Irish whiskey industry on trade mission to Canada as country relaxes trade restrictions on imported spirits
Irish Whiskey Association members travel to Canada with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. as part of Irish Government trade mission
§ Value of Irish whiskey exports to Canada up 171% since 2011 and up 20 percent in 2017
§ Seventeen Irish whiskey companies to participate in Toronto trade mission or Irish spirits expo
§ Irish Whiskey Association: “We are delighted to represent the Irish whiskey industry on this trade mission to Canada and welcome the continued commitment of the Irish Government and Bord Bia to promoting Irish whiskey internationally.”
The Irish Whiskey Association will travel with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. to Canada this week as part of an Irish Government trade mission, in association with Bord Bia, to promote Irish food and drinks products in the country.
Exports of Irish whiskey to Canada have grown substantially over recent years, with export values reaching €16.7m in 2016, up 171% since 2011. Export values increased by a further 20.5% in the first 10 months of 2017, according to CSO figures.
The trade mission represents the first large-scale trade delegation to Canada since the recently negotiated Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect in September 2017.
The new CETA Agreement, which resulted in the removal of a number of major trade restrictions on spirits and the recognition of geographical indications (GI) in Canada, is expected to deliver a boost in performance for EU spirits and open the market up further to premium Irish whiskey brands.
Premium product potential
Market analysis conducted by BMI Research for Bord Bia showed that Canadian consumers are willing to pay more for premium product offerings, with an increase in drinks spending of 3.6% running ahead of a 1.2% increase in consumption. However only 6% of Irish whiskey currently on sale in Canada are premium brands. This mean there is a significant opportunity for Irish whiskey producers to grow the sale premium brands in Canada, building on phenomenal triple digit sales increases in premium Irish whiskey in other major markets in recent years.
Representatives from IWA member companies will either participate in the trade mission, or be represented at a showcase drinks event, organised in conjunction with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Member companies on the mission include Irish Distillers, Walsh Whiskey, Tullamore D.E.W., Teeling Whiskey Company, Cooley Distillery, Chapelgate Whiskey, Glendalough Distillery, Dublin Liberties Distillery, Barr an Uisce Whiskey and Blackwater Distillery. The expo will take place at the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill, 49 Yonge St.
In addition, the Irish Whiskey Association will be hosting a briefing and tasting event for Canadian media with the support of Spirits Canada, aimed at promoting the Irish whiskey category.
Commenting ahead of the trade mission, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, William Lavelle, said:
“Canada is one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide for Irish whiskey. The CETA agreement has helped open up Canada for even more Irish whiskey export growth and our industry is determined to grasp the opportunities on offer.
“We see continuing double-digit growth in Irish whiskey exports to Canada, including to the large Irish diaspora population. We particularly see the potential for premium, authentic Irish whiskey brands to prosper in the Canadian market.”
"Irish whiskey remains the fastest growing spirits category in the world. The Irish whiskey industry has a global ambition of more growth in more markets. Canada is a key target."
“We are delighted to represent the Irish whiskey industry on this trade mission. ABFI, which the IWA is a part of, welcomes the strengthened commitment of the Irish Government and Bord Bia to promoting Irish drinks categories, not just food, internationally and on trade missions.”
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About the Irish Whiskey Association
The Irish Whiskey Association was established in 2014 to represent the rapidly expanding Irish whiskey industry. An IBEC representative group, and a trade association within ABFI (Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland), the association provides a forum for all operators, new and old, to come together to share expertise and cooperate in building the Irish whiskey category brand, domestically and internationally. With 34 members, including many of Ireland’s leading distilleries and whiskey brands, the organisation is chaired by Mr. Colum Egan, Master Distiller, Bushmills.