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Ireland Whiskey and Dark Rum Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Whiskey and Dark Rum market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report looks at sales of whiskey and dark rums only and does not examine usage of white spirits. The following channels of distribution are examined within the market size and forecast section of this report:

  • On-trade – refers to any licensed establishment that allows the sale and consumption of alcohol to occur on the premises
  • Off-trade – refers to any licensed establishment that legally sells alcohol for off-premises consumption

What you need to know

Sales of whiskey and dark rum are expected to grow between 2017 and 2018. This reflects the growing premiumisation of the category across the island of Ireland and that consumers who do drink whiskey and dark rum are willing to pay for higher-quality and craft products.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by James Wilson, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Providing a wide range of different whiskey flavour profiles and expert information sessions during whiskey and dark rum tasting experiences will not only enable pubs and bars to deliver a more immersive experience to consumers interested in learning more about these complex products, but also help them to attract more visitors and boost usage of dark spirits within their premises. James Wilson
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Issues covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Figure 1: Estimated total value of whiskey and dark rum sales, NI and RoI, 2014-18
          • Forecast
            • Figure 2: Indexed estimated total value of whiskey and dark rum sales, NI and RoI, 2014-24
          • Market factors
            • Visits to Irish whiskey distilleries grow in 2017
              • Visitors to Ireland continue to grow
                • Price of spirits falling in NI and RoI
                  • Consumer spending power declines in 2018
                    • Companies, brands and innovations
                      • The consumer
                        • Most consumers don’t drink dark spirits
                          • Figure 3: Types of whiskey and dark rum drunk in the last three months, by method of consumption, NI and RoI, December 2018
                        • Pubs remain the main usage occasion for drinking whiskey and dark rum
                          • Figure 4: Usage occasions for whiskey and dark rum, NI and RoI, December 2018
                        • Dark spirits are popular gifts
                          • Figure 5: Agreement with statements relating to whiskey and dark rum, NI and RoI, December 2018
                        • What we think
                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                          • 2018 will see whiskey and dark rum sales growth continue
                            • Number of whiskey distilleries grows in Ireland
                              • Whiskey prices continue to fall despite high excise
                                • Personal finances fragile for Irish consumers
                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                    • Whiskey and dark rum sales to grow in 2018
                                      • Figure 6: Estimated total value of whiskey and dark rum sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Whiskey and dark rum sales to continue growing through to 2024
                                      • Figure 7: Indexed estimated value of whiskey and dark rum sales, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Off-trade whiskey and dark rum sales set for growth in 2018
                                      • Figure 8: Estimated value of off-trade whiskey and dark rum sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Whiskey and dark rum sales in pubs and bars to continue growing
                                      • Figure 9: Estimated value of on-trade whiskey and dark rum sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                  • Market Segmentation

                                      • Dark rum sales to grow in 2018
                                        • Figure 10: Estimated value of dark rum sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                      • Whiskey sales set to continue growing
                                        • Figure 11: Estimated value of whiskey sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Market Drivers

                                      • More whiskey distilleries open across Ireland
                                        • Figure 12: Number of whiskey distilleries, IoI, 2014 and 2018
                                      • Increased tourism provides opportunities for on-trade whiskey sales
                                        • Figure 13: Estimated total visitor numbers, 000s, IoI, NI, and RoI, 2013-23
                                      • Strong growth in visitors to Irish whiskey distilleries
                                        • Figure 14: Visitors (‘000) to Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres, IoI, 2015-17
                                      • UK/NI and RoI whiskey excise among the highest in the EU
                                        • Figure 15: Excise on a standard measure of whiskey in a bar in selected European Union markets, May 2018
                                        • Figure 16: Excise on a 70cl bottle of whiskey bought from an off-licence in selected European Union markets, May 2018
                                      • Spirit prices falling across Ireland
                                        • Figure 17: Alcoholic beverage price inflation vs spirit prices, UK (including NI), January 2017-November 2018
                                        • Figure 18: Alcoholic beverage price inflation vs spirit prices, RoI, January 2017- November 2018
                                      • Weak personal finances a challenge for whiskey and rum sales
                                        • Figure 19: Financial health of Irish consumers, NI, January and December 2018
                                        • Figure 20: Financial health of Irish consumers, RoI, January and December 2018
                                      • New dedicated fund available to whiskey distillers
                                        • Sugary soft drinks a popular mixer, but sugar tax could impact mixer choice
                                          • Figure 21: Top five types of carbonated drinks that consumers have drunk in the last month, NI and RoI, September 2018
                                      • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                        • Dark spirits increasingly highlighting their products’ sustainability
                                          • Irish whiskey brands releasing more limited-quantity batches
                                            • Diageo offloads brand to Sazerac
                                              • William Grant & Sons launches new introductory whiskey
                                              • Who’s Innovating?

