The US was the biggest market for Irish whiskey in 2019. According to the Irish Whiskey Association and Drinks Ireland, five million cases of Irish whiskey were sold to the US in 2019.

Sales of the iconic drink to America far outweighed those to any other market. In fact, the second highest sales were to the EU at 3.2 million cases – 1.8 million below sales to the US.

A case is 9L in size and one case equals 12 bottles.

Global travel retail accounted for 680,000 cases, while Sub-Saharan Africa took in 615,000 cases.

A total of 606,000 cases were sold to Russia, and our neighbours in the UK purchased 468,000 cases of Irish whiskey in 2019.

Canada and Asia took in 293,000 cases and 264,000 cases respectively.

Australia and New Zealand weren’t far behind with 236,000 cases, while Mercosur countries purchased 58,000 cases in 2019.

Trade agreement

In welcome news for Irish whiskey, 99% of the product remains free of tariffs after the United States Trade Representative reviewed a list of products subject to tariffs when exported to the US.

A joint statement from the US and the EU “announced agreement on a package of tariff reductions that will increase market access for hundreds of millions of dollars in US and EU exports” on August 21.

It continued: “These tariff reductions are the first US-EU negotiated reductions in duties in more than two decades.”

The agreement will see the EU eliminate tariffs on imports of US live and frozen lobster products; while the US “will reduce by 50% its tariff rates on certain products exported by the EU worth an average annual trade value of $160 million, including certain prepared meals, certain crystal glassware, surface preparations, propellant powders, cigarette lighters and lighter parts”.