Clare’s Chapel Gate Whiskey was among the Irish spirits producers that took part in a trade mission to Ontario, Canada recently, with the aim of increasing Ireland-Canada trade.
The trade mission followed the recent Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, which removed a number for ‘behind the border’ trade restrictions, that previously acted as barriers to market access.
The CETA agreement contains protection for EU-recognised geographic indications (GIs). Irish whiskey is protected at an EU level in a similar manner to Champagne in France or Parma hams in Italy. This means that it must be produced on the island of Ireland, in accordance with certain production practices and standards (a technical file).
Canada already represents one of Irish whiskey’s fastest growing export markets. CSO figures for the first 10 months of 2017 show that the value of exports to Canada increased by 20.5 per cent. However, only 6 per cent of Irish whiskey currently on sale in Canada is from premium brands. This means there is a significant opportunity for Irish whiskey producers to grow the sale of premium brands in Canada, building on phenomenal triple digit sales increases in premium Irish whiskey in other major markets in recent years.
The Irish Spirits Association and Whiskey Association joined a broader trade mission led by Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, in association with Bord Bia.
William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Spirits & Whiskey Associations, took part in the trade mission.
He said: “The CETA deal has eliminated tariffs and opened up new opportunities for Ireland’s spirits industry in Canada, which has a large Irish diaspora population. Irish whiskey is already seeing double-digit export growth to Canada. We see the potential for premium, authentic Irish whiskey brands to prosper in the Canadian market. Irish whiskey remains the fastest growing spirits category in the world. The Irish whiskey industry has a global ambition of driving further growth in more markets and Canada is a key target.”