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Minister Coveney emphasises economic importance of Drinks Industry and of the US Market during his trade visit to the US

- Drinks Industry planning to invest €500million over 10 years -

Speaking during his visit to the US to promote agri-food exports to the US, investment in the food industry in Ireland and strong trading relationships, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine emphasised the importance of the drinks sector to exports and to economic activity in Ireland.“The Irish beverage sector is now a billion euro industry with a global reputation for quality and sales in over 100 countries worldwide.  Irish Whiskey exports alone in 2011 were valued at €222 million representing a 25% increase on the previous year. It is among the fastest growing spirit categories in the world. The largest export market is the USA where 1.4 million cases of Irish Whiskey were sold in 2010 - up from 728,000 cases in 2006”.  

Driving this success story is the history behind the products, the quality of the ingredients, strong branding, investment by multinationals and an innovative approach by companies large and small.   The USA and global alcohol markets, particularly for whiskey, are expected to continue to experience growth. Minister Coveney added “I am delighted that the industry is projecting investments totalling €500 million to meet growing consumer demand. The economic impact of the drinks sector on the Irish economy is significant. Exports support jobs at home directly in the industry and its associated sectors. They also support the livelihood of farm families who supply quality raw materials. The contribution of the beverage sector including Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream liqueur, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks is an integral component of our agri-food success story.”  

The Minister stressed the importance of the quality factor of uniquely Irish beverages.   “A continuing focus on and expansion of premium brands, whiskeys, speciality beers and other quality products from Ireland should ensure that the Irish drinks industry continues to enjoy a successful, sustainable future. Ireland offers a warm welcome and solid business opportunities and a commitment to the development of the food and beverages industry in line with the industry-led Food Harvest 2020 strategy”.

Note for editors

Minister Coveney’s visit includes meetings with leading multinational food and drinks companies, Secretary Vilsack and members of Congress and the administration, key US influencers on agriculture and trade policy, representatives of Irish companies operating in the sector in the US and members of the wider Irish diaspora who are active in the food and drinks industry across the US and have contributed to the Global Irish Economic Forum.  

Minister Coveney will support Irish companies wishing to expand their business with the US and welcome investment by American companies who are investing in Ireland or sourcing more product from Ireland.  Alcohol exports are essentially Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur. Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirits category in the US, growing +19.5% in 2010 versus total spirits sales value of +3.2%, according to Nielsen.  This is a little under 1.5% of total US liquor volume.  

added 28.6.12 - no caption

Caption: Minister Simon Coveney meeting Matt Shattock of Beam, Deerfield, Illinois today as part of trade mission to the US.

Date Released: 28 June 2012