Bord Bia report highlights importance of drinks sector to exports

January 10, 2024

Drinks Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, today welcomed the publication of the Bord Bia’s Future Focussed (Export Performance and Prospects) report. It shows that Irish drinks exports, valued at €1.8 billion in 2023, continue to represent a very significant component of the Irish food and drinks sector and are a major contributor to local economic activity and job creation throughout the country. Alcohol drinks manufacturers are operating in every county on the island and our brands across spirits, beer and cider are enjoyed by consumers the world over, with Irish drinks exports reaching 119 markets in 2023.

Last year’s export value was down by 8% on the record 2022 performance due to challenging economic headwinds globally, in particular inflation, cost of living pressures and more restrained consumer spending. Nevertheless, export value remained 12% ahead of 2021 levels and we expect improved market conditions as we progress through 2024. Irish drinks manufacturers have a strong ambition for further growth with significant investments ongoing in capacity, innovation, and market development.

This ambition for growth and delivery by the sector needs to be matched by a policy framework that allows the sector to realise its potential. Drinks Ireland, in its recent policy priorities publication, Pride of Place, highlights some of the key areas for attention including:

  • Increased investment through state agencies such as Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and other bodies to support the export growth ambition of the sector.
  • Government and EU support for the protection of our Geographic Indications (GIs) for Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream and Poitín through securing GI recognition, certification trademark registration and engaging with the US authorities to strengthen product protection.
  • Securing ambitious trade agreements that encourage trade relations through reduced tariffs and avoidance of tariff retaliation, and that also protect our All-Island cross-border supply chains through appropriate rules of origin.
  • The adoption of evidence-based policy and regulation around our sector and a proper policy of engagement with the industry, across all Departments whose policies influence our business.

Drinks Ireland Director Cormac Healy said;

Exports are a huge part of our business and will continue to deliver towards the overall economy and very much so to regional economic activity. Alcohol consumption in Ireland has fallen by 30% in the last twenty years and the importance of exports for our sector cannot be overstated. We believe that adopting practical and balanced policies for both the home and export markets will safeguard this critical Irish industry into the future.