An end of year report shows 2017 was a successful one for the drinks industry here.
Manufacturers are concerned that the new year could bring new threats from Brexit, excise and the Public Health Alcohol Bill – but the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland says the industry has evolved into an export powerhouse, exporting to 130 markets worldwide, with total exports worth over one billion Euro.
Director of the Federation Patricia Callan says whiskey is the biggest growth category spirit in the world. At home beer is still the most popular drink with 46% of total market share. Patricia says there’s great innovation with gin and the cream liqueur sector which was in decline for past 10 years has halted and is resurgent.
In Waterford, one drinks company experiencing great success is West Waterford’s Blackwater Distillery.
The small independent producer was one of just 5 companies worldwide short-listed for the International Gin Producer of the year Award at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in November.
Blackwater is the first Irish distillery to rate so highly in the competition.
Their Blackwater No.5 Gin was also awarded a Gold Medal – the only Irish gin to win a gold award.
Director Peter Mulryan says it’s an endorsement of how good their product is:
“These are big international competitions… you’re up against the big boys, Diageo, Pernot Ricard and all the big multi-nationals…for a small Waterford company to break through is really good news.”
The company has also broken ground on a new micro distillery and visitors centre in Ballyduff, near Lismore, and is set for further growth in 2018.