                                                • New product launches in whiskey and dark rum markets tapering off
                                                  • Figure 22: New product launches in the whiskey and dark rum markets, UK and Ireland, 2014-18
                                                • Whiskey brands focusing on sustainability
                                                  • Figure 23: New product launches in the whiskey market, by top 10 claims, UK and Ireland, 2014-18
                                                • Dark rum brands also turning to ethical packaging claims
                                                  • Figure 24: New product launches in the dark rum market, by top nine claims, UK and Ireland, 2014-18
                                                • Unflavoured/plain flavours dominate new whiskey launches
                                                  • Figure 25: New whiskey products launched, by flavour, UK and Ireland, 2014-18
                                                • Low levels of flavour innovation also common amongst dark rum brands
                                                  • Figure 26: New dark rum products launched, by flavour, UK and Ireland, 2014-18
                                              • Competitive Strategies – Key Players

                                                  • Bacardi Ltd
                                                    • Key facts
                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                        • Brand NPD
                                                          • Recent developments
                                                            • Barry & Fitzwilliam
                                                              • Key facts
                                                                • Product portfolio
                                                                  • Brand NPD
                                                                    • Boann Distillery
                                                                      • Key facts
                                                                        • Recent developments
                                                                          • Brown-Forman
                                                                            • Key facts
                                                                              • Product portfolio
                                                                                • Brand NPD
                                                                                  • Recent developments
                                                                                    • Chapel Gate Whiskey
                                                                                      • Key facts
                                                                                        • Product portfolio
                                                                                          • Recent developments
                                                                                            • Diageo
                                                                                              • Key facts
                                                                                                • Product portfolio
                                                                                                  • Brand NPD
                                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                                      • Dingle Distillery
                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                                                                            • Recent developments
                                                                                                              • Echlinville Distillery
                                                                                                                • Key facts
                                                                                                                  • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                                                      • Edward Dillon & Co Ltd.
                                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                            • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                              • Findlater Wine & Spirit Group
                                                                                                                                • Key facts
                                                                                                                                  • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                    • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                      • Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard
                                                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                            • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                              • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                                • MCM Spirits & Liqueurs
                                                                                                                                                  • Key facts
                                                                                                                                                    • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                      • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                                        • Teeling Whiskey Company
                                                                                                                                                          • Key facts
                                                                                                                                                            • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                              • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                                                • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                                                  • William Grant & Sons Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                    • Key facts
                                                                                                                                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                                                          • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                            • Most consumers haven’t drunk dark spirits recently
                                                                                                                                                                              • Most consumers drinking whiskey and dark rum in the on-trade
                                                                                                                                                                                • Price a key barrier to whiskey and dark rum trial
                                                                                                                                                                                • Usage of Whiskey and Dark Rum

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Most Irish consumers have not recently drunk whiskey and dark rum
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Types of whiskey and dark rum drunk in the last three months, by method of consumption, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Younger consumers drinking dark spirits with a mixer
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Consumers who have drunk whiskey and dark rum with a mixer, by age, NI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Consumers who have drunk whiskey and dark rum with a mixer, by age, RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Heavy internet users most likely to drink bourbon with a mixer
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Consumers who have drunk bourbon (eg Jack Daniel’s) with a mixer (eg cola, tonic) in the last three months, by daily internet usage, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Drinking Irish whiskey neat popular among men
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Consumers who have drunk Irish whiskey on its own in the last three months, by gender, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Occasions for Drinking Whiskey and Dark Rum

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Irish consumers drinking whiskey and dark rum in pubs and bars
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Usage occasions for whiskey and dark rum, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Affluent consumers drinking whiskey and dark rum in pubs
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Consumers who have drunk whiskey and dark rum at a pub/bar in the last three months, by social class, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Young consumers driving multi-occasion usage of dark spirits
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Usage occasions for whiskey and dark rum, by age, NI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Usage occasions for whiskey and dark rum, by age, RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Whiskey and Dark Rum

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Whiskey and dark rum seen as an ideal gift
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Agreement with statements relating to whiskey and dark rum, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Smaller bottle sizes appeal to younger consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Agreement with the statement ‘Smaller bottles of whiskeys/rum (eg 35cl/50cl instead of 70cl) appeal to me’, by age, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Interest in new and unusual dark spirit flavours highest among women
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Agreement with the statement ‘Whiskeys/rum with new or unusual flavours (eg chilli) appeal to me’, by gender and age, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Irish women would like more whiskey tasting events in pubs and bars
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Agreement with the statement ‘Pubs/bars should offer more whiskey/rum tasting experiences/events’, by gender, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Agreement with the statement ‘A multipack of different single-serve whiskeys/rums is a good way to try new brands’, by gender, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Market size rationale
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Generational cohort definitions
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Abbreviations