Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Peter Cooney Merrys Irish Cream Liqueur and William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Spirits Association.
Tipperary based Robert A. Merry & Co. Ltd, who make Merrys Irish Cream Liqueur, helped launch the Love Irish Cream Liqueur campaign with the Irish Spirits Association.
Ahead of Christmas, which is a very important time for Irish cream liqueur sales, the campaign aims to restart a conversation about the uniqueness of the product category, its importance to Ireland, and the need to protect it against fake products.
To coincide with the launch of the new campaign, the Irish Spirits Association has revealed that that Christmas sales period of 2017 is set to be one of the most buoyant for Irish Cream Liqueur in years.
According to the ISA, Irish cream liqueur is growing in popularity at home and abroad, after recovering from a ‘lost decade’ during which growth stagnated.
Between 2012 and 2016, sales of Irish Cream Liqueur in Ireland (across both on and off trade) fell by 11.2 per cent, from 108,000 cases to 95,900 cases. This trend has now been halted. Over 90 million bottles of Irish cream liqueur were sold globally in 2016. Preliminary figures from Nielsen show that the value of Irish cream liqueur sales in the important Irish off-trade sector have increased by 3.4 per cent during 2017.
The contribution of the Irish cream liqueur industry to the Irish economy is significant. In 2016, Irish cream liqueur producers purchased 316 million litres of fresh cream from Irish farmers, sourced from 46,000 dairy cows.
The Love Irish Cream Liqueur campaign aims to highlight the fact that Irish cream liqueur is protected by an EU-recognised Geographic Indication (GI) and to seek enhanced protection of this GI in international markets.
A GI means that Irish cream liqueur must be produced on the island of Ireland in accordance with certain standards (EU-approved technical file). The GI protects the integrity and quality of this spirits category and the investment being made in production and employment on the island of Ireland.
John Harte, chairman of the Irish Spirits Association stated:
“Since its origin in 1974, Irish Cream Liqueur has been one of Ireland’s most successful spirits categories, loved by millions of people around the world.
“After a lost decade, during which growth in the category stalled, I am delighted to see that Irish Cream Liqueur sales are once again growing in Ireland and globally.
“In the lead-up to Christmas, we are delighted to launch this campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of Irish cream liqueur and protect the category.
“We hope this campaign will be accompanied by increased efforts by industry and stakeholders to monitor the markets and crackdown on fake, non-GI produce.”
Earlier this month, the Irish Spirits Association facilitated a meeting between Irish cream liqueur producers and the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine to progress efforts to tackle fake, non-GI produce.