Beer and whiskey blogger Lew Bryson posts part two of an interview with Colum Egan, master distiller with Bushmills. Good info.
The Czechs and Irish whiskey
According to an article in The Prague Daily Monitor, Tullamore Dew was the top-selling whiskey in the Czech Republic last year. 600,000 litres of the stuff were sold, double the volume of 2006 sales.
The second best-selling whiskey was Old Smuggler, a Scotch, at 200,000 litres.
I have commented before on Tullamore Dew's strong position in Eastern Europe. Given brand owner C&C's widely reported troubles in the cider business they could do with a little good news around now.
Irish whiskey exports
The government agency for promotion of Irish food and drink, Bord Bia, reported that beverage exports for 2007 were up 5%, driven by considerable growth in liqueurs, whiskey and beer exports.
Quoting from the Performance & Prospects Report:
The principal growth in exports during the year was evident in liqueurs and whiskey. Alcohol exports to Asia more than doubled during 2007 fuelled by strong growth for cream liqueurs, whiskey and stout in China and a recovery in the import demand for whiskey in Japan...
The US market also performed strongly for whiskey despite the weakness of the US dollar. Other markets to grow significantly included Russia and South Africa while sales to Europe reached expectations. However, competitive pressure from other European suppliers continues to be an issue for the Irish sector...
The export performance continues to be assisted by the increased emphasis on premiumisation within the category as consumers seek to trade up. Irish beverage exports are well placed to avail of this development.
There are number of issues facing the sector, including the ongoing strength of the Euro, the rise in raw material costs, a drive towards increased levels of recycling and government policies in relation to responsible drinking.