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Eight million shots in arm for whiskey industry as sales boom

More than eight million glasses of Irish whiskey will be drunk worldwide today, as sales of the drink continues their dramatic rise overseas.

Exports of Irish whiskey have soared by 60pc in the last three years as young people throughout America and Asia reach for the hard stuff.

Bord Bia said €220m of Irish whiskey was sold abroad last year, up from €140m in 2008, with Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Bushmills and Cooley the main beneficiaries.

Jameson is the market leader and is now on target to sell four million cases this year -- some 36 million litres -- four times as many as it did 20 years ago.

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is now investing €100m in expanding the Jameson distillery in Midleton, Co Cork, and another €100m in a new whiskey-maturation facility in nearby Dungourney in Cork.

Some one billion glasses of Jameson are now bought each year, with sales peaking at five million today, a spokesman said.


With Jameson accounting for 60pc of the market, that indicates a staggering eight million glasses of Irish whiskey will be glugged today.

The US has been the driver of the market boom, seeing its share grow 30pc last year. But Jameson is now also the second biggest international whiskey brand in Russia and South Africa, and has reached 120 countries worldwide.

Cooley whiskey, meanwhile, shipped 800pc more cases of its growing Kilbeggan brand to the US this week than it did for last year's St Patrick's celebrations -- although they refused to disclose the exact number.

The Irish Whiskey Society said the resurgence of the Irish drink was a "return to the historical norm", as it was the world's leading brown spirit until US prohibition, and draconian tariffs imposed by the UK after Irish independence destroyed exports.

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