herald

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Make it a treble - sales of Irish gins soaring

Popular brand Gunpowder
Popular brand Gunpowder

Distillers are hoping to make Irish gin a household name here and around the globe.

The tipple has seen a resurgence in popularity recently thanks to the retro cocktail culture trend, despite an overall 25pc decline in consumption of spirits since 2008.

Irish exports of the juniper-based spirit trebled last year to 130,000 cases, prompting the Alcohol Beverage Foundation of Ireland to establish an Irish Gin Working Group as part of the Irish Spirits Association.

However, instead of sitting around a boardroom toasting each other with G&Ts, the group has been working hard to put Irish gin on the world map the same way that Irish whiskey is recognised globally as a quality product, according to working group chair Pat Rigney.

"It's a serious business," he said, adding that the 20-member working group did not touch a drop as it prepared its new five-year strategy.

Exotic

The group is hoping to treble its current sales of gin by 2022, with a target of selling five million bottles around the world.

While the berries that form the basis of gin are imported from warmer climes, it is the "quality of distillation and botanicals from exotic locations" that is generating a buzz about Irish gin, said Mr Rigney.

"Every gin has its own backstory," he said of more than a dozen Irish gin distillers, including his own Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, which he distils in medieval copper pots at his rustic distillery, The Shed, in the Co Leitrim town.

"We're almost creating a new market with our gin," he said.

Irish gin is already sold in 25 countries around the world.

It received rave reviews at a recent trade show in Germany as well as in Canada, where it was showcased in government-licensed liquor stores throughout the province of Ontario as part of a promotion with Bord Bia.

The group is setting its sights on making Irish gin a tipple of choice for domestic drinkers as well as opening up markets for distribution in North America, the UK, Spain and Germany and is looking at opening secondary markets elsewhere.

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