This week our Irish Whiskey News features articles on Irish whiskey being in danger of US tariffs and Irish Distillers to lead premium whiskey growth in 2020.

So let’s see what’s happening this week in our Irish whiskey news.

Irish Whiskey News - Dec 5 - 2019 - Irish Whiskey Tariffs

Fears that Irish whiskey could be hit by new US tariffs

There are fresh fears that Irish whiskey could be hit by new US tariffs. In October, it was announced that a range of goods from the EU were to be subjected to US duties including Irish butter, cheese, liqueurs and pork products. Irish whiskey made in Northern Ireland was on the list of goods but whiskey made in the Republic of Ireland was spared.

Now however, there are growing concerns that Irish whiskey could be affected. The tariffs were announced in retaliation for EU aircraft subsidies but last night the World Trade Organization said Europe had not complied with obligations to remove subsidies to Airbus. In response, the office of the US Trade Representative said it is considering increasing the tariff rates and subjecting additional EU products to the tariffs.

In a letter to members, the Irish Whiskey Association said it was a worrying development and that the threat of tariffs has now escalated. The head of the Irish Whiskey Association, William Lavelle, wrote: “We will continue to monitor the situation and to lobby accordingly.” The EU is pushing for tariffs of around $10 billion on US goods in a parallel process to be decided by the WTO early next year.

Irish Whiskey News - Dec 5 - 2019 - Irish Whiskey futures

Irish Distillers vows to lead premium Irish whiskey growth in 2020

Speaking to The Spirits Business this week Conor McQuaid said Irish Distillers has seen growth across its prestige ranges this year, including Redbreast and the Spot range, and expects a greater demand for premium and super-premium products next year – particularly from the millennial generation.

“What we can say at this stage, though, is that we very much expect to see premiumisation continue to drive the category in 2020, building on the growth we have seen across our prestige ranges this year (+25%), led by Redbreast (+25%) and the Spot range (+40%). “This reflects the increase in consumer appetite, particularly among millennials, for premium and super-premium Irish whiskeys.”

One of the biggest challenges facing Irish Distillers is ensuring production capacity can match the growth of the firm’s whiskey brands. The company has invested more than €400 million (US$440m) in its Midleton Distillery, Dungourney maturation site and bottling plant in Dublin since 2012 in an effort to keep pace with growing demand. “This approach continues; we are laying down stock that will be used decades from now, as we anticipate even greater growth in the Irish whiskey market in the future,”


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