Friday, 6 April 2018
Irish spirits industry launches five-year ‘Strategy for Irish Gin’
Producers propose Irish Gin Standard for quality and authenticity
Irish gin producers want to treble sales by 2022, with the aim to sell 5 million bottles or 400,000 9-litre cases around the world, according to the Irish Spirits Association (ISA)*. The ISA will today launch a Strategy for Irish Gin 2018-2022, which aims to promote the worldwide growth of Irish gin over the next five years by developing world-leading standards for quality and authenticity.
2017 was a breakthrough year for Irish gin. Exports more than trebled and 130,000 cases of Irish gin were sold around the world. In response to this growth, the ISA created an Irish Gin Working Group to create this strategy for further growth.
The new strategy identifies the main target markets for Irish gin. While Ireland will remain the most important market, Irish Gin producers have identified the UK, Spain, Germany, the USA and Canada as the priority export markets.
The strategy also sets out four key goals and a number of actions to deliver on the vision and growth targets for Irish gin.
Firstly, the industry wants to develop world-leading standards for Irish gin. This involves creating an Irish Gin Standard for quality and authenticity that will be enforced on a national and international level. The ISA will also work with producers to develop and promote a recognised gold standard logo for Irish distilled gin.
Secondly, producers will promote Irish gin worldwide, starting with the five key target markets. This involves working with state organisations to promote Irish gin in trade missions, promotional campaigns, trade fairs and events in these markets. Recently the ISA took part in a successful Government led trade mission to Canada where it promoted Irish gin.
Thirdly, the industry aims to help sustain a vibrant home market for gin. As part of this it will work to avoid unnecessary over-regulation, with gin producers identifying the labelling proposals in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill as a key area of concern.
Finally, the industry will support the viability of Irish gin producers. This involves working with state agencies to support the growth of these companies as well as development into new areas such as, for example, the creation of visitor centres.
Pat Rigney, chair of the Irish gin working group in the Irish Spirits Association and founder of The Shed Distillery in Co. Leitrim said:
“The Irish gin industry is ambitious, and our ambitions are increasingly global. Irish gin is already regarded as a world-leader in terms of quality and authenticity. As sales begin to increase at home and abroad, we want to ensure that we can take advantage of this positive growth trajectory by developing world-leading, consumer focused standards, building on Ireland’s reputation for great food and drink.
“Export-growth is vital, and we have identified five priority international markets that we wish to target for growth with the support of Government and statutory partners. Export-growth will support job creation through Ireland and help deliver on the Government’s FoodWise 2025 targets.
“But we are very concerned about some of the unintended negative implications of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. We are calling for reasonable amendments to the Bill, to ensure that Irish Gin bottle do not have to carry an extremist health warning taking up one third of the label on what are normally the most attractively-designed spirits bottles. We also believe that the labelling requirements in the Bill could deter imports of gin, hamper innovation and growth among Irish gin producers and create a situation in which there is regulatory misalignment between the North and South.”
Brian Fagan, Founder and Director of Glendalough Distillery in Co. Wicklow said:
“Irish gin has enjoyed significant growth over recent years and it is important that the industry works together to ensure the sustainability and continued growth of the category. It is our hope that by implementing the highest possible standards, continuing to innovate and working together to promote the category on a global scale, Irish Gin will gain an international reputation equal to that of Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream Liqueur. Given that Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin is now selling well from Tokyo to Toronto – and 40 markets in between – we are extremely confident in the outlook for the Irish Gin category in the years to come.”
Peter Mulryan, Director of Blackwater Distillery in Co. Waterford said:
“We have seen that consumers in the home market and in export markets really respond well to the quality and authenticity we offer through our products. As we continue to grow as an industry, it’s vital that we maintain these key points of differentiation. The proposal for an Irish Gin Standard is key to this. The standard is all about transparency, it lets consumers know that they are buying a quality gin that is distilled in Ireland.”
The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle will launch the new strategy with The Irish Spirits Association at an event today (6th April) at 12pm in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. The industry is launching the new strategy ahead of the Gin Experience Dublin, which is taking place in Dublin Castle, April 6th & 7th. www.ginexperiencedublin.com
Notes to Editor
*This target came from an independent survey of ISA gin-producing members