Irish distillery and brewery visitor numbers near 2.8m

Distilleries and breweries in Ireland collectively welcomed more than 2.7 million visitors in 2018, according to new figures from the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI).

The number of people who visited visitor centres at distilleries and breweries increased by 7.2%, from 2,590,215 in 2017 to 2,778,500 last year. The AFBI expects this number to increase again in 2019.

Since 2016, visitor numbers have grown by 241,294 – an increase of 14%. There are now at least 24 visitor centres in Ireland.

The AFBI, which sourced the data directly from Ireland’s distillery visitor centres, said the “growing number” of sites opening is “benefiting Ireland’s tourism offering”.

The majority of visitors came from North America (961,361 +34.6%), followed by the UK (350,091 +12.6%), Ireland (202,831 +7.3%), Germany (150,039 +5.4%) and France (141,704 +5.1%).

Patricia Callan, director of ABFI said: “Over the past few years, Ireland’s drinks industry has grown significantly, with an influx of new players and products to the market.

“A knock-on effect of this growth has been the increase in brewery and distillery visitor centres, which many producers view as an additional revenue stream and an important way to showcase the quality, authenticity and heritage associated with their products and with Ireland’s drinks industry.

“Importantly, these visitor centres are located right across the country, from Donegal to Cork.

“Many have become destinations in their own right in rural areas, as people come to see the story behind their favourite products, meaning the drinks industry is supporting the regional spread of tourism.

“While tourists from abroad love visiting breweries and distilleries, they are also popular among domestic tourists, who often choose to visit one during a trip.”

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