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SLIABH LIAG DISTILLERS

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Artisanal Spirits: Who has played the long game most effectively

You don’t have to look far into the industry data to confirm that artisanal spirits are enjoying a boom of popularity as of late. Last year saw over 83 million bottles of gin sold in the UK equating to more than £2.6 billion in revenue, with gin sales almost doubling in value over just two years according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. Whiskey is enjoying its own rally, especially Irish Whiskey. Overall, the Irish whiskey industry enjoyed a 10.6% increase in 2019, according to data compiled by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

Whilst many are expecting a downturn in these sales as a result of Covid-19, at Sliabh Liag Distillers we are seeing the exact opposite trend. Despite both the political turmoil of being a border county in Brexit and the socio-economic impact of Covid-19, we are posting YoY sales growth in excess of 75%. The extent of which is fuelling our development of the new distillery in Ardara, County Donegal, taking production capacity to 500,000 litres of alcohol per annum with room for expansion.

Our primary goal? To meet the increasing demand for high-quality, artisanal Irish spirits across our three brands, with new ones to come.
So why are spirits enjoying a second coming? And no, we don’t think it is because the pandemic has driven us all to drink. On the contrary, people are drinking less than generations before them as consumers become increasingly health-conscious. What we are in fact seeing is consumers are choosing quality over quantity, provenance over glister and discovery over the obvious in order to make an experience of their chosen drinks.

Whiskey (both ey and y), has remained an interesting outlier in the category of artisanal spirits. The drink is no longer tightly tied to Scotland, over 20 different countries are producing it. Plus, the consistent growth of global travel retail (growing at 12% a year since 2009), and the rise of the middle class in Asia, South America and Africa have changed who consumes it.

Our primary goal? To meet the increasing demand for high-quality, artisanal Irish spirits across our three brands, with new ones to come.

So why are spirits enjoying a second coming? And no, we don’t think it is because the pandemic has driven us all to drink. On the contrary, people are drinking less than generations before them as consumers become increasingly health-conscious. What we are in fact seeing is consumers are choosing quality over quantity, provenance over glister and discovery over the obvious in order to make an experience of their chosen drinks.

Whiskey (both ey and y), has remained an interesting outlier in the category of artisanal spirits. The drink is no longer tightly tied to Scotland, over 20 different countries are producing it. Plus, the consistent growth of global travel retail (growing at 12% a year since 2009), and the rise of the middle class in Asia, South America and Africa have changed who consumes it.

Whiskey has diversified its brand, its audience, its taste; whiskey offers drinkers substantial spectrums of price range and taste profiles. These spectrums are populated with brands that range from the local artisan to the big, reliable staple; all of which are great for gifting, seen as a luxury recessionary treat and able to comfortably play in the on-trade craft trend of revivalism.

No area embodies the journey that whiskey has been on as much as County Donegal. For nearly 200 years, the preserve of the illicit but since we opened the Gin Distillery in 2017, we are seeing a considerable resurgence with a number of new distilleries open or opening and more in planning. We are proud to be leading the charge of such an important movement in Donegal, shaping the future of Irish whiskey and other artisanal spirits.

To find out more about Sliabh Liag Distillers, visit their pitch page.

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