Bord Bia has launched a €750,000 drinks campaign called the Spirit of Ireland, which aims to educate bar and liquor store staff in the US on premium Irish spirits.

It is the single largest investment Bord Bia has made to-date in the promotion of Irish spirits and was part of the Irish Government’s trade mission to North America and Mexico.

The campaign offers a unique sensory experience using “scratch and sniff” cards.

These cards allow staff to smell and experience barley fields and barrel houses, creating an in-depth understanding of Irish spirits.

The campaign also includes virtual reality tours of 20 of Ireland’s distilleries, featuring interviews with master distillers and barrel coopers.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said: “Irish spirits are now exported to over 130 countries around the world and are experiencing a renaissance.

Over half of all Irish drinks exports are destined for the US

"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."


In 2021, Irish beverage exports to the US were valued at €657m, up 17% from €561m in 2020.

That recovery was most robust in Irish whiskey and cream liqueur exports.

Henry Horkan, Bord Bia North America director 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.

"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 among consumers.”


Last year, Irish whiskey exports to the US were up 19% compared to 2020, according to Horkan.

He added: “Irish spirits have made a remarkable recovery since the pandemic and continue to grow year by year in the US.

"Over half of all Irish drinks exports are destined for the US, so there has never been a more opportune time to launch this trade programme."

While officially launched in Ohio as part of the trade mission, Spirit of Ireland will be further rolled out within key control state markets for Irish alcohol in the US, and also in Canada, over the course of 2022 and into 2023.

Virtual distillery tour

With 20 fully operational distilleries included as part of the virtual distillery tour, this is considered phase one of a commitment to have all of Ireland’s Origin Green verified distilleries included in the programme.

A further 10 distilleries will be included in Bord Bia’s virtual tour during the course of 2022, with others added as they commence production and with product available for export.

Participating distilleries

  • BallyKeefe Distillery.
  • Powerscourt Distillery.
  • Blacks of Kinsale.
  • Roe and Co Distillery.
  • Blackwater Distillery.
  • The Shed Distillery.
  • Boann Distillery.
  • Skellig Six 8.
  • Inis Cleire.
  • Slane Distillery.
  • Clonakilty Distillery.
  • Sliabh Liag Distillery.
  • Dingle Distillery.
  • Teeling Distillery.
  • Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard.
  • Tipperary Distillery.
  • JJ Corry.
  • Tullamore D.E.W Distillery.
  • Killarney Brewing Company.
  • Lough Gill Distillery.