Now Irish exporters starting to ignore UK
Fledgling Irish exporters are starting to ignore the UK market because of Brexit and currency issues to switch their focus to France, Germany, the United States and Asia.
Conor Hyde, of Hyde Whiskey in west Cork, admitted that, in the 12 months since the UK's shock decision to quit the EU, his firm was left with no choice but to give greater emphasis to its exports to continental Europe and the US.
Mr Hyde warned that exporters don't see the difficulties with the UK market being resolved in the short term.
That change in emphasis, post-Brexit, has seen the Irish drinks firm switch staff to US and European sales instead of the UK.
"I suppose that is the ultimate measure of the Brexit impact. For Irish agri-food and drink producers, the giant market right on your doorstep is traditionally the one you would focus on," he said.
However, Hyde Whiskey found UK distributors unwilling to commit to long-term brand development because of the Brexit uncertainty and sterling volatility.
"No one over there knows what is going to happen - even government agencies don't seem to know. It wasn't just us - I have heard stories about other whiskey and rum exporters experiencing the same thing in the UK," he said.
"We have now put people on the ground in France, the United States and Germany to work on sales and brand development."
Hyde Whiskey now exports to 26 countries.
The firm matures fine Irish whiskeys in special wooden casks associated with sherry, rum and even bourbon production to give a unique flavour.