Opportunity for Whiskey as Ireland’s On Premise builds back from COVID-19

Growing interest in local brands and the flourishing cocktail market should help operators and suppliers to grow sales of Irish whiskey this year, new CGA data shows.

Research from CGA’s On Premise Measurement Service shows that whiskey now accounts for more than one in five (22%) serves of spirits in Ireland. A similar proportion of consumers (21%) drink it out of home—putting it well clear of other popular spirits including rum (15%) and flavoured gin (16%). Among whiskey drinkers, three in four (75%) choose Irish brands.


CGA’s global consumer surveys have identified shifts in preferences towards local drinks during the COVID-19 crisis. It means Irish whiskey now accounts for 83% of all whiskey sales in Ireland—three percentage points higher than a year ago.


CGA’s extensive sales analysis and consumer surveys provide a wealth of insights into the Irish whiskey market, including:


Two thirds (67%) of drinkers are male, and well over a third (38%) are aged 34 or under


Nearly half (48%) prefer to drink Irish whiskey neat, while 30% pair it with a bottled mixer


Whiskey drinkers spend an average of 6% more on out-of-home food and drink than the all-consumer average


Drinkers are loyal to their favourite brands, with more than two in five (43%) always choosing their favourite.


Sian Brennan – Client Director, Ireland

Sian Brennan, CGA’s client director, Ireland, said: “COVID-19 lockdowns have deepened consumers’ interest in drinks that are made close to home—and in Ireland that puts whiskey at a strong advantage. As pubs and bars build back from the pandemic, there will be some great opportunities to raise whiskey’s profile and diversify its appeal as a standalone drink or as part of a cocktail. However, in a highly competitive spirits sector Irish brands will have to work hard for consumers’ attention. Understanding people’s changing preferences will be essential if operators and suppliers are to cement brand loyalty and turn occasional whiskey drinkers into regular ones.”


CGA’s OPUS research combines with the On Premise Measurement service to provide a definitive picture of consumers’ habits and sales trends in Ireland’s On Premise. They provide crucial insights into consumers’ engagement with specific drinks categories, and help suppliers and operators understand drinkers’ preferences and market trends all year round. To learn more, email Sian Brennan at sian.brennan@cgastrategy.com.


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