Our previous government’s 10 year strategy for the Irish Agri Food Sector afforded special interest to Ireland’s growing whiskey and craft beer sector. This is no surprise when In 2014 exports of Irish beverages increased in value to €1.2 billion. This growth is partly driven by Irish whiskey which since 2009 has increased in export value by 60%.
In light of this growth, significant investment is being made in the industry in Ireland. This is apparent by the more recent plans to establish “grass root” distilleries across the country – there are several in the pipeline at present. However, distillation is a slow grow investment due to maturing requirements – there is a 3 year maturity minimum for whiskey.
The difficulty for hopeful developers is securing upfront capital to construct the distillery when there is a possibility of no return for a minimum of 3 years. This delay in income has resulted in developers seeking alternative revenue streams for the “maturity” period. The most popular being the establishment of the Distillery “visitor centre”.
Tapping into a steady increase in holidaymakers to Ireland since 2012, the visitor centre attracts visitors eager to ‘experience’ the history of the distillery and to taste the end product, even if the end product is, for the moment, distilled elsewhere.
Successfully established distilleries have, alongside the installation of operational stills, put in place a glossy/interactive tour, a Café, a Bar and a Visitor’s Shop – features aimed to drive up revenue but to also enhance the tourist experience and promote the ‘brand’ amongst foreign holidaymakers.
So in order to develop a distillery which can legally provide all of the above services what is required?
Check out our article to find out.
Over the five years to 2013, the copper-coloured liquid was the fastest-growing category of spirits in the world and there are now at least 31 distilleries either operating or in various stages of planning across the island. But many, including one of the most senior figures in the whiskey industry, have warned that some may barely sell a drop before they drown under a wave of bills. All Irish whiskey needs to have been aged in wooden casks for at least three years to be marketed as the product, planting a huge cash-flow hurdle in front of anyone expecting an easy path to profits.