Irish whiskey distilleries on the island of Ireland attracted 677,000 visitors in 2022, an increase of 425 per cent from 2021.
However, the number of visitors is still a third down from the pre-Covid peak of 1.02 million.
The Irish Whiskey Association announced the new figures last week as part of the publication of the findings of its annual survey of Irish whiskey distilleries for 2022.
According to the survey, the top four markets for visitors to Irish whiskey distilleries in 2022 were:
- United States/Canada: 34 per cent;
- Ireland: 15 per cent;
- Germany: 9.5 per cent;
- Great Britain: 9 per cent.
Commenting on the distillery visitor numbers for 2022, chairperson of the Irish Whiskey Association James Doherty said: “2022 represented a year of recovery following two years of closures and restrictions, due to Covid-19.
"While 2021 saw encouraging support from domestic visitors and staycationers, 2022 saw a strong rebound in the number of visitors from international markets, particularly North America, Germany and Great Britain.
“While overall numbers are still down on the pre-Covid peak, we are targeting full recovery in 2023. Irish whiskey tourism makes a substantial economic contribution to local communities around Ireland, particularly in rural areas. Based on previous assessments conducted in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, we assess that tourists spent over €40 million in local communities linked to visits to distilleries.”
He continued: “The Irish Whiskey Association is supporting the growth of Irish whiskey tourism through our IrishWhiskey360° tourism initiative and we wish to acknowledge the great support from Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, as well as the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, in funding effort to promote distilleries in rural communities.”
He added: “It is expected that at least 26 Irish whiskey distilleries will be open to visitors in 2023, directly employing over 400 people. Details on Irish whiskey distilleries to visit are available at www.IrishWhiskey360.ie.”
A further finding of the survey indicated that more than 200,000 bottles of Irish whiskey were purchased from distillery gift shops in 2022, which the Irish Whiskey Association regards as highlighting the importance of this channel for the sale for premium Irish whiskey to visitors and tourists.
The Irish Whiskey Association is the representative voice within Drinks Ireland working to promote, protect and represent the Irish Whiskey category globally.
For more information, visit: www.irishwhiskeyassociation.ie.