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Soaring sales in China gives new lifeline to Irish whiskey




Soaring sales in China gives new lifeline to Irish whiskey

2024-06-23 16:16 Last Updated At:06-24 00:47

The millennium-old whiskey industry in Ireland has been given a new lifeline thanks to surging sales in China in recent years.

'Uisce beatha' - the Old Irish words for whiskey translate literally to 'water of life'. The distilled spirit is reputed to have originated in Ireland around 1000 years ago. The country was once the world's dominant supplier, with at least 28 legal distilleries by the 1890s.

However, failing to keep up with the times, Scottish whiskey took over its place, wiping out all but two Irish rivals. Today, the growing demand in China is fueling the renaissance of Irish whiskey industry.

Businessman Chad Huang, who also serves as the president of China Europe Business Association, has lived in Ireland for 22 years. His 'Chamber' whiskey brand is a top seller.

"Chinese people have finally woken up to brown liquor now, especially the young people-say probably around 30 years old. We see huge growth, especially on the east coast of China, and people really started drinking whiskey now. We truly believe Irish whiskey has a bright future in China," said Huang told China Global Television Network (CGTN).

In 2023, China imported 32,600 kiloliters of whiskey worldwide worth approximately 0.57 million U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 9.65 percent.

Official date showed the Chinese whiskey market expanded by 4.2 times in the past decade. The scale is expected to grow further to more than 2.25 billion U.S. dollars around 2025.

John Teeling is an almost mythical figure in the Irish whiskey industry. Despite never having tried a drop, he is known as the "father of the Irish whiskey renaissance".

In the 1980s, Teeling broke the monopoly of Irish distilleries and inspired others to do the same. Now, there are more than 30 distilleries in the country, with many still heading East.

"The future of Irish whiskey is in Asia. China with 450 million coming into the middle class - and it's the middle class that want to drink imported spirits - and the young people, they're the ones who want to drink fresh new drinks," said Teeling.

For now, Scotch whiskey still dominates with brands such as Johnny Walker and Chivas Regal. But Irish whiskey, with its smooth, mellow texture and wide variety of finishes, looks set to mature rapidly and become a favorite in Chinese glasses.

Soaring sales in China gives new lifeline to Irish whiskey

Soaring sales in China gives new lifeline to Irish whiskey

Soaring sales in China gives new lifeline to Irish whiskey

Soaring sales in China gives new lifeline to Irish whiskey

China's private manufacturing companies have made significant headway in shifting their conventional business to commercial space industry by stepping up integrated innovation.

As a leading industry player, the No. 2 Construction Machinery Plant of Fangyuan Group, is a long-established private company in Yantai City, east China's Shandong Province, specializing in the production of pile drivers, lifts and other machineries.

This seemingly unrelated company is now thriving as a supplier in the commercial space industry, after upgrading its production lines on the basis of existing large-scale computerized numerical control (CNC) equipment and sophisticated manufacturing technologies.

"We mainly process aluminum materials to a consistent thickness by CNC machining, and then send them to the next factory," said Zhang Wei, production manager of the company.

This factory produces parts that will be used as the bottoms of rocket propellant tank. The products will be sent to another factory 10 kilometers away for the production of propellant tanks.

Private companies did not have the production technology for both the body and bottoms just three years ago, but now, commercial rocket manufacturers can purchase propellant tanks from private companies.

"Our next goal is to shorten the production cycle by half and cut cost by half," said Wang Hailong, deputy director of production planning department of a rocket propellant tank manufacturing company.

According to industry insiders, private companies are estimated to account for over 70 percent in the supply chain system of the commercial space industry with a rising trend in its proportion.

"We are constantly looking for suitable companies in industries such as machinery, aviation, automobiles and consumer electronic and inform them the needs of space companies set up here, while guiding them to continuously upgrade and improve technical capabilities, so that commercial space industry completely opens its supply chain to private companies," said Chu Na, deputy director of the Aerospace Industry Development Center of Haiyang City, a county-level city under the administration of Yantai.

Another private company in Yantai, that originally produce air dome stadiums, has entered the aerospace supply chain through technological innovation. It now produces windproof and rainproof inflatable coat that can ensure safety of rocket during the transport process to an offshore launch site.

In response to the needs of high-performance product and cost reduction, another private company developed a special foam insulation coating used on core components of rockets, by improving and upgrading insulation materials used in the construction industry.

On the basis of innovation on rocket parts production, the commercial space industry is witnessing more and more integrated innovation.

"This is the fourth stage of a rocket. This is the brain of the fourth stage, which used to be four, but now has been [integrated into] one. This is a bracket made of lightweight carbon fiber composite material. Under it, this is a brand-new 3D printed nozzle. We developed these new technologies and new materials together with private companies. Integrating these technologies, we can reduce the cost and production cycle by more than 30 percent," said Gong Yicheng, deputy director of structural technology department of a commercial rocket company.

Private companies in Shandong making headway in shifting business to commercial space industry

Private companies in Shandong making headway in shifting business to commercial space industry

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