Irish Whiskey Association sees serious challenges ahead
DESPITE a record year of sales, Irish whiskey is facing serious international trade and supply-chain challenges, according to William Lavelle, director of the Irish Whiskey Association.
Lavelle, a Lucan resident and former Fine Gael councillor in South Dublin County Council, is calling for a number of actions to expand free trade agreements, including reducing tariffs on Irish whiskey in Australia, India, Kenya and Thailand.
Mr Lavelle was speaking following the publishing of the Irish Whiskey International Trade report, which was launched with events at the European Parliament in Brussels and the House of Commons in London.
A record 14 million cases of Irish whiskey were sold worldwide last year, an increase of 21 per cent from 2020, but the conflict in Ukraine is likely to negatively impact sales this year, according to the IWA.
Russia and Ukraine cumulatively accounted for 7 per cent of all Irish whiskey sales in 2021, and the IWA’s 48 members highlighted India, Nigeria and China as emerging markets for future export growth.
Lavelle welcomed 2021 as a year of “rebound” for Irish whiskey but warns of “many serious international trade and supply chain challenges.”
“It is notable that the reported supply chain difficulties are being experienced equally by both large and small producers, and it is likely that the serious impacts will be felt hardest by SME producers,” he said.
Lavelle said it was vital that international trade policy keeps up with threats to businesses by proactively assessing and planning for the future.
Expanding free trade is even more important given the highly globalised exposure of our shared economy across the island of Ireland,” said Lavelle.
“The growth in exports of Irish Whiskey, including market access and diversification, has been greatly supported by free trade, and further growth is possible.
“We are calling for a number of actions to expand free trade agreements. These include reducing tariffs on Irish whiskey in Australia, India, Kenya and Thailand, amongst others.”