear of plans by James Doherty and Margaret Cunningham to open Donegal’s first distillery for 174 years, Siabh Liag Distillery,” said Miriam Mooney, head of the Irish Whiskey Association.

The company has launched its first brand, The Silkie, a blended Irish whiskey. This announcement is another sign that the Irish whiskey industry is moving confidently towards double-digit export growth by 2020.

With the Irish whiskey industry exporting to 77 countries, Irish brands will continue to experience strong growth.

Bord Bia recently said that the best performing category in terms of exports growth was the beverage sector, largely driven by sustained growth in exports of Irish whiskey, which recorded export growth of 18%.

Irish whiskey industry facts and growth projections

  • Employment to grow by 30% by 2025, from 5,000 to 6,500
  • Whiskey tourism to increase from 600,00 per annum to 800,000 in the medium term
  • Annual exports are now worth over €300m, up 220% since 2003
  • Exports are set to double by 2020, double again by 2030
  • Exports to 77 markets
  • Global market share to grow by 300% by 2030 from 4% to 12%
  • 2010-2025: investment of over €1.1bn, production to rise by 41%
  • Domestic spend of €350m annually, supporting farming families

Photo: Colin White