Irish whiskey sales still strong despite pandemic

Irish whiskey sales still strong despite pandemic

Irish whiskey sales have fallen just slightly during the pandemic, with one trade body chief describing the news as “a fantastic achievement”.

The Irish Times reported volumes decreased by 0.4% year-on-year in 2020 to 11.4 million cases from 11.9 million in 2019.

Irish Whiskey Association chief William Lavelle said the result is particularly impressive considering that travel retail decreased by 96.2% from 679,600 cases in 2019 to 25,600 cases last year.

He added: “11.4 million case sales in 2020 is a fantastic achievement for the Irish whiskey category and exceeds expectations in terms of what we initially thought was feasible during the pandemic.

‘Full recovery’

“Last year we would have thought it might take three to four years to bounce back to our pre-COVID sales high. But, now, we can realistically target full recovery in the current year.”

According to the paper, data from drinks industry analytics group IWSR indicates whiskey sales in the US, the sector’s biggest market, decreased 0.5% year-on-year in 2020 to 4.93 million cases.

Jameson remained the market leader with 7.6 million nine-litre cases sold,  down from eight million in 2019, and Tullamore Dew was the second most popular brand with 1.2 million cases sold, down from 1.44 million in 2019.

Sales of Bushmills reportedly decreased to 744,900 from 822,300 last year, while sales of Conor McGregor’s Proper No Twelve reportedly doubled to 292,500.

Domestically  Jameson had a 1.6% increase in volumes to 254,000, while Bushmills was the second most popular brand last year on home turf, with 76,000 cases sold.

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