Visitors to Irish Whiskey Distilleries Up 11% in 2017
The number of visitors to Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres reached 814,000 in 2017, according to new figures published by the Irish Whiskey Association. This marked an increase of over 11 per cent from 2016, when 733,000 visitors were recorded. More significantly, it marks an increase of 25 per cent from 2015, when 653,000 visitors were recorded. In 2015, the Irish Whiskey Association published the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy to support this growth.
In 2017 Irish Whiskey Association members operated 12 distillery visitor centres on the island of Ireland. This included two new distillery visitor centres which opened during the year at Slane Distillery in Co. Meath and Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. A new distillery visitor centre will open on the 21st of January at Rademon Estate Distillery in Co. Down. 2018 is also likely to see the opening of further visitor centres at new whiskey distilleries in locations ranging from Clonakilty, to Drogheda, to Dublin 8. In total, Irish Whiskey Association members plan to open at least 10 more visitor centres in the coming years.
Currently, a majority of visitors to whiskey distilleries in Ireland come from the US, UK, Germany, France and Northern Europe.
Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres offer a diversity of experiences, where visitors learn not just about the ‘grain-to-glass’ production of Irish whiskey but also about the people and places that define the rich heritage of Irish whiskey.
William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, stated: “Continued double-digit growth proves that Irish whiskey tourism is a hot trend right now and an increasingly important part of Ireland’s tourism offer. Whiskey tourism is delivering tourists, jobs and investment to local economies right across Ireland, from Dublin’s Liberties to rural communities.”
In 2018, the Irish Whiskey Association plans to develop and launch a major initiative to promote and further grow Irish whiskey tourism. This initiative was proposed in the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy, which set a target of 1.9 visitors by 2025.
Lavelle explained: “Irish whiskey remains the fastest growing spirits category in the world. But whiskey consumers, both domestically and globally, are interested in knowing more about the origin and authenticity of the spirit. Increasingly, the promotion of a whiskey brand goes hand-in-hand with the promotion of the home distillery. For this reason, the promotion and advertising of Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres is often inseparable from the promotion and advertising of the Irish whiskey brands produced there.”