Irish whiskey among top-performing categories in the booming U.S. spirits industry

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the Irish whiskey industry is raising a dram to a historic year. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) report that American consumers’ interest in super premium Irish whiskey is at an all-time high.

According to DISCUS, American consumers purchased more than 6.1 million 9-liter cases of Irish whiskey in 2022, which generated $1.4 billion in revenues for distillers and contributed significantly to the record-breaking growth of the U.S. spirits industry. Last year marked the first time that U.S. spirits supplier revenues surpassed beer, and Irish whiskey played a key role in this achievement with its emergence as the fourth fastest-growing spirit in both revenue and volume in the U.S.

“The remarkable growth of Irish whiskey in the U.S. is a testament to the quality and craftsmanship of our distillers,” says William Lavelle, Director of the IWA. “As the largest and most valuable market for Irish whiskey, we are proud to continue our rich history of supplying America with this iconic spirit. It’s exciting to see consumers embrace the premium-and-above expressions of Irish whiskey, and we look forward to further growth in the years ahead.”

Lavelle also points out that the Irish whiskey industry makes substantial contributions to the U.S. economy. For example, 300,000 used whiskey barrels from Kentucky and Tennessee were purchased and reused in Ireland in 2022.

“As consumers continue to trade up to more premium products, Irish whiskey is perfectly positioned to offer them a special experience – on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond,” says Chris Swonger, President and CEO of DISCUS. “In just two decades, we’ve seen the high-end premium and super premium segments of Irish whiskey grow a staggering 1,053% and 2,769%, respectively. It’s truly an exciting time for spirits hailing from the Emerald Isle.”

Irish whiskey’s unique flavor profile and versatility have helped it gain popularity in both cocktails and sipping occasions. The smooth and delicate flavor, as a result of its triple distillation process, has made it a favorite among consumers who are looking for a whiskey that is complex yet approachable.

Furthermore, the category’s rich heritage and tradition dating back to the 6th century have also appealed to consumers who appreciate history and authenticity in their spirits.

DISCUS and IWA encourage consumers to enjoy Irish whiskey responsibly and support local bars and restaurants this St. Patrick’s Day.

For more information on Irish whiskey category, please see here for resources from IWA or contact Maggie Quinn ([email protected]).

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The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice and advocate for distilled spirits in the U.S.

Drinks Ireland | Irish Whiskey Association is the trade association of the Irish whiskey industry, representing producers of Irish whiskey from across the island of Ireland.