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Irish, Scotch whiskeys go head-to-head

Monday, February 03 10:25:56

After the weekend's clash of the rugby Titans, industry representatives from the Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky sectors will go head-to-head off the field in a meeting today with the Irish tipped to grow sales by 100pc by 2020.

The two industries will discuss their products, emerging market opportunities and where the two industries can support each other going forward.

Irish whiskey is poised to make enormous market share gains over the next number of years with an estimated growth of 100pc by 2020, a joint industry meeting between the Irish Spirits Association and Scotch Whisky Association has heard.

The joint industry meeting between the Irish Spirits Association and Scotch Whisky Association is something of annual tradition that coincides with the Irish and Scottish 6 nations rugby match. This year it will be attended by representatives from all of Ireland's Whiskey distillers as well as many of the new distillers who have plans to open operations.

The meeting has thrown up some interesting stats on the state of Irish whiskey today relative to its bigger Scotch cousin.

For instance, Irish whiskey employs 14,500 people compared to Scotland's 35,000; there are currently just four Irish distilleries compared to Scotland's 108 with 45,000 tonnes of barley consumer compared to 620,000 respectively.

Irish whiskey sells 6.2 million cases annually compared to Scotch, which sells 93 million.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Peter Morehead, Director of Production at Irish Distillers and Chairman of the Irish Spirits Association said that there is a plethora of lessons that the Irish whiskey industry can learn from the Scottish experience: "Irish spirits companies contribute over E1bn to the Exchequer every year, supporting the employment of 14,700 people across production and sales. However, when we compare the whiskey industry to that of Scotch whisky, it becomes clear that there is a space for huge potential growth in the sector."

"What's especially exciting is the fact that the Irish whiskey industry has been flourishing as of late, experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. This has led to extremely positive growth prospects. Currently we have 4 distilleries and this is set to grow to over 15 if all current projects move forward. As well as this Ireland currently exports over 6.2 million 9-litre cases of Irish Whiskey to over 100 markets and this figure will potentially double to over 12-million 9-litre cases by 2020."