The number of Irish whiskey distillers functioning in Ireland hit a 120-year high in 2019, with 31 up and running, that's a leap for just four at the start of the decade.

The Irish Whiskey Association report that 2019 was a banner year for Irish whiskey, seeing the number of Irish whiskey distilleries jump to a 120-year high of 31. 

The number of Irish whiskey distilleries is now at the highest record seen since 1900. The Irish Whiskey Association told the Sunday Independent this was the most substantial increase since the 1820s. This jump, in the 1800s, was due to the 1823 Excise Act, reforming the licensing system. 

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Just last month, Dec 2019, saw the openings of Boann Distillery in Drogheda, County Louth; Glendalough Distillery in Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow; and Lough Gill Distillery in County Sligo.

The Association reports that more than 135 million bottles of Irish whiskey are expected to have been sold around the world in 2019. That sum is worth nearly €750m in export value to the all-island economy of Ireland.

William Lavelle, Head of Drinks Ireland and the Irish Whiskey Association, told the Sunday Independent, Irish whiskey had a "momentous decade".

Lavelle said, "We are seeing new distilleries open right across the island of Ireland, bringing the tradition and craft of distilling back to cities, towns, and villages which once were proud centers of distilling and are set to be again."

At the end of 2019, industry observers also reported Irish people are more and more choosing more premium spirits. While gin sales rose 31.8% in Ireland between 2017 and 2018, Irish whiskey was also holding 25.1% of the market with an increase of 5.4% in sales between 2017 and 2018. 

All we can say to that is Slainte! 

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