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Irish Food Board launches €1m spirits campaign in Nigeria

Bord Bia, the Irish state agency which promotes the sale of Irish food and drink, has launched its Spirit of Ireland campaign in Nigeria as exports boom.

Irish Food Board launches €1m spirits campaign in Nigeria

The Spirit of Ireland campaign has been designed to educate customer-facing staff in export countries on premium Irish spirits, and Bord Bia is now launching the scheme in Nigeria and Senegal.

Irish spirits are now exported to over 130 countries worldwide.

Whiskey is the predominant Irish export to Nigeria, accounting for 80% of spirits exported to the country. Nigeria is a key export market for Irish drinks, valued at €9 million. Exports to the market have also grown 200% in the last five years, according to Bord Bia data.

In the last four years Bord Bia has invested €1 million in the Spirit of Ireland. It was first launched internationally by Bord Bia in 2022 in the US and has since featured in Ireland, the UK, Germany, France and Canada.

Officially launching the African chapter of the programme in Lagos, Nigeria, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., said: “Given the renaissance Irish spirits is having globally and its growth trajectory in West Africa, launching Spirit of Ireland in Nigeria was the next obvious choice.

“The programme has been unveiled in seven global markets to date and today’s launch demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to grow the Irish spirits category in the Nigerian market.”

Spirit of Ireland is a trade communications campaign comprising virtual reality tours of twenty of Ireland’s distilleries, featuring interviews with master distillers and barrel coopers, designed to teach staff in export markets what makes these products unique and distinctive.

‘Scent booklets’ have also been designed to allow people to smell and experience Irish barley fields and barrel houses, all aimed at creating an in-depth understanding of Irish spirits.

As part of the government-led trade mission to Nigeria and Senegal, Bord Bia hosted 15 Irish spirits companies in Lagos, Nigeria, for the Spirit of Ireland launch with a view to connecting them to local distributors.

Speaking from Lagos, Bord Bia CEO Jim O’Toole said: “Nigeria is a key export market for Irish drinks valued at €9 million. Exports of Irish spirits to Nigeria have grown by 200% in the last five years so this programme is being launched at a time when Ireland is front of mind for its whiskey, gin and cream liqueur, which are now positioned as premium offerings worldwide.

“Through Spirit of Ireland, Bord Bia has developed a dynamic training experience that transports participants to Ireland through an immersive audio-visual tour so they can see the entire distilling process, from Ireland’s optimal growing conditions for grain through to the ageing of spirits in traditional wooden casks.

“Through this sensory journey detailing the story of Irish spirits, Bord Bia is confident that this communications campaign will positively influence business leads and commercial success for Irish drinks companies here with us in Lagos this week.”

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