Irish whiskey industry growing at rapid pace with 23rd distillery beginning operations

Monday, 4 March 2019


Irish Whiskey Association welcomes Clonakilty Distillery today as the 23rd operational Irish whiskey distillery
  • The distillery boasts a unique visitor experience, gin school and bistro restaurant
  • Visitor experience expected to attract 35,000 visitors annually
  • Global sales of Irish whiskey exceeded 10.5 million cases in 2018, breaking the 10 million case barrier for the first time since before Prohibition
  • IWA head: “The distillery is a great addition to distilling and whiskey tourism on the Wild Atlantic Way.”

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has today (4 March) congratulated Cork-based Clonakilty Distillery on becoming the 23rd operational Irish whiskey distillery on the island of Ireland.

The new distillery has today officially commenced Irish whiskey distillation. It has also opened the doors to a distillery visitor experience, expected to attract up to 35,000 visitors annually. The distillery also boasts a gin school and ‘The Whale’s Tail’ bistro.

Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, William Lavelle, congratulated the Clonakilty Distillery team led by CEO Michael Scully. Lavelle said:

“We are delighted to see Clonakilty Distillery open its doors and commence production of Irish whiskey.

“It’s a welcome addition to Irish whiskey distilling, as the 23rd operational distillery on the island of Ireland, and the second distillery to commence operations this year.

“With its visitor experiences, Clonakilty Distillery also contributes greatly to the Irish whiskey tourism offering along the Wild Atlantic Way.

“Last year we saw 923,000 tourists visit Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres across the country. We expect this number to grow again in 2019. Clonakilty Distillery will play a strong role in driving this growth, educating Irish and overseas visitors on the heritage and innovation of today’s booming Irish whiskey industry.”

2018 was another year of exceptional sales growth for Irish whiskey, with global sales exceeding 10.5 million cases. 2018 marked the first year that Irish whiskey sales have broken the 10 million case barrier since before Prohibition in the US in the 1920s.

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) is the representative trade association of the Irish whiskey industry. The IWA forms part of ABFI (Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland), which is part of Ibec.