BORD BIA has today launched a new campaign to promote Irish spirits in the US market, as part of a government trade mission to North America and Mexico.
The 'Spirit of Ireland' campaign is worth €750,000 and will be rolled out across 17 US states, with the aim of informing and educating the US alcohol trade industry about the history, heritage and future of Irish spirits.
It marks the biggest investment that Bord Bia has made to date in the promotion of Irish spirits. As part of the campaign, virtual reality tours of 20 of Ireland's distilleries will be made available to those working in the alcohol industry in the US, which will include interviews will master distillers and barrel coopers.
This will allow staff to learn first-hand from brand owners in Ireland what makes their product unique and distinctive.
The campaign also offers a sensory experience using 'scratch and sniff' cards to smell barley fields and barrel houses, which Bord Bia said aims to create an in-depth understanding of Irish spirits.
It will be rolled out with 17 liquor control boards in the US - the agencies that regulate the sale of alcohol at wholesale level in specific states.
"Irish spirits are now exported to over 130 countries around the world and experiencing a renaissance," said Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, as he launched the campaign with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.
"From Irish whiskey to Irish gin, and traditional Irish poitín to Irish cream liqueur, they form an evolving, innovative sector that is on a fast growth trajectory in the US.
"Bord Bia’s new drinks trade communication campaign in the US demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to the US market, build the awareness of this growing spirits category and positively influence commercial success," he said.
Tara McCarthy launching Bord Bia’s Spirit of Ireland drinks campaign in the US today. Irish whiskey is the world's fastest-growing spirits category and Spirit of Ireland is the single largest investment Bord Bia has made to date in the promotion of Irish spirits in the US. pic.twitter.com/DVt31gK7ad
— Irish Food Board (@Bordbia) April 26, 2022
In 2021 Irish beverage exports to the US were valued at €657 million, up 17% from €561 million in 2020, with Irish whiskey and cream liqueurs having the most robust recovery.
Henry Horkan, Bord Bia North America Director, said US consumers appreciate the quality and taste of Irish spirits.
"Bord Bia is undertaking this activity to ensure the position of the spirits category is protected and strengthened," he said.
"The primary aim of Spirit of Ireland is to inform and educate the alcohol trade industry about the history and heritage of Irish spirits.
"Attendees learn the history, the renaissance and the future of Irish spirits allowing them to share this story widely both with their colleagues and consumers to inform, educate and overall, deliver increased commercial value on behalf of the Irish drink sector," he added.
"We believe this education programme will lead to more opportunities for Irish distilleries and for brands to increase their market presence in North America and gain preference amongst consumers."