The distillers at this year’s Heritage Malting Barley Seminar in Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, have some celebrating to do: Irish whiskey is hot right now.
William Lavelle, the head of the Irish Whiskey Association, recently announced that the IWA would hit its goal of doubling Irish whiskey sales by 2020 that it made four years ago. And not just make the goal, but likely surpass it, according to Spirits Business.
Four years ago, Ireland had four whiskey distilleries. Now that number has reached 18, and it’s expected for the number to pass 30 by 2020 thanks in part to the demand for the Emerald Isle’s whiskey, which has become the world’s fastest-growing spirit category. In 2014, the Irish whiskey industry sold 6 million cases, and three years later in 2017, it sold 10 million. Jameson was the top Irish brand, moving 6.5 million cases worldwide in 2016 alone. Lavelle stressed how important barley and malt are to the country’s distillers and called for closer relationships between the different industries that help create whiskey. “The growth of the Irish whiskey industry is good news not only for the distillers, but for business owners in supporting industries, including tillage farmers and maltsters,” he said.
Want to learn more about the world of Irish whiskey? Take a look at our primer right here.